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Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Natural Sun Protection for Dogs, Homemade Sunscreen for Dogs



Did you know that dogs can get sun burned? Canine sun burns can be just as painful and damaging as sun burns experienced by us humans.

Which dogs are most at risk of sunburn?
  • Dogs with short hair
  • Dog with little or no hair
  • Dogs that spend a lot of time in or on the water (in boats)

But even a dog with a thick coat of fur can end-up with a sun-burned nose.

A dog’s ears, nose and underside are most at-risk for sunburn.

Your dog’s diet and genetics can also effect susceptibility to sun burn. Just like people, some dogs are more sensitive to the damaging effects of the sun’s UVA rays. A poor diet can also have a negative impact on a dog’s natural defense to resist sunburn.

Most commercial made-for-pet sunscreens contain a variety of health-damaging toxic and carcinogenic ingredients. Some of these ingredients also block the skin's ability to absorb UVB rays.  Your dog needs to absorb the UVB to keep his/her vitamin D levels up. For more information regarding ingredients to avoid in commercial sun protection products go here.

So what’s the best plan of action to protect your dog from the damaging effects of the sun’s UVA rays? 

The best all around protection is holistic and works on the inside and the outside by supporting the body's natural mechanisms for sun protection...



1.0 Diet – Enable The Body’s Natural Sun Screen


Support your dog’s natural ability to withstand the sun by adding some lycopene rich foods to his / her daily diet.  Lycopene is a very powerful phytonutrient and antioxidant that occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables. Lycopene, a member of the carotenoid family is a red pigment that gives some fruits and vegetables their red colour.  In addition to acting as the skins natural sunscreen, lycopene is important in disease prevention as it helps reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and macular degeneration.


After ingestion lycopene enters the lymphatic system, then moves on to organs such as the adrenal glands, colon and liver. The skin only absorbs a small part of the ingested lycopene. The bioavailability of dietary lycopene is increased when the lycopene-containing food is ingested with a good-source fat such as organic...
Make sure you follow the advice provided here when adding fruits and vegetables to your dog’s diet. Keep in mind that a dog’s species appropriate diet is 56% to 60% protein, 25% to 30% fat and 11% to 14% appropriate carbohydrates – including appropriate fruits and vegetables.




The following are safe, dog-friendly fruits and veggies that are high in lycopene...
  • Apricots (pit removed)
  • Asparagus
  • Carrots
  • Cabbage – specifically purple cabbage, not green cabbage
  • Grapefruit (the flesh of the grapefruit only)
  • Goji Berries (wolf berries)
  • Guavas (pit removed)
  • Tomatoes (bioavailable lycopene in tomatoes is increased when the tomatoes are cooked)
  • Mango (pit removed)
  • Papaya (seeds removed)
  • Parsley
  • Peppers – sweet, red
  • Rose hips
  • Watermelon (seedless)
If you want to maximize the lycopene add one of the healthy fats (noted above) or combine with a serving (teaspoon to tablespoon) of finely ground organic almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.

2.0 Topical Protection

2.1  All-Natural Simple, Safe Oils

Option One, use natural oils that offer protection targeted to screen out most of the sun’s harmful UVA rays for relatively reasonable periods of time (not all day exposure) without the serious side effects of many commercial sunscreens. Natural oils also nourish the skin while allowing UVB rays through – thereby supporting the production of vitamin D. And one more advantage – unlike the commercial chemical-based sunscreens, if your dog licks his / her skin or fur the natural oils are health promoting.


Carrot Seed Oil This oil has a very high rating for sun protection - said to be between “30” and “38” SPF. Carrot seed oil is also packed with vitamins and antioxidants including carotene and vitamin A. This oil is of particular therapeutic value for dogs with skin issues. The only caution – carrot seed oil can have an orange tinge – for dogs with white or light fur and skin temporary color transfer may be experienced while the oil is present.


Red Raspberry Oil
Red raspberry oil has an excellent SPF rating – estimated at 30 to 50 SPF. This oil is also rich in vitamin E making it a good choice for dogs that are prone to skin issues. Vitamin E is also a natural preservative – this oil is naturally resistant to rancidity. Red raspberry oil also has excellent anti-inflammatory properties due to its high content of vitamin A and alpha linolenic acid.


Wheat Germ Oil
Wheat germ oil is lower on the SPF range but is still a good alternative also offering excellent levels for vitamin E making it a great choice for dogs already suffering from dry skin, irritated or inflamed skin.

2.2 Essential Oil Sunscreen

Option Two, you can make your own essential oil sunscreen – some essential oils have excellent sun-blocking properties and are also natural anti-inflammatories.

To make your own essential oil sunscreen you will need an organic carrier oil and a high quality therapeutic grade organic essential oil.



You can choose either:
  • Lavender Essential Oil, or
  • Roman Chamomile Essential Oil
For a carrier oil you can choose one of the following oils (preferably organic):
  • Coconut oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Sesame Oil
  • Wheat Germ Oil
Preparation
  • Add 5 to 10 drops of essential oil for every ounce of carrier oil
  • Thoroughly mix the carrier oil with the essential oil
  • Apply sparingly
  • Avoid getting the mixture in your dog’s eyes

2.3 Cautions
  • Don’t use essential oil sun-screen on puppies that are younger than 8 weeks of age.
  • Do not use aromatherapy or perfume essential oils as they are produced by distillation with solvents that are toxic to dog
Additional Assistance - Holistic Health and Wellness Service
If you require additional support, and guidance - contact me to discuss your requirements. I will determine the appropriate course of action for your situation and I will let you know the applicable fees. I offer consultative services to clients around the world...
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Note -

1.0 Use of Foods, Herbs, Nutraceuticals and Alternative Medicines:

When choosing to use any of the items or protocols in the article above, it is your responsibility to ensure safe use of the item/protocol. Food, herbs, nutraceuticals and alternative medicines all have drug interactions, most have health issue contradictions, some have side effects. Use of substances and protocols are your responsibility. Prior to use of any substance or protocol make sure you do your research - check for all cautions, contradictions,interactions, side effects. If in doubt do not use the substance or protocol. If the substance, or protocol is contradicted for your animal do not use. If your animal has an underlying condition you are not aware of substances may conflict with that condition.

2.0 The Real Meaning of Holistic…

Food, herbs, nutraceuticals and alternative medicines are NOT ‘holistic’ they are a substance and MAY, or may NOT be ‘NATURAL’. It is important to keep in mind that the supplement industry is just as unethical as BigPharma, the Food and Pet Food Industry, and unfortunately many veterinarians.

If you use a ‘natural’ substance (i.e. an herb) you are using a natural substance, this is not synonymous with holistic.

Holistic is a way of approaching life, and within that - overall health, and wellbeing.

Please do not expect a natural substance to miraculously remedy a health or behavioral situation. A natural substance may be used to treat symptoms. However, if the factors causing the underlying issue are not properly identified, analyzed and addressed you do not have a remedy.

Remedy requires a comprehensive approach that identifies root cause, seeks to remove items that trigger, cause or otherwise contribute to issues, and builds a complete, and detailed approach to immediate treatment, remedy, and maintenance of long-term health = holistic.

I offer extensive consultation services - Holistic Diet, Nutrition Wellness and Holistic Behavioral, for people that are serious about looking after their dogs and cats holistically. If you want to engage my services you can contact me via email or phone.

If you are looking for additional free advice, please refer back to the articles on my site, do not contact me via email or phone - personalized service is for my clients / patients only.

3.0
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Wishing your dog and cat the best of health!

Karen
the Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer
Holistic Behaviorist - Dogs
Holistic Diet Nutrition Wellness Adviser – Dogs and Cats

karen@ottawavalleydogwhisperer.ca

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