Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Protecting Your Pet During the Dog Days of Summer - by Fenway Bark team member Miriam Woodruff, DVM

One of the goals of Fenway Bark Stay.Play.Heal. is to be a source of vetted information so that you can make the best decisions possible to care for your individual pet(s).  There is a lot of information and quite frankly, misguided information, on the internet and in the community to weed through to try to find quality care recommendations.  Today Dr. Miriam Woodruff, one of our Fenway Bark team members, provides an excellent article on sunscreen for dogs and other tips for protecting pets in the summer sun.  Enjoy and please share with your friends with dogs for their summer fun safety.

What types of dogs are more susceptible to sunburn?

White animals, those with naturally thin or nonexistent hair coats, or hair cuts are particularly sensitive to the sun. They may suffer the same problems as humans: sunburn and skin cancers. In addition, light-colored noses and areas of the body such as the groin and belly are also at risk, as are pets who spend most of their time outdoors. Pets who have had an area shaved for surgery recently should also be protected from the sun. And finally, pets who are taking tetracycline antibiotics should stay out of direct sunlight completely.

How to Prevent Sunburn
There are a variety of sunscreens available for use on your pet. Pets should have sunblock applied to sun-sensitive areas such as tips of ears, nose, the belly and groin areas that typically have sparse hair coverage and thinner skin. Cats love to sunbathe and some dogs will too, belly up. Additionally, many people get "summer cuts" for their cats and dogs to reduce matting and keep the pets comfortable in the summer heat. Sunburn is a definite possibility, your groomer may or may not warn you. You might consider keeping your dogs’ fur at its natural length, since their coat actually helps to protect their skin from exposure to the sun.

When applying sunblock, apply it only to the sensitive areas, but you don’t need to spray them all over with sunscreen; you would only be making them sticky.

What Products are Safe for Use on Pets?
Remember that dogs and cats are very good at licking things off themselves, so anything applied should be non-toxic. Topical products also get absorbed through the skin, and can harm your pet that way. There is only ONE FDA-approved sunscreen for dogs on the market today, and that is Epi-Pet Sun Protector. (Unfortunately, Epi-Pet cannot be used on cats. Please see their website.)

Is it Safe to Use Human Sunscreen?
Veterinary dermatologists have suggested it is safe to use human sunscreen products formulated for babies or for sensitive skin, with supervision. The products should be allowed to soak into the skin before letting the pet run free. Generally, it is always a good idea to check with your veterinarian before applying any product to your pet that is not recommended for animal use.

Chemicals to Watch For
There is a wide variety of products formulated for use on pets, even though only Epi-Pet Sun Protector is FDA-approved. The best advice is to use one that lists the active ingredients, and to examine those ingredients for any of the following potentially harmful chemicals:
• Zinc
• Benzophenone-3
• DMDM-Hydantoin
• Triethanolamine
• Imidurea
• Methylparaben
These chemicals can be toxic to cats and dogs if licked off or absorbed through the skin.

Natural Sunscreen Products?
There are no “natural” or “organic” sunscreens on the market for dogs or cats. Many people use human natural sunscreens on dogs, but remember to examine the active ingredients of those products as well: they may not contain the harmful chemicals on the above list, but many will contain Aloe Vera. This plant is toxic to animals according to the ASPCA, so avoid using any sunscreen which contains it, or consult your veterinarian.

A Reminder About Preventing Heatstroke

Always provide access to plenty of water and shade when out with your dog on hot days, or if your dog lives outdoors. Dogs and cats can become dehydrated quickly. This is especially important in preventing heatstroke, which can is a serious hazard during hot weather.

Never leave your pet inside a car on a hot day!

Beware of hot asphalt: a dog’s body can heat up quickly being lower down and close to the hot pavement, and their sensitive paw pads can burn easily. If the asphalt is hot enough that you can’t put your hand on it comfortably, it’s too hot for your dog to walk on for very long.
Further reading on heatstroke:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Help Fenway Bark be #1 on the Boston A List Across the Board!

At Fenway Bark we have really tried our hardest to set the bar for dog care in all aspect of ancillary pet care - boarding/kennel, daycare, grooming, training and retail.  Soon we hope to set the standard in canine physical rehabilitation.  Those of you who have tried us have graciously told your friends and we thank you for that. 

We are aspiring to win in as many categories as possible for the A List.  If you believe Fenway Bark is setting the Gold Standard for Boston adjunct pet care in the following categories, will you please click on the link for each of the categories below and vote for us?

Pet Supplies

Thanks for your vote!  It means a lot to us!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Fenway Bark featured in an article in New England Magazine!

Although Boston was rated fourth worst City to have a dog only a few short years ago by Men's Magazine, the picture has changed significantly, as Teri Borseti notes in New England Magazine, and Fenway Bark Stay.Play.Heal. has played a big role in that change.

We take great pride in helping set higher expectations for customers and setting the bar higher for pet care.