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Dog Sunburns Complete Guide: Everything You Should Know

Can a dog get sunburned?

Yes! Just like you and I, dogs also do get sunburns. Dogs sunburn is a particularly common occurrence in dogs mainly in specific areas that have little or no fur like the belly, nose, around the ears, paws, and mouth.

Dog sunburn is not anything to ignore since it can not only be irritating and painful, in a worst-case scenario, reoccurring or untreated burns can result in increased exposure and risk to skin cancer.

What’s more, dogs may also get sunburn through their fur particularly light-colored or white dogs with fair skin.

Types of Sunburns in Dogs

  • Superficial partial thickness burns: typically affect the top skin layer resulting in red skin without any blisters.
  • Deep partial thickness burns: these affect the dog’s skin surface layer as well as some deeper skin layers. Such type of burn can be compared to standard second-degree burns in humans although the dog doesn’t usually develop blisters.
  • Full thickness burns: these types of burns generally affect the skin layer of your dog and potentially even have their toll on the tissue beneath the bottom skin layer. These types of burns are usually excruciating and mandate for veterinary care.

Does It Affect All Dogs?

Chinese Crested

While dog sunburns affect all types of dogs, there are however specific dog breeds that are more prone to getting sunburned. Typically, all canines notwithstanding their coat thickness have precise vulnerable areas of their body that have less or no fur at all.

As earlier mentioned, areas such as around the belly and ears in dogs feature delicate skin- hence increasing their chances of getting sunburns. Moreover, a dog’s nose can also get dried out and sore. Nonetheless, some dog breeds are more prone to getting sunburns. For instance, white or light-skinned dogs tend to have fair skin just beneath their fur-hence greater susceptibility to sun damage.

Not only working dogs, but dogs with naturally thin hair, and more so the hairless breeds also have a higher chance of getting sunburned and even getting cancer. Some of the dog breeds in most dangers of getting sunburned include boxer, Chinese Crested, the American Staffordshire Terrier, Greyhound, Boxer, Whippet, Dalmatian, White German Shepherd, and the Weimaraner.

How Do You Tell If My Dog Is Sunburned?Dog Sunburn

When it comes to dog sunburns, the symptoms usually are relatively acute, subsequently developing between 1 hour after exposure to the sun and getting to its peak within just three days. Generally, the most prevalent symptom is painful, reddened skin. Also, you may notice vocalization of pain during movement or when your dog is touched. However, in severe cases, you can identify blistering and inflammation on your dog.

The most commonly affected areas usually include the nose, ears, around the eyes as well as on the back of the dog. Some other symptoms although in rare occasions can include fainting, weakness, not to mention shock primarily because of heat exhaustion.

Dog Sunburn Signs and Symptoms

  • Reddened skin
  • Dry, cracked skin
  • Your dog may be scratching and perhaps even whimpering
  • The pup unnaturally shying away from touch
  • Curling just at the edge of its ears

Besides the apparent signs and symptoms, are there any long-term effects of sunburns?


Usually, sunburned skin is initially reddened, scaly and painful. However, with continued exposure, nodules and bumps may develop. A sunburned pet often scratches or licks the affected region. This can result in thickened skin, leading to bleeding of the lesions. Sunburn also irritates or even aggravates existing skin conditions like lesions squamous cell carcinoma.

How Do You Treat A Dog Sunburn?

Dog Sunburn Treatment

Besides the obvious step of taking your dog to a veterinary clinic, there are several ways that you can use to treat dog sunburn. If you have experienced sunburn before and you now have a pet with sunburns, you can use the same approach, tactics, and home remedies to your pet, as you would typically use yourself.

Usually, a typical oatmeal bath by using lukewarm water with the oats subsequently ground into powder can help soothe your dog’s sunburned, and dry skin. Another useful home remedy would be applying Aloe Vera in your pup’s bath as this can help alleviate its pain. Similarly, you can also add neem oil as you bath your pet which can effectively help hasten the healing process quite significantly. Lastly, you can also make use of some coconut oil as it aids in replacing the lost skin subsequently ensuring skin rejuvenation.

How Do I Protect My Dog From Sunburn?

Dog Sun Protection

If your pup goes out for a relatively long period during hot summer days, especially in the backyard, there is a need for you to protect their skin from the harmful UV sun rays. How then can you do this? Herein are a few tips you can use:

1. Find Shade

Just like you wouldn’t expose yourself to the sun for hours for fear of getting sunburned, you should do the same for your pup. Don’t let your pet stand for long hours in the sun-exposed, always look for some shade and ensure that they stay under the shade for as long as they please. Besides preventing sunburns, a shade can also help prevent your pup from overheating.

2. Use Dog Sunscreen

Before you set out your pup to go out in the hot sun, it is essential that you layer up their skin with individual dog sunscreen. Yes, there is a dog sunscreen! However, only go for all-natural products and be sure to refrain from using human sunscreen since the scents and artificial ingredients in the latter can significantly cause skin irritation on the canine.

Generally, the dog’s nose is among the most likely spots to get sunburned. Even so, be sure to use natural products since whatever product you use will usually be licked and even consumed to avoid your pup from getting sick.

One of the best products is Snout soother since it is stocked with natural SPF. It is also great since it is scent-free and is a great solution to help fast healing of an already dry. Flaked, and burned nose not to mention help prevent the occurrence of future burns.

3. Use Protective Clothing

Lastly, you can also get your pup some special SPF and UV protective clothing from various veterinary product outlets.

What About Dog Paws?

Dog Paws Burnt

Do they also need protection against sunburn?

Unfortunately, one of the most overlooked body parts in a dog’s body when a pet owner is seeking to protect their pup from sunburns is the paw. What most owners don’t understand is that your dog’s paw is also susceptible to sunburn. How? While many may argue that the paws face down and away from the scorching sun, the fact is that since it is hot outside, that means that the concrete or asphalt is perhaps even hotter…meaning that your dog’s paws may burn in just a few minutes!

One of the products you can use to protect your pup’s paws is PawTection. It helps safeguard your dog’s paws from damage by establishing a barrier between its paws and the hot ground. Similarly, if you notice that your dog already has dry, rough, or discolored paw pads, then your dog has unfortunately suffered from walking on the hot surfaces. At such point, you can use PawSoother, another all-natural product that ensures your pup recovers ASAP!

Pet Sun Safety

Dogs can indeed get sunburns! Luckily though, by familiarizing yourself and using the tips as outlined in this excerpt, you can effectively help ensure the safety of your pet.

Read more on Pet Health.