Can Dogs Get Sunburned?

Dogs and cats love playing in the sun and enjoy snoozing in the sun as well. Though they have thick fur coats/hair, it just isn’t true that pets cannot get sunburn easily. Animals do get sunburn and it is just as painful for them as for us. Here are some tips that will help prevent any serious cases this year for your beloved pets.

Just like us humans, dogs can get sunburns. Take the right steps to protect your pet this summer. As you can guess, the more vulnerable areas tend to be the ears, around their eyes, the nose, and their tummies. Early signs are redness and tenderness in these parts; like the edges of their ears becoming dry or cracked. At times, the sunburns can lead to hair loss in more serious cases. This is all due to over-exposure to the sun. This damage can cause or aggravate existing skin problems like skin ulcers, infections, and in some cases even skin cancer. Some breeds are more prone to sunburn than others due to their physical characteristics.

Signs Your Dog Can Sunburn

  • He/she has short hair or no hair at all,
  • He/she has white or light-colored hair,
  • Has short legs are prone due to their tummies being closer to the ground. This makes it easier for them to get sunburn from sunlight reflecting off the ground surface.

Natural Remedies for Pet Sunburns

As you know, we always prefer natural products when it comes to taking care of our pets. Many veterinarians recommend using over-the-counter spray-on anesthetics to relieve the pain caused by sunburn. Though these medications may numb the pain, they do not heal their sunburns. Therefore, it is better to use natural remedies, whenever possible, that not only alleviate the pain, but also heal the burn on your four-legged friend. Here are some simple natural remedies to help with your pet’s sunburn:

Aloe Vera:

Gel from an aloe vera plants is probably the best solution for sunburn. If you have an aloe plant, break off a leaf and squeeze out its gel, spreading the gel on your pet's sunburned, sore spots. You can also buy an aloe cream and use it as instructed on the label if you are unable to use an aloe vera plant.

Vitamin E:

Vitamin E is an antioxidant with healing properties that can help heal your pet from scarring. A very good way to heal sensitive areas like a sunburned nose is to carefully open a Vitamin E capsule, squeeze out oil, and apply it onto the nose or other affected area once or twice a day.

Herbal Moisturizer:

Help to restore his skin's moisture balance by applying a natural moisturizer. Your pet’s skin will lose a significant amount of moisture while in the sun for extended periods of time, making it dry and sore. Creams that contain shea butter to moisturize the skin in addition to healing herbs and oils such as goldenseal, aloe vera, tea tree, and calendula. Be sure they hydrate themselves to prevent such lack of moisture when signs of dehydration are visible (excessive panting, dry sensitive areas).

Witch Hazel:

Witch Hazel is a natural astringent and can cool down burned, inflamed skin without the burn of alcohol with its antiseptic properties. You can use a cotton ball and apply Witch Hazel to burned areas several times a day as needed.

Preventing Sunburn in Pets

Prevention is better than any cure out there. There are simple ways to prevent your vulnerable pet from getting a sunburn.

Limit Sun Exposure:

Think about what time of the day you are letting your pets out. Not a good idea to go out for walks in the middle of a hot summer day. Make the effort to get out early in the morning or early evening on paths with trees for shade. If your dog tends to stay outside mostly, keep them fenced in a shady part of your yard. When able, let him inside during the hotter parts of the day. Even an “inside-pet” may still get sunburn if they enjoy sleeping for hours by sunny windows. Keeping the blinds or curtains closed during the brighter parts of the day can prevent over-exposure. 

Clothing with UV Protection: 

Dogs with light fur can sunburn easily. You can help to keep them safe by putting them in some dog sun suits with UV protection. And if you get your cat and dog into some cute outfits over the Summer, please share your pictures. We’re sure there will be some great ones.

Using Sunscreen:

When choosing a sunscreen for your pets, be sure to read the labels carefully. Some sunscreens (even those made especially for dogs & cats) contain substances that can be toxic to your pet. Be sure to test out and compare formulas.


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