Sunburn in Dogs
Summer means sun and sun means sunburn, especially here in New Zealand, where the sun can burn the skin in only 10 minutes. We know this and we protect ourselves accordingly, but we don’t always consider that our pets might suffer from sunburn as well.
Dogs (but also other animals) burn similarly to the way humans do. The lighter the skin, the easier the burn. Sunburn is just as painful for animals as it is for humans, and shows up in much the same way – red, raw skin, hot and sore to the touch, which can become flaky, cracked and may blister.
Dogs that are most likely to suffer from sunburn are white dogs, hairless dogs, and dogs with light coloured fur. White dogs, for instance, tend to have fair skin underneath their fur and therefor a greater potential for sun damage. Dogs with naturally thin hair, and especially the hairless breeds are also at risk for sunburn and skin cancer. All canines, regardless of the thickness of their coats, have vulnerable areas of the body with less fur or none at all. The belly and ears have delicate skin, and even a dog’s nose can become dried out and sore.
The risk of dog sunburn and skin cancer in dogs is increased if they are not properly protected from the sun. Thankfully, we can prevent it in much the same way we prevent our own sunburn by providing shade, putting sunscreen on, or using natural solutions like Homeopathy.
Some well-intentioned pet owners shave their dogs in an effort to keep them cool in the summer, but doing so exposes “virgin” skin to the sun. A better cooling tactic is to always provide shade; a big umbrella at the beach, a shady tree at a park, a roof for your backyard patio, or a sun-block top for an outdoor kennel. Your dog will instinctively seek shelter from the sun when the rays become too intense. Walk your dog early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the hottest part of the day. Not only will this prevent your dog’s skin burning in the sun’s hot rays, but paths and roads will be cooler and prevent burns to your pup’s delicate paws.
Some people keep their pets inside during the hottest hours of the day – however, this is only beneficial if your house is well ventilated and cool.
Slip, Slop, Slap!
Just as it works for humans, it works for animals too! There are several sunscreens available for animals, perhaps from your local pet store or Vet. Otherwise, bust out the same sunscreen you use on yourself! Coloured sunblock can be handy too; they make it much easier to tell when your pet has rubbed some off or where you’ve already applied some.
If your dog is already burnt, treat it similarly to the way you’d treat your own. Aloe sunburn treatments will immediately sooth your dog’s burn, and will help re-moisturize and heal your dog’s skin. Eezapet also has a nice soothing cream available.
If you don’t want to put sunscreen on your dog there is a good Homeopathic remedy called Sol 30C that could help prevent sunburn or help your dog when the skin is already burnt. Application is simple, you just add several drops to the water bowl. When your dog already has sunburn, add it to the water bowl several days in a row; after that once a week is enough to help in prevention.
If you would like to order the Homeopathic remedy Sol 30C please go to the Shop for more details on amounts and prices. We also have Sol 200C for horses.
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The information contained in this website is not intended to replace guidance from your veterinarian. Bowen Therapy and Homeopathy are complementary to veterinary treatment and the general care of the animal.