Can a Dog Get Sunburn?

Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington
Who doesn’t like to lie out in the sun and catch some rays. But can a dog get sunburn? Here’s what you should know about the dangers.

With the exception of a handful of hairless dog breeds, most dogs have a fur coat that protects them from the weather. What you have to keep in mind, however, is that under that coat is a layer of skin that is just as delicate as your own skin and just as susceptible to sunburn. But do dogs actually get sunburn and, if so, how do you protect them? Keep reading to learn more.

Related: 7 Fun Things To Do With Your Dog This Summer

Do Dogs Really Get Sunburn?

When you’re headed to the beach or to the pool, you probably pack sunscreen for yourself and your family. But what about your dog? Do dogs actually get sunburn? Yes! Dogs are susceptible to sunburned skin just as much as you are. While your dog’s skin is covered by a layer of fur, that skin is very fair because it doesn’t tend to get a lot of direct sun exposure. If your dog’s fur is very fine or thin, his risk for sunburn is much higher. Even dogs with thick coats are susceptible to sunburn on areas of exposed skin like the ears, belly, and even his nose.

Related: Top 10 Summer Essentials For Your Dog

How to Protect Your Dog from the Sun

If you want to protect your dog from sunburn, it’s probably not the best idea to cover him with sunscreen. First of all, it probably won’t make it through the coat to reach his skin and, second, he’ll probably end up licking it off and that will lead to more problems. The best way to protect your dog from sunburn is to make sure he has access to shade. If you’re headed to the beach, bring an umbrella big enough to create a shaded area for your dog. If you keep your dog outside at home, make sure he has an outdoor kennel or another covered area to retreat to when things get too sunny.

Tips for Treating Sunburn in Dogs

As careful as you may be, your dog could still end up getting sunburned and then what do you do? In the same way that your skin turns red and warm when you get sunburned, so will your dog’s. Look for signs of red, dry, or cracked skin as well as curling around the edges of your dog’s ears. These are classic signs of sunburn. If your dog shrinks away from your touch (especially for more sensitive areas like the ears and belly), you may want to take a closer look. In very severe cases, sunburn could even cause your dog to develop a fever.

When it comes to treating sunburn, there are several things you can do to soothe your dog’s damaged skin. An oatmeal bath made of lukewarm water and ground oats can soothe and moisturize your dog’s dry skin. You can add a little aloe vera or neem oil to the bathwater, but avoid using soap or shampoo because it can further dry your dog’s skin. After giving your dog’s skin a few days to heal, you can apply a little coconut oil to replace lost moisture.

Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

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