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Showing posts with label sun protection. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sun protection. Show all posts

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
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Sunscreen for Dogs – Dangerous Ingredients to Avoid




Most made-for pet sunscreens (lotions, oils and sprays) sold at pet stores, veterinarian offices and on-line contain toxins and carcinogens. These health threatening ingredients end-up in your dog’s body in several ways…

  • Absorbed into the blood stream through the skin
  • Introduced to the digestive track when a dog licks his/her fur and skin
  • Inhaled when vapors from a spray application become airborne.
The health threat caused by ingesting and absorbing these substances will be accentuated if your dog is already carrying a substantial toxic load (acquired from for example - processed dry or wet dog food, off-the-shelf and prescription flea, tick, heart worm preventatives, toxin-laden grooming products such as commercial shampoo, conditioners and, toothpaste, dental chews, over-vaccination, etc.


In addition to causing internal health issues - some of the carcinogenic ingredients found in sunscreen disrupt and/or destroy the skin’s natural defenses and subsequently trigger melanoma and other skin cancers.



Making matters worse - pet sun screens can contain endocrine disrupting ingredients that alter hormone levels and block vitamin D producing UVB rays.  
  • UVB rays enable health by supporting vitamin D production
  • Low vitamin D levels are a major contributor to chronic health issues and cancer
  • UVA rays (Not UVB rays) are responsible for causing skin damage
  • UVA rays cause damage by penetrating deep into the layers of the skin and damaging the immune system. 

If the pet sunscreen you are using contains toxins, carcinogens and, blocks UVB rays - the risk to long-term health is further increased.


If you are already using (or are thinking of purchasing) a sun screen product for your dog, check the product label for a list of ingredients. 

If any of the substances listed below show-up on the ingredients list for the product you are using - toss the product in the garbage.  

If you cannot find a fully disclosed ingredient list for the product, throw the product in the garbage.


A List of Ingredients to Avoid

The following is a partial list - reflecting some of the most common toxins and carcinogens used in sunscreen products:

  • Artificial colours – example blue 1,2,4, disperse blue 1; green 1,2,3; red 4,9,17,19,22,33,40;  yellow 5,6,8; disperse yellow 3 - will be shown as D =&C or FD&C…i.e. FD&C Red No.6) are carcinogenic and known allergy triggers
  • Artificial preservatives – carcinogenic, this includes mixed tocopherols from undisclosed sources – GMO oils
  • Artificial fragrances and perfumes (if not listed as natural, it is artificial) - carcinogenic
  • Benzophenone or its derivatives Benzophenone-2, Benzophenone-3 – anemia, endocrine disruptors, free radicals that lead to melanoma and other skin cancers, growth suppression
  • Diethanolamine (DEA) - carcinogenic 
  • DMDM Hydantoin - a formaldehyde derivative, asthma trigger, known allergen, carcinogen, can cause chest pain, trigger chronic fatigue, depression, dizziness, ear infections, immune system
  •  Homosalate – endocrine disrupting, carcinogenic
  • Padimate - carcinogenic
  • Retinyl palmitate – a derivative of vitamin, proven to react with the sun, creates DNA damaging free radicals – and enhancing the formation of skin lesions and tumors
  • Simethicone - An anti-foaming agent and known allergen, immune system compromising, insomnia, joint pain and chest pain
  • Titanium dioxide - classified as a possible carcinogen in humans, and is a known carcinogen in non-human animals
  • Triethanolamine (TEA) sometimes combined with nitrate - carcinogenic
  •  Octyl dimethyl PABA– carcinogenic
  •  Octyl-methoxycinnamate (octinoxate) – endocrine disruptor, carcinogenic
  •  Octyl-salicylates - carcinogenic
  • Oxybenzone - anemia, endocrine disrupting, free radicals that lead to melanoma and other skin cancers, growth suppression and photoallergic reactions
  • Salicylates - endocrine disrupting, carcinogenic
  • Zinc oxide – ingesting zinc can lead to zinc toxicosis
 
My recommendation to you is... 
  1. Don’t purchase products that contain even one of these substances. 
  2. Make your own all-natural pet sun screen, find out how here, or; 
  3. Use an off-the-shelf product that is truly natural, and toxin / carcinogen free.

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