Horses suffer from the very common skin condition, sunburn due to the heat, humidity and hot sun of summer. Horse owners know how miserable horses feel with sunburn, which is why you should know what to do about it.
While all horses get sunburned, it is the horses with white markings or rather, horses with pink skin under the hair coat, and light-colored horses get quite badly sunburned. They suffer most on the muzzle and around the eyes. On the contrary, dark coated and dark skinned horses usually only suffer from some bleaching where their black coat may get reddish, but nothing dangerous.
Sunburn is both painful and unsightly for horses. If your horse is suffering from sunburn, the first thing you do is obviously limit its exposure to sun especially in intense heat. In addition to this, the same sunscreen which you use for sunburn protection is effective for horses too. Though are also some sunscreen products meant specifically for horses, the sunscreen you use is also safe for your horse. Check the amount of protection the product offers
In fact, most of your horse’s grooming products like shampoos and conditioners, and fly sprays contain zinc oxide or sunscreen. So if you use these products on your horse, you are already providing some protection to your horse from the sun.
However you need to note how much protection each product provides as there’s a huge difference between the 8 or 15 SPF sun protection offered by some grooming products and the 30 SPF provided by actual sunscreen. However according to FDA, products with SPF 15 or higher are safe to use on your horse.
Bright colored sunscreen is better
While looking for sunscreen for horses, it’s worth trying out one for the brightly colored products popularly used at the beach. These products were introduced mainly because children were unwilling to have white noses and streaks on their faces.
So instead of white, these sunscreens are actually blue, pink, green or purple zinc oxide products. Of course, horses aren’t particular about the color of their nose, but the benefit of using this sunscreen on your horse is that you will be able to tell from a distance if the sunblock has worn off and needs reapplication.
It is important that you apply and keep sunscreen for horses on your horse for some time. However at times, your horse’s grazing in tall grass can end up removing most of it from its face. Even horses grazing in short grass may end up removing most for the sunscreen from its muzzle.
How to apply sunscreen on horses
Just like in humans, you also have to apply sunscreen on your horse about half an hour before sun exposure and reapply it every two hours. If you find it difficult applying sunscreen every two hours, at least reapply after exercising, after it rains and after bathing or grooming.
So instead of making your horse go through the trauma of sunburn, and then treating them for it, it is better to prevent sunburn in the first place by applying sunscreen for horses. Remember, prevention is always better than cure, even with animals!