Sunburn in Dogs: Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Sunburn in Dogs: Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Enjoy the sun without the burns

Like humans, dogs can suffer from sunburn – painful skin caused by too much sun exposure, which allows UV rays to reach the skin’s inner layers. Below, we answer your questions about how to take care of your furkid – from spotting the signs of sunburn to providing cooling relief and avoiding getting burned.

The Basics

Sunburn in Dogs: Symptoms, Treatment and PreventionSource: @tazerleejones 

 

While all dogs are susceptible to sunburn, those with certain characteristics are more prone to sunburn than others are – special attention should be paid to those with thin hair such as the Boxer, Dalmatian, and Greyhound.

Whether the sunburn is mild, moderate, or severe depends on the following three factors. Firstly, pigmentation in your dog’s skin, which can occur with age. Secondly, your pet’s ability to produce melanin – a skin pigment responsible for making the hair, skin, and eyes darker – which may protect the skin from the sun’s rays. This is why those with pink skin – particularly light-coloured dogs – are sensitive to sunlight besides the above breeds.

Thirdly, and most important of all, the amount of UV exposure. Since repeated sunburns can potentially increase the risk of getting sun-induced skin cancer, you should aim to keep your pet safe from sun damage wherever possible.

Symptoms

Sunburn in Dogs: Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Source: @theshyweenie

The symptoms of sunburn are usually simple and straightforward – sunburn skin is red, hot, and painful. Since this makes the skin tender to the touch, your pet may avoid your touch to protect itself.

Typically, the first visible sign of a sunburn appears on vulnerable areas – those with delicate skin or few to no hair such as the belly, ears, and paws may have dry or cracked skin. In more severe cases, you may find inflammation and blistering on your pet’s skin. Weakness, fainting, and shock can also occur in the aftermath of heat exhaustion.

Meanwhile, do keep a lookout for tumours on your pet’s vulnerable areas, which may be a sign of potential skin cancer.

Sunburn Relief

You can take a trip to the vet at your discretion if you suspect your furkid suffers from sunburn. Your vet will recommend a treatment based on the severity of the burn – such as daily wound cleaning and topical medication for more serious burns, but a cool compress should suffice for mild sunburns.

Prevention

Sunburn in Dogs: Symptoms, Treatment and PreventionSource: @rosieposiepit

Even though there is no escaping the heat on our sunny island, there are preventive measures you can take to protect your furkid from getting burned. While it’s important to let your furkid expend energy by going on daily walks, do avoid the hottest time of the day around noon to 3 PM.

Pawrents in the midst of planning for a beach day out can add a dog sunscreen to your packing list, as human sunscreens can pose a risk for harm if your pet licks and bites its skin. While you can cover your pet from the sun with hats and clothes, pay attention not to let it overheat your furry friend! However, it’s a good idea to use a cold compress to soothe your pet’s skin after every outing even if it doesn’t suffer from sunburn.

In a hot and humid climate such as ours, the sun’s harsh rays are not the only thing to protect your furkid from – to prevent heat exhaustion, do also remember to keep your furkid hydrated at all times, be it indoors or outdoors!

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