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Dog Sunburn: The Basics

dog sunburn

Sunburn & Your Dog

Did you know dogs can get sunburn? Just like humans, dogs have skin that can be sensitive to the harsh rays of the sun. Too much sun exposure can lead to skin cancer. It is important to protect your pooch and keep their skin healthy as the sunnier months approach.

What Types Of Dogs Get Sunburn?

Any type of dog can get sunburned. However, dogs with lighter or less fur are more susceptible to burning. Dogs with white or light colored fur, short fur, or hairless breeds have less natural protection from the sun. Dogs like pitbulls, dalmatians, greyhounds etc. are most likely to experience sunburn. In addition, dogs that live near the beach, are frequently outdoors, or love to sunbathe, should be watched more closely to monitor sunburn.

Where Do Dogs Get Sunburned?

Dog fur is a natural protector against the sun. Any area of your dog with less or no hair is more susceptible to sunburn. Areas like nose, ears, underbelly, and around the mouth have less fur protection. You can tell if a dog has sunburn if their skin looks pink or red, or feels leathery. Dogs usually do not get blisters like humans do when they are sunburned.

How To Prevent Sunburn

There are several precautions to take in minimizing your pet’s risk for sunburn.
– Keep your dog inside at peak sunny hours of the day during the sunny summer months. Aside from the weather being especially hot during midday hours, the sun is it’s brightest and most likely to burn your pup.
– Use pet-friendly sunscreen (one without zinc) on the sensitive, exposed areas of their skin. Reapply sunscreen every few hours or more frequently if your dog is playing in water.
– Put your dog in a doggy sunsuit to prevent UV rays from hitting their skin.
– Do not shave your dog in the summer. Their fur is their best protector and prevents them from sun and overheating.

What To Do If My Dog Gets Sunburned

If your dog has a mild burn, natural aloe can be used to sooth their skin. You should also keep the burn moisturized and may use coconut oil or shea butter. If the burn is 2nd or 3rd degree, you should take your dog to the vet immediately. From there, your dog will likely be shaved and the burn will be treated and bandaged.