Is my dog at risk for sunburn? Well … probably. The reality is that the South African sun’s rays are harsh – and just like us humans – our devoted dogs can fall victim to painful, crimson and harmful sunburned skin.
☼ WHAT IS SUNBURN THOUGH?
Sunburn is reddening / inflammation / blistering / peeling of the skin caused by overexposure to those vicious ultraviolet rays.
It’s really is no joke and can cause acute pain and lead to long-term health risks in dogs. In cases of severe sunburn – urgent veterinary attention may actually be needed.
So preventing sunburn from happening is absolutely vital. As the famous saying goes after all – prevention is better than cure. Full stop.
☼ SO HOW TO PREVENT SUNBURN?
As mentioned above – it’s indeed MUCH better to protect your dog’s skin prior to sun exposure, than having to deal with the agony afterwards.
If your dog is outside during the day while you’re away, make sure there’s shaded-shelter (e.g. in a doghouse / under a covered porch / tree / umbrella) available.
Naturally shade doesn’t offer total UV protection. You’ll have to invest in a pet-appropriate SUNSCREEN too.
☼ SUNSCREEN 101
Apply sunscreen to your dog’s most sensitive skin areas like the nose, ear flaps, tummy and any other shaved / bare patches.
ALWAYS re-apply if your dog goes swimming / rubs in the grass – especially if the sunscreen is not waterproof.
Limit your pet’s exposure to the most harmful UV rays during peak sunshine hours. Stick to early morning / late afternoon walkies.
Remember that your dog’s tummy is super sensitive and UV rays can actually reflect up from sidewalks, beach sand and other surfaces. Shocker! Meaning even if your dog doesn’t necessarily sunbathe belly-up, the risk of sunburn is still all too real.
NOTE – Sunburned skin will look pinker than normal; and it might be more sensitive to the touch too. Sunburn is more than unsightly and uncomfortable – it’s actually harmful and can develop into skin cancers, including Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
☼ DOG BREEDS PRONE TO SUNBURN
Remember ALL charismatic canines can become members of the crimson-skin club.
However you need to be extra-vigilant about protection if your pet has a light coloured nose, light fur, thin fur, no fur (e.g. Mexican Hairless Dog) or is simply one of the breeds below:
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Chinese Crested
- Dogo Argentino
- White German Shepherd
☼ WHAT CAN I DO IF MY DOG GETS SUNBURN?
Place your dog in a shaded / indoor space as soon as possible.
Apply cold compresses to the skin. DERMOSCENT works well for parched and sun-baked skin, but naturally if your dog’s skin is super red and uber blistered – then you’ll need to see your vet immediately!
Go and enjoy the sun, summer and season – but like all things in life, moderation is key and being responsible is a must.