Can Dogs Get Sunburnt?
Be it winter or summer, we’re always taking precautions to protect our skin against UV rays. The question is, should we do the same for our dogs? The answer is a big fat YES! While some dogs may be more susceptible to getting sunburnt than others, we must take safety measures for all of them.
How to Recognise Sunburn on Dogs
Dogs can get sunburnt anywhere — from the top of the nose to the tip of the toe. The areas with little to no hair are more susceptible to burns. This is exactly why hairless breeds like the Mexican hairless dog and Chinese crested are at higher risk. Dogs with short coats and pink skin are also at a greater risk of sunburns.
The signs of sunburn on dogs are similar to those on humans, however, they’re less visible due to the dogs’ hair. You must make sure there’s no inflammation or red skin under the dog’s hair, and also be on the lookout for scaly skin and hair loss.
Other Risks Associated With Sun
Sunburns shouldn’t be your only concern — just like humans, dog skin cancer is also associated with sun exposure. For instance, malignant melanomas, hemangiomas, and squamous cell carcinoma are some of the types of dog skin cancer you should be aware of.
Besides cancer, sun exposure can also aggravate other medical conditions such as dermatitis and autoimmune disorders.
The Dos and Don’ts of Applying Sunscreen on Your Dog
The only way to protect your dog against the sun is by using sunscreen and by keeping it covered, but choosing the wrong sunscreen can do more harm than good. Ideally, you should buy sunscreen made specifically for dogs. The reason? PABA (Para-aminobenzoic Acid) and zinc oxide are two such ingredients found in sunscreen for people that are toxic to dogs if ingested. Since our furry friends are very fond of licking their skin, sunscreen with these two ingredients puts them at risk. Try to find an unscented and waterproof dog sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 for maximum benefits!
While sunscreen does a good job at protecting your pooch, it’s still a good idea to pair it up with some shade and protective clothing.
Many companies sell suits and shirts for dogs that can help cover most areas of their body. Clothing will prevent your pup from licking the sunscreen off of its skin, and also protect it against insect bites.
Dog hats are excellent for protecting your dog’s face and the top part of its body against the sun. They also look super cute. Make sure you tie the hat around your dog’s neck or face so it doesn’t keep falling off.
Goggles help protect your puppy’s eyes against the harsh sunlight. Pair them up with a dog shirt and hat on a beach day, and your pooch will become the coolest boy in town.
Fresh Drinking Water
This is less of an alternative and more of a necessity. Since all dogs are susceptible to heat stroke in summer, make sure they’ve got plenty of fresh drinking water available at all times.
Sunscreen is beneficial but it’s not 100 percent effective. That’s why you have to couple it with protective clothing, hats, goggles, and lots of drinking water. Also, make sure your dog always rests in the shade. If you’ve got a dog breed that’s more susceptible to sunburns, you have to be conscious of it resting under the sun even in the winter.