Did you know dogs can get a sunburn? It's true and it's why Solardogz developed their SPF 50+ rash guards. These sporty pet shirts are designed to cover your dog's body, shielding it from the sun. We had a chance to meet Mary Lou Scott, the founder of Solardogz to learn more about how her Charleston-based company is protecting dogs from the sun's harmful rays.
So tell us about Solardogz.
At Solardogz we make rash guards for dogs. The four-way stretch shirts have an SPF rating of 50+, blocking 97.5% of UV rays. Solardogz shirts are pull-overs, which means no velcro, buttons or snaps to deal with. Our rash guards provide an easy way to provide your dog with sun protection. And, they're made in the USA.
What sparked the idea for Solardogz?
I once had a Maltese and Bichon Frise, both of which had developed skin cancer. My Bichon had to have a toe removed due to skin cancer. Fortunately, the skin cancer in my Maltese did not develop into anything serious before she passed away due to congestive heart failure. My experience with these two beloved dogs kicked off my research. The more I read, the more I realized most pet parents didn't realize dogs can get a sunburn. This is especially true for dogs with white coats.
How long after your dogs were diagnosed with skin cancer did you launch Solardogz?
Well, I thought about how to protect dogs from the sun's UV rays for about 5 years after my Maltese passed. At that time, I was working full time in NYC and I was doing a Pro-Am sailing regatta in the British Virgin Islands once a year. World class sailors from the Volvo Ocean Race, M32 extreme and Womens' International Match Racing were at that regatta.
That event was also the first time I'd seen long sleeve rashguard shirts on sailors. I'd seen them on surfers, but never on sailors, but it made complete sense. After seeing those rashguards, I had an epiphany! I started researching material and manufacturers to have Solardogz made in the USA. We started selling our rashguards in 2015.
Is it just dogs with white coats that are more susceptible to a sunburn?
Boxers, Boston Terriers, Beagles, and Schnauzers have been mentioned as more susceptible to sunburn. Of course, hairless breeds like the Chinese Crested are also a higher risk for sunburn.
Sounds like trimming a dog's coat super short for summer may not be the best thing to do.
The risk of sunburn is one reason to reconsider shaving or close-clipping your dog for summer. But, if you have good reason to keep your dog's coat extra short, a Solardogz rash guard would be something to consider when your dog is out and about in the sun - at the park, beach, paddleboarding or boating.
Is SPF in the fabric or is it a special coating applied to Solardogz shirts?
SPF is not a "thing" applied to our shirts. SPF is made up of UV absorbers and UV blockers that are woven into our shirts, which are 94% polyester and 16% spandex. It's the combination of the UV absorbers and blockers and the tightly woven fabrics that block the sun's rays, protecting sensitive skin from getting burned by the sun. And, Solardogz helps protect your pup's belly from the sun reflecting off the water and sand.
What is the SPF rating on Solardogz rash guards?
Solardogz block 97.5% of the sun's UV rays. It's important to note that the fabric for Solardogz sun protection shirts for dogs undergoes the same UV testing and rating process used on sun protective clothing and swimwear for humans. This is the ASTM Standard for Sun Protective Clothing and Swimwear
Will a white rash guard help keep dogs with dark coats cooler when out in the sun?
Yes. The white shirt reflects the sun, which helps to keep the coat cooler. Our lightweight rashguard shirts are breathable and quick dry, which is why surfers and sailors wear them. And it's why dogs love to wear them all day - even under their lifejackets. There's also a bit of compression which dogs tend to like.
Have you created any other pet products before this Mary Lou?
This was actually my first pet business. And if all goes well I hope to add new designs and patterns.
Along with Solardogz, is there anything else you would recommend for protecting small dogs that spend a lot of time in the sun?
Always make sure to keep your dog hydrated. Even when your dog is wearing a SOLARDOGZ shirt, be mindful of the time your pup is in direct sun. Give them a break with some shade if the sun is direct.
Consider using MyDogNoseIt
, which is a sunscreen for your dog's nose. Also be mindful of what your dog's paws in the hot summer sun. Sidewalks, sand and boat decks can get extremely hot for a dog to walk on. Try walking your dog in the early morning and evening during the summer months.
Thank you for your time and sharing your knowledge with our small dog fans! We appreciate it!
Thank you for talking with me and helping share ways for pet parents to keep their beloved dogs safe from sunburn.