Treating Dog Sunburn: Preventive and Reactive Measures

After the Independence Day festivities, we’re sure that your vacation plans will be in full swing. Whether you’re prepping to go to the beach or stay at home with your canine companion, you need to be wary of sunburn – both on your skin and on dogs. Yes, dog sunburn is a thing: it’s a common occurrence during the summer.

Heatstroke isn’t the only problem this summer, and sunburn can be as fatal in the long run: constant sun exposure and sunburns can cause skin cancer.

Here are tips in dealing with and preventing dog sunburns:

Know If Your Dogs are Susceptible

The most vulnerable breeds are those with short and light-colored fur. These include the following:

• Dalmatians
• Boxers
• Greyhounds
• Chinese Crested Dog
• Pitbulls

Remember though, prolonged sun exposure can cause sunburns regardless of breed. Meaning, Golden Retrievers, Saint Bernards, and Poodles are susceptible if put under the sun for too long.

Commonly Affected Areas in the Body

Although dog sunburn can affect any part of the body, some parts are more susceptible than others. Some of the most vulnerable areas include the following:
• Nose
• Ears
• The underside (belly)
• Eyelids
• Mouth

However, note that areas covered with thick fur are also susceptible to the ailment if the conditions are met.

Preventing Dog Sunburn

Obviously, the best way to prevent dog sunburn is to simply make your canine companion stay indoors and away from the scorching, golden light. However, if going out is unavoidable, take the following measures into consideration:

• Schedule your walks and trips wisely. Do not go out in hours when the sun is on a mission to scorch everything its golden rays touch. Avoid taking walks between 10 in the morning until four in the afternoon.

• Use dog sunscreens. You’re better off using ones specially-made for dogs, and not those found on your cosmetics tray. It’s best to use ones made from natural and organic ingredients and those with an SPF of 15 or higher.

• Dog shirts/vests. Although this presents a heatstroke hazard if you’re not careful, this offers a certain degree of protection from the scorching sun’s rays.

Treating It

Dog sunburn is rather tricky to treat, although mild cases can be treated at home. That being said, regardless if it’s a minor burn or a threatening one, it’s always best to have your local veterinarian check on the sunburn.

Full thickness sunburns can take months to heal and may require intensive treatment. Skin grafts might be required if the sunburn coverage is extensive, and a hospital stays is warranted. In minor cases, the fur on the afflicted spot will be shaved and a burn cream will be prescribed.

Bear in mind that sunburns are pretty painful – just imagine the agony you experienced the last time you had one. A dog afflicted with it will appear sad, in pain, and broken.

In this case, preventing dog sunburn is always easier than curing it. Take note of the above mentioned facts and tips in order to not put a damper on your summer vacation plans!

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