Can Dogs Get Sunburnt?

Many pet owners may not realize that their canine companions can suffer from sunburn, just like humans. While enjoying the sunny Fort Lauderdale weather, it’s important to consider the effects of the sun on your dog’s health. This blog explores the risks of sun exposure for dogs, preventive measures you can take, and why protecting your dog from the sun is important. For specific concerns about your pet, call Central Broward Animal Hospital at (954) 792-6223.




What is Dog Sunburn?

Sunburn in dogs, medically known as solar dermatitis, occurs when dogs are exposed to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays for extended periods. Similar to people, dogs can get sunburnt, which can lead to discomfort, skin peeling, and in severe cases, skin cancer. Certain areas such as the nose, ears, and belly are particularly vulnerable due to thinner fur coverage.

Symptoms of Sunburn in Dogs

Identifying sunburn in your dog is the first step to managing their sun exposure. Common signs include:

  • Redness
  • Flaking
  • Sudden onset of dandruff
  • Agitation due to discomfort
  • Frequent licking and scratching of affected areas

If you notice these symptoms, it’s a good indicator that your dog needs better sun protection.

Preventing Sunburn in Dogs

Choosing the Right Sunscreen

One effective way to protect dogs from sunburn is the application of sunscreen. Not all sunscreens are safe for canine use; it’s crucial to choose a product specifically formulated for pets. These sunscreens avoid ingredients like zinc oxide or para-aminobenzoic acid, which are toxic to dogs. Applying a thin layer on exposed skin can significantly reduce the risk of sunburn.

Protective Clothing and Shade

In addition to sunscreen, consider protective clothing designed for pets, such as sun-resistant shirts or bodysuits. These can provide an extra layer of UV protection especially during the peak sun hours. Creating ample shade in your yard and choosing early morning or late afternoon for outdoor activities can also prevent dogs from getting sunburnt.

Sunburn and Skin Health in Dogs

Long-term Effects of Sun Exposure

Prolonged exposure to UV rays can lead to more serious health issues in dogs, including various forms of skin cancer. Dogs with light-colored or thin coats are at a higher risk and require extra precautions. Regular check-ups with a vet can help catch any skin abnormalities early, reducing potential complications.

Monitoring Your Dog’s Skin Health

Regularly checking your dog’s skin is vital for early detection of sunburn and other conditions. Look for new growths, changes in mole color or size, and persistent sores, as these can be indicative of skin health issues. If you observe any of these signs, a consultation with a vet at Central Broward Animal Hospital is advisable.

Protecting Your Pet From the Florida Sunshine

As we enjoy the beautiful weather in Fort Lauderdale, it’s essential to be aware that dogs can get sunburnt and take appropriate measures to protect them. Using pet-safe sunscreen, providing shade, and dressing them in protective clothing are all effective ways to safeguard your canine friend from harmful UV rays. Keep an eye on their skin condition and consult with Central Broward Animal Hospital at (954) 792-6223 for guidance and to address any concerns about your dog’s skin health. Let’s ensure our dogs enjoy the sunshine safely!