Humans and dogs alike can suffer from sunburn; long term exposure can result in skin damage and skin cancers. Like humans certain factors make some dogs more prone:
dogs with white or light colored coats
dogs with a very short coat or no coat at all
dogs that have suffered coat loss from allergies or other medical conditions
and of course dogs that are outside during the hottest part of the day.
What steps can you take to prevent your dog from getting a sunburn?
1) Keep your dog inside in a cool room, or if they are outside, in a well shaded area or adequate shelter during the hottest parts of the days.
2) Use sunscreen on the parts of his body susceptible to sunburn. These parts include: nose, ends of the ears, around the mouth, eyelids and the underside or your dog- belly, groin and inside the legs; these areas are particularly at risk. Make sure you use a pet sunscreen because products for human use can contain ingredients that are toxic to your dog. Remember to regularly reapply the sunscreen. Pay particular attention to areas where little coat is covering and where the skin pigmentation is low or light in color.
3) Believe it or not, there are bodysuits designed to protect your dog from UV rays as well. It's best to ask your veterinarian about which bodysuit is best suited for your particular dog. They can be a good option if your dog is continually out in the sun or you live in higher temperature regions.
4) If during the summer months you have your dog groomed, think about leaving his coat a bit longer so the coat offers some protection. Talk to your dog's groomer or veterinarian about clipping your dog, some dog breed's coat's are designed to insulate the dog from the sun's heat. If you clip too much off your dogs coat, you may be doing more harm than good.
Summer is just around the corner, so make sure that you and your dog stay happy and healthy during summer months. If you do happen to see any signs of sunburn such as red skin, fur loss and/or sores, please contact your local veterinarian and make sure you seek medical advice.