Can dogs get sunburn?

At the beach in summer or in the mountains in winter, can dogs like us be victims of sunburn? We take stock

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Dogs, susceptible to sunburn

Just like human beings, dogs can be burned by prolonged exposure to the sun's rays, especially on parts of the body that are not completely covered with hair such as the junction between its nose and its muzzle, the tips of his ears, his belly or the inner side of his thighs.

While all dogs can get sunburned, the dogs most sensitive to the sun are those with poorly pigmented skin and white or light hair that is rather short, less protective than long hair vis- against UV rays.

Among the most sensitive dog breeds, we find the Bull Terrier, the Dalmatian, the Beagle, the Dogo Argentino, the Boxer, the Great Dane, the American Staffordshire Terrier, the English Pointer or even the Whippet.

How does sunburn manifest in dogs?

Sunburn in dogs is no different than sunburn in humans. A sunburned dog has red, inflamed skin that becomes very sensitive and painful.

Sunburns on dogs can also lead to hair loss and peeling skin. In the most severe cases, sunburn can lead to the formation of erosions and scabs.

When sun exposure is prolonged and sunburns are repeated, dogs are also at greater risk of developing skin cancer.

Cancers in dogs that may be associated with sun exposure are more specifically squamous cell carcinoma, malignant melanomas, hemangiomas and hemangiosarcomas.

How to protect your dog from sunburn?

To protect your dog from the harmful rays of the sun, and especially if he has a light coat, it is best to avoid exposing him to the sun in summer, at times when the sun is at its zenith, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

In addition, it is also useful to apply sunscreen to your dog, on the little hairy and sensitive areas of his body such as his nose, the outline of his lips, the tips of his ears, his stomach and inner thighs.

The application must be renewed throughout the day or if the dog has bathed.

Choose a sunscreen specially designed for dogs, which will not pose any risk to his he alth if he comes to lick it.

Sunscreens designed for human beings are not suitable for dogs' skin and can lead to poisoning if dogs ingest it. This is particularly the case for those containing perfumes or zinc oxide.

Before applying sunscreen to your dog, first apply a dab of it to a very small area of his body to check that it will not cause an allergic reaction in him. When you apply sunscreen to your dog's face, also make sure it does not come into contact with his eyes.

After applying the cream, watch your dog for a few minutes to make sure he doesn't lick it off and that the cream has time to soak in. The best thing is to distract him with a game to divert his attention during this time.

If you have to go out with your dog during the hours of maximum sunshine, you can also equip him with protective sunglasses.Wearing them is even particularly important if your dog suffers from eye problems that can be aggravated by UV exposure such as pannus.

In case of strong heat, sunburn is not the only danger that awaits your dog. Also make sure your dog doesn't suffer from heat stroke by making sure they have access to cool water and shaded areas.

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