Sunburn In Dogs

With the onset of the summers, it is important for pet-parents to note that dogs too can get sunburnt. Long-term exposure to the sun causes skin damage to pets. A sunburnt dog can peel painfully, scab over and in extreme cases, even suffer from skin cancer. To ensure your dog has safe fun in the sun, follow our useful tips:

  • The rays of the sun are at their hottest between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. If possible, plan all outings with your dog before or after these times to avoid your pet being out in the direct sun. If you go out during these hours, try and keep your dog in the shade.
  • Apply sunblock to sun-sensitive and exposed areas of your dog, such as the tips of your pet’s ears and the top of the nose, particularly during the high-sun times of the day. Take extra precautions with animals with short hair and fair skin. For the sunblock to be effective it should have a minimum ‘sun protection factor’ (SPF) of 15, in addition, it should be applied more than fifteen minutes before sun exposure. Ideally the sunblock should be hypoallergenic, PABA free and baby-safe. Since experts are divided on which sunblock is safe for dogs, consult your vet for a safe brand before lathering it on.
  • While short fur can be an asset in summer for dogs, avoid shaving your dog down to the skin. Fur protects dogs from sunburn and actually helps insulate them against high heat. It also makes it harder for bugs to bite their skin.
  • Just like people with pale or fair skin, dogs that have a lighter-coloured coat or short coats are at a greater risk for getting a sunburn. To prevent your fair-haired pet from getting burnt, limit the amount of time he spends in direct sunlight. Hairless breeds like the Mexican Hairless, and short haired breeds should wear sunblock all day long when outside.
  • If your dog starts to look like a tomato or has any discolouration or sores, take him to the vet immediately. Dogs do not burn as quickly as humans so by the time the sunburn is evident, there may be quite a bit of damage done. The areas that get sunburnt the fastest are the eyelids, nose, ears and the tummy.
Shirin Merchant
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