Just like humans, dogs and cats should be protected from the sun. Pets that spend time outside or in a nice big window are at risk for skin cancer, and some pets are more vulnerable than others.

Whether or not a pet needs sunscreen can depend on many factors, such as how much time it spends outside, at what time of the day and the color and thickness of its coat.

If a pet has a light-colored coat, or a relatively thin coat, it is a good idea to apply sunscreen as a precaution any time it will be outdoors on a sunny day.

Not all sunscreens are created equal, though, and some may not be safe for pets. Make sure to use pet-safe sunscreen. Epi-Pet is an FDA-approved sunscreen, but it is only approved for dogs and horses, not for cats.

For all pets, when choosing a sunscreen, make sure to avoid those containing PABA, zinc oxide and octisalate, or any other salicylates, especially in areas where the pet could reach and lick it off. Sunscreen for babies may be a good option.

When applying sunscreen, pay attention to the ears, belly (which often has little hair) and the tip of the nose. These are the areas likely to get the most exposure.

It is best to keep pets indoors during the hottest parts of the day and to ensure that there are plenty of shade options for them outdoors. If the family dog or cat likes to sunbathe in a window indoors, be aware that they can still get sunburned.

If any suspicious spots or bumps appear on the pet’s skin, get them checked out by a vet to get a proper diagnosis. Most skin cancers, caught early, are very treatable.


APRIL: Join the Louisiana SPCA for Doggie Dollar Discount Days all month and get reduced adoption fees for all adult dogs 6 months and older. Adopters will draw an adoption fee from a basket and that’s the fee they pay. Adoption fees will range from $50 to $70. Visit www.la-spca.org/adoptables to all of our available animals.

SATURDAY: Animal Rescue New Orleans will have a booth at Magnolia Fest, 100 Central Ave., Jefferson, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Magnolia Community Services is a multi-service nonprofit providing support for adults with developmental disabilities. Magnolia clients volunteer frequently at the ARNO shelter and love to see the ARNO dogs at their annual free event. Enjoy music by Benny Grunch & the Bunch, food trucks and art vendors. For more information, go to mcs-nola.org/support/magnolia-fest/

SATURDAY: Here Kit-Tea, Kit-Tea! Join the Louisiana SPCA for a tea tasting with Leaf & Bean NOLA, also featuring adoptable kittens, cats and critters in the Louisiana SPCA Resource Room from noon to 1 p.m. Specialty tea experts Charles McLaughlin and Nick Carlisi will hold a discussion and complimentary tasting to showcase loose leaf teas from around the world. A fun event for tea enthusiasts and cat lovers alike.

SAVE THE DATE: Run for Spot in the 39th annual Allstate Sugar Bowl Crescent City Classic 10K on Saturday, April 15. It's one of the healthiest ways to support the animals. Register now and get a head start on fundraising. Learn more and register at www.la-spca.org/ccc.

LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish, send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact info to lostandfound@la-spca.org. In Jefferson Parish, send to molsen@jeffparish.net and bbourgeois@jeffparish.net. In St. Bernard Parish send to cluna@sbpg.net.

Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. Contact ARNO at animalrescuecolumn@gmail.com, or visit www.animalrescueneworleans.org.