Can Dogs Get Sunburn?
Don’t be fooled by the fur coat, your four-legged friend needs as much protection from the dangers of blazing sunshine as you do. Sunscreen, don’t leave home without it!
Little ray of sunshine
We have all done it. Pulling back the curtains to be greeted by the hot glare of summertime, we pack our beach bags, round up the family and excited pooch before heading off to chill out by the waves for the rest of the day. However, in the excitement, things can get left behind; not a problem for humans, as sunscreen and beach bits ‘n’ bobs can easily be purchased at the beach. Yet, for your gorgeous hound, things are not so straightforward.
Firstly, he relies on you for his sun protection, so you should be aware of the risk to dogs from the harmful UVA and UVB rays of sunshine. Yes, their fur coat offers protection but it is not a total defence against the risk of burning, or the real dangers of cancer that exposure to sunshine can cause. Remember that dogs are unique individuals and yours may need extra camouflage from those hot rays. Age, allergies, bald spots, light-coloured skin or surgery recovery can all result in hair loss that makes your pooch vulnerable to sunburn.
Our 5 tips to help your wonderful woofer have fun in the sun:
★ Canine-friendly sunscreen
Human sunscreen can contain zinc oxide; this is toxic for dogs and can cause
vomiting, chills and fever amongst other unpleasant symptoms. NEVER use human
sunscreen for dogs! Pet stores and vets will stock canine-friendly sunscreens;
these should display a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) number, showing the time your
hound would have lazing on the sand before being in danger of sunburn. You
should select the highest SPF number available.
★ Do not shave long-haired dogs
Remember, your dog has UV ray skin protection from his coat; shaving removes
this natural cover. So, that is a doggy no-no!
★ Easy on the cream!
There is no need to give your pooch an all-over covering; only apply the sunscreen
to skin areas that are likely to need special care from the sunshine. These are the
tips of nose, ears, belly and the groin areas.
★ Testing is best
When you have bought your dog-friendly sunscreen, test it out on a small area of
your dog’s skin, to ensure that there is no allergic reaction. Best to find this out
before you and your hot hound hit the beach!
★ Looking fine!
If the sunscreen causes irritation, then lightweight clothing offers your dog a
cooling, comfortable sunblock. Here, paler colours will do a better job of reflecting
sun rays than darker ones. Dog sunglasses also not only provide UV eye cover but
also guard against wind, sand and insects.