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Dogs (and cats) love the sun and, on sunny days, they just enjoy snoozing in the sun. Some people think that with their thick fur coats, dogs do not get sunburn easily.
That is not true. Dogs do get sunburn and it is just as painful for them as for us.
The most vulnerable parts to get sunburn for dogs are the nose, ears, around the eyes, and the tummy. The first sign of dog sunburn is redness and tenderness on these parts.
Sometimes, the edges of the dog's ears will become dry, cracked, or curling. In more serious cases, dog sunburn can lead to hair loss.
Prolonged exposure to the sun and serious sunburn can cause or aggravate existing skin problems, such as skin ulcers, infections, and even skin cancer.
Although all dog breeds can get sunburned, some breeds are more prone to sunburn than others due to their physical characteristics. Sunburn-prone dog breeds include:
Some veterinarians recommend using OTC spray-on anesthetics to ease the pain caused by sunburn.
While these medications may kill the pain, they do not heal the burn. It is better to use natural remedies that not only soothe the pain but also heal the burn.
Here are some simple natural remedies for dog sunburn:
Alternatively, you can get an aloe cream and use as instructed on the label.
For added healing power, if you have 100% pure Lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia), you can add up to 5 drops of Lavender to 30 ml (1 oz) of aloe vera gel and use the mixture to treat dog sunburn.
Lavender is gentle and good for the skin, and is effective in soothing burns (including sunburn) and skin irritation.
Simply use a cotton ball and apply witch hazel to affected areas several times a day.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant with healing properties. It can help heal your dog's nose and keep it from scarring.
Help to restore his skin's natural moisture balance by applying a natural moisturizer such as Dr. Harvey's Healing Cream.
This cream contains shea butter to moisturize the skin, as well as healing herbs and oils such as aloe vera, goldenseal, calendula, and tea tree. It is a cream that can heal wounds from burns, rashes, cuts, hot spots and itching.
As always, prevention is better than cure. There are simple ways to prevent your dog from getting sunburn.
If you keep your dog outside, keep him in a fenced, shaded part of the yard. If possible, let him inside the house during the hottest parts of the day.
Even if your dog is inside the house, he may still get sunburn if he enjoys sleeping by the sunny windows. You may need to keep the blinds or drapes closed during the brightest parts of the day.
However, when choosing a sunscreen for your dog, read the label carefully. Some sunscreens (even those made especially for dogs) contain substances that can be toxic to your dog.
Find out more about which sunscreens are harmful to dogs here.