In a word, YES, dogs can absolutely get a sunburn. Certain dogs are at a greater predisposition to sunburns including white dogs, light-colored dogs, shorthaired and shaved dogs. But it’s important to note that regardless of color or breed, all dogs can get sunburned. A dog’s sunburn is quite common in areas with little to no fur, such as their nose, ears, mouth and belly.
But, as hard as it may be to believe, dogs can also get sunburned through their fur, particularly dogs with white or light-colored fur. Not only is a sunburn uncomfortable for your dog, but just like with humans, reoccurring burns lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. In fact, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in dogs.
How do I know if my dog is sunburned?
Dogs can show similar signs of sunburn to that of humans. You’ll most likely notice sunburn on your dog’s nose, mouth or ears first. Look for the following signs:
- Dry, cracked skin
- Red skin
- Curling at the edges of the ears
- Light scratching or whimpering
- Possible fever
Can I use sunscreen on my dog?
You can absolutely use sunscreen on your dog an d you should. It is better to protect your dog from sunburn than to let her suffer after too much exposure. You can simply use the same people products on your pet that you use on yourself. Choose a child–safe SPF 30 to 50 and apply to your dog’s most susceptible areas: nose, chin, ears, shaved or bare areas and belly.
Bellies are especially susceptible to sunburn because dogs have thinner hair on their stomachs. UV rays can reflect up from sidewalks, and beach sand and can burn your dog’t bell. If your dog loves to lay in the sun all day, make certain you apply a sunscreen to all exposed areas.
If you’re not using a waterproof sunscreen, make certain you re-apply after exposure to water or even if your dog rolls around in the grass. Avoid taking your dog outside during peak sun and temps, when UV rays are the most harmful.
Remember your dogs paws. The pads of your dog’s paws are highly likely to get sunburned just by being on hot ground. In high temps, the asphalt or concrete will be extremely hot, and that means your dog’s paws can burn quickly. Consider using dog booties if your planning on walking your dog on hard surfaces the the temperatures have been rising
Dog Breeds Most Likely to Sunburn
While all dogs can get sunburned, the following breeds are more susceptible. It’s best to be extra cautious and apply sunscreen if you own one of the the following breeds or a mix thereof:
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Chinese Crested
- Golden Labradors
- Golden Retrievers
- White German Shepherd
What to do if your dog does get sunburned
If you think your dog has a sunburn, move her immediately to a shady area, give her cool water and apply cold compresses to her skin. If she seems quite uncomfortable, has a fever or if her skin is red or is beginning to blister see your veterinarian.
As with most things in life, the best protection is prevention. Be aware and take the appropriate steps to protect your dog from sun damage.