• November 18th, 2021
    Written by: Kimberly

    When you're out in the sun, you probably take care to apply a layer of sunscreen or stay in the shade to avoid a painful sunburn. If you take your dog out with you, you might have wondered if your furry friend can suffer from a sunburn as well. It turns out the answer is yes, dogs can get sunburned. Dogs can also have that red and painful rash after sun exposure and repeated sunburns can cause permanent skin damage and skin cancer.

    Every dog can get a sunburn, but certain dogs are more susceptible. This includes hairless breeds such as the American Hairless Terrier or Chinese Crested, dogs with thin coats or white fur, and dogs with or lighter colored noses and ears are more at risk for sunburn. Also, many dogs have no fur on their stomachs and groins, so laying outside in the sun for extended periods can result in a very painful sunburn on the exposed skin.

    How to Protect Your Dog from the Sun

    There are many dogs that love to lie out in the sun, or indoors by a warm window. But if your dog is spending a lot of time outside, or lying near windows that do not have UV protection, the sun rays could be damaging.

    Here are some steps you can take to help keep them safe and prevent burn. The most effective options include:

    • Sunscreen - There are a few brands of sunscreen formulated specifically for dogs. Unlike human sunscreens that may contain zinc oxide or parallel amino benzoic acid, dog sunscreen is non toxic if your dog licks it off after you apply it. To apply sunscreen to your dog, rub it on the skin and fur on any body parts that have minimal fur and are exposed to the sun. Be sure to keep it out of your dog's eyes and try to keep your dog from lickingfor about 10 minutes to give it time to soak in.
    • Clothing - Covering up your dog with a shirt or jacket can help keep harmful sun rays off their body. You can even find suits that have UV protection built in. If your dog is covered, still be sure to give them plenty of shade, as well as water and rest, to keep them from overheating.
    • Limit Exposure - The best way to treat sunburn is always going to be to stay out of the sun. Reduce the amount of time your dog spends outdoors in direct sunlight by providing them ample shade in your backyard, and bringing them indoors when the sun is at its highest.

    If you do start to notice that your dog's skin is becoming red, is warm, or seems irritated, you will need to get your dog out of the sun as soon as possible. Aloe and ice packs can help stop the burn and provide your dog some relief, but you may also need to contact your veterinarian if your dog has become severely burned by the sun.