Cats Protection warns pet owners about the risk of animals suffering from sunburn

Cat and dog owners have been warned about the risk of their furry pet suffering from sunburn and heat stroke in cars.

York Protection Catsthe UK’s leading feline charity and car leasing company, LeaseCar.comboth issued advice on how to keep pets safe following the Weather Bureau’s red warning for the heat wave.

The charity warns that despite having fur, cats are at risk of sunburn and advises pet owners to speak to a vet about a suitable sunscreen for their pet.

Sarah Elliott, Central Veterinary Officer for Cat Protection, said: “White and pale cats are at particular risk of cancerous sunburn. They do not have a pigment called melanin in their skin, which is what protects humans from sunlight.

“This can leave them vulnerable to sun damage, usually around the ears. Over time, damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays can increase the risk of developing skin damage and cancer.”

“Cats with unpigmented noses or ears are also much more susceptible to sun damage and require additional sun protection.”

The charity has advised to focus on applying sunscreen to the cat’s nose, ear tips, belly and groin areas, as well as anywhere your cat has thin or hairless fur.

Furthermore, urges motorists not to leave their pets in cars, regardless of the amount of time.

The company looked at changes in a car’s temperature and its research concluded that dogs are still at risk of dying even in mildly warm weather as interior temperatures rise.

For example, 70 degrees Fahrenheit outside can cause a car’s interior temperature to skyrocket to over 110 degrees in an hour.

A spokesperson said: “We urge motorists never to leave a dog unattended, whether in wind, rain or shine.

“Don’t do that ‘quick run to the shops’, it can result in a fatal mistake that will stay with you forever.”

Cat Protection’s tips for keeping pets safe are to keep them indoors when the sun is hottest, usually from 10 am to 3 pm, and provide plenty of outdoor shade, such as large cardboard boxes or planters placed close together.

To prevent dehydration, provide a water source both outdoors and indoors so your cat has plenty of opportunities to drink.

Lastly, to keep pets from getting overheated, place a plastic bottle of frozen water inside a towel and place it in an area the cat visits frequently.

Ms Elliott added: “Pet owners should also be aware of the signs of heat stroke. Some parts of England are forecast to reach temperatures of over 40° next week, so it’s very important to know what the warning signs are.

“Symptoms of heat stroke can include things like excessive panting or drooling, lethargy, shortness of breath, agitation, a bright red tongue, vomiting, dizziness, or staggering.”

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