Can My Dog Get Sunburn?
It is summer again, it’s time to enjoy the pleasant weather and bask in the warmth of the sun. However, while you get your sunscreen out, you should also keep your dog in mind. Why? Because they can get sunburn too!
When your dog is exposed to the harsh rays of the sun for a long time, they are predisposed to extremely painful burns and skin cancer. Also, prolonged exposure to the harsh sunlight can make pre-existing skin problems worse. Such conditions include skin infections, skin ulcers, and skin cancer.
Can my dog breed get sunburned?
All dogs can get sunburned if they stay in the sun for a very long time. However, some dogs have some features that make them more likely to get a sunburn than others.
- Hairless dogs or dogs with short hair and/or thin fur
- White-haired or dogs with light-colored patches and fur
- Dogs short legs which make their trunk closer to the ground and so they can get sunburned from the reflection of sunlight off surfaces of floors.
Based on these features, these breeds are more prone to getting a sunburn than others: Greyhounds, Pitbulls, Chinese Crested and the Xoloitzcuintli. However, all dogs have areas of their bodies that can get a sunburn, for instance, the belly portion has blonde hair which can be easily damaged by the sun, the ears are covered by thin and delicate skin and the nose can also dry up and get baked in the hot sun. Therefore, before setting out on any summer day with your dog, look them over for any spots that may get sunburn and ensure that they are well protected.
How can I tell if my dog has a sunburn?
The signs of sunburn can be noticed quickly in the areas that are highly susceptible, such as the belly, ears, and nose (basically the exposed areas) way before the areas covered by fur can get sunburn. The signs to look out for include:
- Skin that is red and tender to touch
- Dry, cracked skin on and around the nose
- Curling of the edges of the ears
- Constant scratching of tender areas
- Constant whimpering when you pet them
In extreme cases, your dog may have a slight fever and show signs of hair loss.
How do I prevent dog sunburn?
The best way is to prevent them from getting burned in the first place. This can be achieved by:
- Reducing their exposure to the sun. You can go out for walks before the sun gets really high or after sunset. You can also keep to the shaded areas if you must go for a walk while the sun is shining.
- Use dog sunscreen. This should be carefully selected to ensure there are no substances that are poisonous to your dog in the formulation.
- Use dog suits that have UV-ray protection. This is especially suited to dogs with thin fur.
Home remedies for dog sunburn
- Adding a few drops of neem oil to your dog’s bathwater can help heal the burns
- An oatmeal bath can soothe irritated or sunburned skin
- Aloe Vera gel can offer a cooling relief when applied to the affected surface.
- Coconut oil will restore moisture to dried skin when applied some days after the sunburn
- Vitamin E capsules contain oils that can reduce scarring when applied some days after the sunburn
Conclusively, you will have more fun this summer when you know your pet is properly protected from the harsh rays of the sun.