Before you know it, the sun will be shining brightly and your dog will want to be outside playing in the sunshine. Before you head outside with your pup though, you need to focus on safety. Sunburn is a safety risk that many people don’t think about. Have you ever asked yourself, “Can dogs get sunburn”? As it turns out, yes they can!
It is important to know that just like humans, dogs can get sunburn too. Again, just like with humans, sunburn occurs when the skin is exposed to too much ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Sunburn can cause damage to the skin cells and cause redness, pain, and inflammation.
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Can dogs get sunburn?
People often take precautions with themselves and their children in order to avoid sunscreen. It is important that you do the same with your dog. This is especially true if you have plans to be out in the sun for a long period of time without shade cover.
Dogs that like to lay down on the porch or on the concrete and lounge in the sun are also at risk of sunburn, especially if they expose their stomach to the sunshine.
What happens if a dog gets a sunburn?
Like with humans, sunburn can be painful for dogs. Additionally, it can lead to more serious issues such as skin cancer (squamous cell carcinoma, malignant melanomas, and hemangiomas). It’s also worth noting that if your dog gets a sunburn, it can exacerbate certain conditions, such as dermatitis and autoimmune issues. Also keep in mind that if your dog has had recent surgery, those scars can be easily burned by the sun. Not to worry though, a little bit of planning can help you to prevent your dog from getting a sunburn.
How do you know if a dog is sunburnt?
If you are wondering if your dog is sunburnt, there are some symptoms that you can look for in your dog. Symptoms of sunburn in dogs may include red, irritated skin, hair loss, dry or flaky skin, and in severe cases, blistering or even skin cancer. Dogs with sunburn may also experience pain or discomfort, and may be less active or less interested in their usual activities. Their appetite may also be lower than normal.
In general, it’s a good idea to check your dog’s skin regularly for any signs of sunburn or other skin issues. And consult your veterinarian if you notice any unusual symptoms or changes in their skin or behavior. This should definitely be done on a regular basis, but pay special attention to these signs and symptoms after a day (or even an hour or two) out in the sun.
If you notice any signs of sunburn, such as redness, swelling, or blisters, it is important to seek veterinary care. Left untreated, sunburn can lead to more serious skin problems, including skin cancer.
How do I protect my dogs from sunburn?
To protect your dog from sunburn, it’s important to limit their exposure to direct sunlight, especially during the hottest parts of the day. This can be done by staying indoors during this time. It also helps to provide shade for your dog, such as a porch or a kennel. If you are planning a walk during these hot days, do so in the early morning or late evening when the sun is less intense.
Also make sure that your dog continually has access to plenty of fresh water to stay hydrated.
Additionally, you can apply a pet-safe sunscreen to your dog’s skin. Pay close attention to the areas that are not covered by fur, such as the nose, ears, and belly. It’s important to use a sunscreen that is specifically formulated for dogs. Many human sunscreens can be toxic to pets. It’s also important to note that dogs can also get sunburned when they’re in the water. Sunscreen can help protect against sunburn in water too.
With proper care and protection, you can help keep your dog safe and comfortable in the sun.
Can I use human sunscreen on my dog?
While using sunscreen on dogs is recommended, you cannot use human sunscreen on dogs.
The wrong type of sunscreen can cause major issues for your dog. Zinc Oxide and para-aminobenzoic acid are both common ingredients in human sunscreen. But both of these ingredients are highly toxic to dogs if ingested. We all know that dogs have no compunction about licking their skin at any time, which can cause them harm.
Look for a high quality canine sunscreen that is waterproof, and unscented. Also, make sure to use sunscreen with a SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30.
What makes a dog more at risk of sunburn?
While any dog can get sunburn, there are dogs that are more at risk of it than others. Dogs with short or thin coats, or those with white or light-colored fur, are more susceptible to sunburn than dogs with thick or dark coats.
Additionally, some dog breeds are more susceptible to sunburn than others. If you have any of the following dog breeds, pay special attention to the your dog’s time in the sun:
- American Hairless Terrier
- Staffordshire Terrier
- Australian Sheepdogs
- Chinese Crested
Also if you have a dog with a health condition that may cause hair loss or even an aging dog that is suffering from thinning fur, be sure and keep an extra eye on them as well.
Again though, sunburn can affect all dogs. So, even if your dog has thick fur, be sure to pay attention to the areas of the skin that are not covered by fur, such as the nose, ears, and belly.
Dogs can get sunburned, and it is important to take preventative measures such as limiting sun exposure, providing shade, keeping them hydrated, and using pet-safe sunscreen. If you notice any signs of sunburn, seek veterinary care.