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While most dogs do just fine out in the sun, there are a few important things you should know about dog sunburn and dog skin cancer.
Beyond the facts, it’s up to you to do everything in your power to protect your dog from ever getting a sunburn in the first place.
Following are 5 simple things you can do to prevent your dog from getting a sunburn…
Did You Know?
Most people don’t realize that dogs with short legs are more susceptible to sunburn than other dogs. Why? Because their bellies are closer to the ground, therefore it’s easier for the tummy area to get sunburn from the sunlight being reflected off the ground.
How To Prevent Dog Sunburn
#1 – Apply a dog sunscreen.
When should sunblock be applied? You’ll want to put a quality dog sunscreen on each time before your dog goes outside — especially if your dog will be spending a lot of time out in the sun.
Where should sunblock be applied on a dog? Put it on your dog’s nose, belly, ears, and groin. Any spot that is normally “pink” on your dog — including any skin that shows when your dog is shaved — should be protected with sunscreen prior to being outdoors for long periods of time. Avoid using dog sunscreen around the eyes. (see #5 below)
Using and applying sunscreen correctly is as important for pets as it is for humans, especially if your pet is thin-haired, hairless, unpigmented or is likely to get sun exposure on its ears and nose. Just like us, dogs can get sunburned, too, and suffer from pain, peeling and skin cancer. Certain breeds can be particularly susceptible including Staffordshire Terriers, Boxers, Bull Terriers, German Shorthaired Pointers and Pit Bulls, to name a few. Source
It’s not always a good idea to use a human sunscreen on your dog. The reason? Many human-grade sunscreens are toxic to animals, especially those that contain PABA or zinc oxide. That said, as long as your dog doesn’t lick the sunscreen itself, then baby sunblock and those made for sensitive skin would probably be fine for your dog.
Dr. Ernest Ward, Jr., veterinarian at Seaside Animal Care, recommends using a children’s sunscreen that contains avobenzone, also called Parsol 1789 which is a UVA blocker, and octisalate, which blocks UVB rays. “Avoid sunscreens that contain zinc oxide because accidental ingestion could lead to a serious condition called hemolytic anemia in some pets,” he says. Source
#2 – Keep your dog indoors during the hottest part of the day.
That generally means from 10AM to 3PM and applies year-round — because sun exposure is sun exposure, regardless of whether it’s summer, winter, spring, or fall. If your dog will be in the backyard for long periods of time, make sure to provide some shade for your dog.
#3 – Don’t cut your dog’s fur too short.
Your dog’s hair is one of the things that helps to protect the skin from sun exposure. If your dog has at least half-an-inch of fur, then it would be highly unlikely that sunburn would ever occur. However, if your dog is shaved, then be very careful whenever he is exposed to the sun. That said, fur alone isn’t the best source of sun protection.
#4 – Buy sun protection dog clothes.
In addition to mid-length dog shirts, look for a full-body dog sunsuit. Ideally, you want at least 30+ UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor). Dog sun suits with 50+ UPF are best.
There are spandex-type bodysuits on the market designed to block UV radiation,” says Dr. Karen Campbell, veterinary dermatologist at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Urbana. “I highly recommend these for dogs who spend a lot of time outside, especially dogs who visit the beach.” Source
#5 – Protect your dog’s eyes.
The eyes are a common spot for canine melanoma. That’s why doggie sunglasses, like Doggles, are so popular. They’re the world’s only eyewear made just for dogs. Here’s how to get your dog to wear sunglasses or goggles.
Pet goggles for dogs offer 100% UV protection, and shatterproof, anti-fog lenses facilitated by side air vents; a very flexible, wrap around foam padded frame; interchangeable capable lenses; two adjustable soft elastic head and chin straps; for complete and beneficial dog goggle eye protection for your pet. Source
What If Your Dog Gets Sunburned?
If your dog does happen to become sunburned, 100% pure Aloe Vera gel is the best way to quickly and easily soothe your dog’s skin.
Here’s what you need to know about the different types of dog sunburn, and how to professionally treat it.
More About Dog Sunburn
- How To Keep Your Dog Cool In Hot Weather
- Does Your Dog Need Sunscreen?
- How To Deal With Doggie Sunburn
- Using Sunscreen On Your Dog
- How To Apply Sunscreen To A Dog
- Ways To Keep Your Dog Cool In The Summer
My favorite things to write about are topics that have to do with pregnancy, weddings, saving money, living green, and life with dogs. When I’m not writing, I love to spend time with my husband, read, create 3D artwork and Native American beadwork.