Most people don’t think about dogs getting sunburned. Although most dogs have hair that naturally blocks out the sun’s rays, too long of exposure to the sun can cause sunburn to your dog. Think about all of the summer activities that involve long exposure to the sun—boating, hanging out on the beach, hiking, and outdoor parties.
Is my dog more susceptible to sunburn?
Some kinds of dogs are more susceptible to sunburn than others. According to Animal Wellness Magazine, all hairless dogs and dogs whose coats have been clipped are more at risk for sunburn. White or pink-skinned dogs are also very susceptible to damage from the sun’s rays. Additionally, Chihuahuas, pitbulls, Dalmatians, boxers, greyhounds, and other shorthaired dogs are at a higher risk.
However, regardless of the thickness of a dog’s coat, there are certain areas of a dog’s body that are vulnerable. These areas—such as the belly, nose, around the eyes, and the tips of their eats—have less hair or even none at all. These are areas that will easily get sunburned.
Signs of Sunburn
If you notice tenderness or discoloration of your dog’s skin after a long day in the sun, your dog may have been sunburned. Also, sunburned areas can become dry and cracked, and your dog may scratch at them. A severe sunburn can even lead to hair loss.
Protection from Sunburn
Along with the immediate problems of sunburn—damaged skin and pain, sunburn can lead to worse problems such as skin ulcers and infections. Even worse, sunburn can lead to skin cancer. Therefore, it is important to protect your dog from the sun’s rays. One way to protect your dog is through sunscreen. However, it is important to find a sunscreen that does not have toxic chemicals in it, because more likely than not, your dog will try to lick the sunscreen off. According to Animal Wellness Magazine, do not select a sunscreen that has zinc or PABA in it. Look for a dog-friendly sunscreen.
Another great way to protect your dog is by providing shade. If you are at the beach, use a big umbrella. If you are at the park, find a big, shady tree. If you are in your backyard, have a canopy or overhang to provide shade.
A sunburn-free dog is a happy dog!
For more summer safety tips for your dog, check out 3 Steps to a Safe 4th of July for your Pets!