Extreme heat and the sun’s rays are just as dangerous to dogs as humans, but there are ways you can prevent the sun from causing damaging and long-lasting effects. Dogs are at risk for getting types of skin cancer from prolonged exposure to the sun or extreme sunburn, as well as skin ulcerations and autoimmune skin conditions.
Certain dog breeds are more at risk than others, including lighter color dogs with short hair like the Boxer, Dalmation, Pitbull, and Greyhound. Dogs can get sunburned anywhere they are pink. Think of it as where human skin is exposed. Dogs bellies, around their nose, ears, even the pads of their paws can be susceptible to sunburn.
Ways to Prevent Your Dog From Getting Sunburn
- Keep dogs indoors during the peak sun hours between 10 am – 3 pm.
- Put protective clothing on the dog (there are a variety of products on the market for this very issue).
- Instead of buying protective clothing, fit your dog with a white t-shirt to help protect from the sun.
- Apply sunscreen made specifically for dogs (or sunscreen for babies or sensitive skin) with an SPF of at least 15. Make sure the label indicates it is non-toxic.
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.
- Let your dog’s hair grow longer during the warmer months
- Dry off your dog right away as wet skin is more susceptible to sunburn.
Using these tips to prevent sunburn in your dog will have your favorite furry friend enjoying the warmer months and being outdoors just as much as you do!