Can Dogs Get Sunburn in Santa Clarita, CA?
You might not know it, but dogs can get sunburned! Dogs of all colors can be sensitive to the sun, and there are specific areas of the body that need to be protected if your dog is going to be outside in the sun for an extended period. While it might seem like your dog has a hairy coat on, and they don’t need protection from the sun, this is not actually the case.
Dogs of all ages can be susceptible to the sun, but puppies and older dogs are more prone to burns and ill effects from being in the sun for too long. Make sure that you don’t expose your dog to both sunburn and heatstroke by keeping them outside for too long when the weather is hot and sunny.
What Parts of My Dog’s Body Can Get Sunburned?
Your dog’s ears, nose, foot pads, and belly are the most likely to get a sunburn. The area around their eyes might also be susceptible. Dogs that are light in color might burn all over if they are in the sun without protection from UV rays. Since dogs cool themselves by panting and sweating through the pads of their feet, a sunburn on the nose and the pads of the feet can make it harder for them to cool off.
Sunburns in these areas can also be quite painful, and the skin might break open, split, or get infected. A sunburn on these areas will look just like it does on a human, and your dog might have red, peeling skin on these areas if they are burned. The skin will also usually feel dry and tight, and your dog might not like you touching it.
What Are the Risks Associated with Dog Sunburn?
Just as in people, dog sunburns can be painful, and they can lead to skin infections and pain. Your dog could also wind up with heatstroke due to being sunburned, which is life-threatening in dogs. Preventing repeated sunburns is also key to preventing skin cancer in dogs, just like in humans. There are so many reasons that sunburn can be harmful to your dog that it’s worth ensuring that your pet is not exposed to this risk when they are playing outside in the sun with you.
Sunburns might be more common in dogs that are lighter in color, but no dog is exempt from sunburn. You should be sure that you do not assume that your dog with a dark coat will never get sunburned. This is not accurate, as any dog can get burned when they are out in the sun for too long.
How Can I Protect My Dog from Sunburn?
There are many different options to protect your dog from sunburn:
There are many dog sunscreen products that you can buy to keep your dog comfortable and protected from the sun. Make sure that you do not use human sunscreen on your dog for any reason, as these products can contain substances that are toxic to dogs. Remember that your dog will be likely to try and lick the sunscreen off their feet and nose, so you don’t want to use a sunscreen product that will be bad for their health.
Make sure that you re-apply dog sunscreen just like you would human sunscreen. If your dog has been in the water or has licked a lot of their sunscreen off, they might not get any benefit from your efforts. There are waterproof dog sunscreens as well for dogs that are going to be in the ocean or a river, or a lake.
Sun Shirts and Booties
These kinds of sunscreen products can be backed up by sun-protective gear like sun shirts, and you can also get your dog foot booties to wear when they are going to be outside on hot pavement. These little shoes will keep your dog’s feet from getting burned and help to prevent them from being in pain while they join you on adventures in the summer months.
You might also consider getting your dog sun goggles made for pets. These can be very helpful if your pet has light-colored eyes or if they tend to get burns around their eyes. Not all dogs will wear them, but with patience, most pets can be taught to wear gear like this when they are out in the sun.
Don’t Shave Your Dog
If your dog has a thick coat, don’t shave it off! This is a common misconception among dog owners when double-coated dogs are much better able to deal with the heat than other dogs. When you shave a double coat, you remove your dog’s insulation, which can lead to them getting too hot quite rapidly. This can also ruin the coat, and it might take years for your dog’s haircoat to grow back properly.
Avoid the Hottest Part of the Day
Another great way to protect your dog from sunburn is to make sure to avoid being out in the heat of the day when the sun is at its highest. Save walks and playtimes for early morning or the evening when the sun is not at its peak. This will help prevent sunburn for both you and your dog and keep you cool and comfortable all day long.
Dogs Should be Protected from Sunburn Just Like People
No matter what color your dog’s coat is, they can be susceptible to sunburn. You will need to make sure that you have sunscreen and items like booties and dog goggles on hand to keep your pet protected from the sun when the weather is hot. Your dog can enjoy all kinds of fun adventures without worrying about sunburn if you make sure that you bring sunscreen and sun gear with you hiking, to the dog park, or when you want to play with your pet in the lake.
Keeping your dog’s skin healthy can help to prevent skin infections, heatstroke, and pain and discomfort. These tips will help you and your pet have a much more enjoyable summer that is free from sunburn!
Do you have questions about your dog’s wellness and care? Give Stevenson Ranch Veterinary Center a call at (661) 799-0655 or book an appointment online!
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