Dog Sunburn: Treatment and Prevention

Posted by Kat Tretina

Dogs can get sunburned!

During the summer, your dog may come along with you to trips to the beach, outdoor barbecues, and days by the pool. But while you may have fun in the sun, your pup is susceptible to sunburns, too.

Prolonged sun exposure can lead to dog sunburn, with painful burns and even sun cancer as a result.

What Breeds Can Get Sun Cancer?

Some dogs are more likely than others to get sunburns. White dogs or pups with white patches often have white skin under the hair, so they get burnt much more easily; this is why it is so important to not shave dogs like Siberian Huskies or Samoyeds. Under all that fur, they are very pale and prone to burns.

Hairless breeds, like Chinese Crested dogs, are also more likely to get sunburnt.

dog sunburn

Even for other breeds, the sun can be dangerous, particularly where the hair is thinnest. The ears, belly, and nose are common danger zones.

What Can I Do to Prevent Dog Sunburn?

If your dog will be outside in the heat of the day when the sun is strongest, make sure he's in the shade, such as under an umbrella or a shady tree.

There are also dog sunscreens on the market that are non-toxic in case your pooch licks it. Applying sunblock to the ears, nose, and belly can help prevent burns.

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Signs of Sunburn

Like people, dogs will show sunburn symptoms like dry, red skin, scratching and whimpering, or even a fever. If a dog has a mild sunburn, you can relieve his pain by giving him a gentle oatmeal bath or applying aloe vera.

If the burns are more severe, or if your dog has a fever or is in pain, seek medical attention right away. Like people, after a burn, canines are more likely to develop skin cancer later on. You can do regular skin checks to look for any marks that change or develop. If you notice any growths or discolorations, take your dog to the vet for a cancer screening.

Your dog will love summer activities even more with proper sun protection. Take some precautions to keep your pet happy and healthy all summer long.

Photos via Kat Tretina

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Dog Sunburn: Treatment and Prevention