There’s something about a sunny day that inspires us to get outside and into the sunshine. For domestic animals, the sunlight does more than encourage a long walk or an opportunity for a long, peaceful catnap. When outside, however, the ultra-violet rays from the sun can be dangerous for dogs and cats, because just like humans, they run the risk of sunburn.  Some people think that because our pets have furry coats, they are protected from the sun’s harmful rays, but this simply isn’t true.

Similar to humans, dogs and cats have certain areas that are vulnerable to sunburn. Some of the most susceptible areas for pet sunburn include the nose, around the eyes, on the front and back of the ears, underneath the paws, and the underside of the belly.  

How can you tell if your pet is sunburned? First, you may observe redness around the area in question.   Also, the nose, belly, ears or eye areas are tender to the touch.  Finally, you may notice dry or cracked skin, and if severe enough, you may even see hair loss on the affected area.  If your pet gets sunburned, you can apply Aloe Vera gel to cool and soothe the area.  

Prolonged exposure to the sun will negatively impact any living creature. Over time, serious sunburns can cause painful skin conditions such as sores and abscesses, which could lead to infections or skin cancer.

You can protect your pet from sunburn by applying an over-the-counter sunscreen or visiting your veterinary clinic for prescribed sunscreen made just for animals.  Just like you would your family, keep your pet’s time in the sunshine limited, seek shade and apply sunscreen, especially after a dip in the water.

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