A common misconception is that dogs do not get sunburned because they are covered in fur. They may be less prone to sunburn but they are not 100% immune to it.
Not all parts of their body are covered in fur, and certain dog breeds are more susceptible to sunburn.
Short-haired and hairless dog breeds don’t have enough protection from the sun. White-furred dogs usually have pale skin, which means they lack melatonin, putting them at greater risk for sunburn and skin cancer.
Their ears, nose, belly, and groin area are the areas usually affected by sunburns. Also, their paws can suffer burns when the pavement is too hot for them to walk on.
Here are some tips on how to manage sunburn in dogs:
Symptoms of Sunburn
Sunburn can cause redness and inflammation on your dog’s skin which may or may not be painful depending on the gravity of the burn. Cracking and blistering may occur.
Your dog may scratch the area despite the pain and he may be sensitive to touch. In serious cases, dogs may faint due to dehydration and shock.
If the sunburnt area is moved or touched, your dog may whimper in pain. Your dog can also experience a fever after prolonged sun exposure, so make sure to check your dog’s temperature.
A body temperature of 102.3 degrees Fahrenheit and above is already outside the normal range, but it will eventually lower down once your dog is able to cool down.
Thankfully, sunburn in dogs can be easily prevented. If you are on the beach with your dog, have him stay under a stationary umbrella or a shaded area.
You can also apply a non-toxic dog sunscreen on your dog’s groin area, belly, ears, and nose. It is more advisable to walk your dog just after dawn and minutes before dusk when the sunlight is harmless to the skin.
If your dog has patches of bald area due to a scar or a recent wound, it would be better to have him wear dog clothes, or you can improvise by having him wear some of your kid’s clothes.
The best way to treat your dog’s sunburn is to have it assessed by a veterinarian. The vet may prescribe topical ointments, and you may also use Aloe Vera to cool and soothe the burn.
If dogs are constantly overexposed and unprotected from the harsh sunlight, they may become at risk for skin cancer.
Some dog breeds that are prone to this are Beagle, Chinese Shar-Pei, Dalmatian, Dogo Argentino, Whippet, White Boxer, White Bulldog, and hairless dog breeds such as the Chinese Crested Dog.
Give your dog enough protection so that they can enjoy the day without suffering from the consequences of sunburn.