How to Deal With Dog Sunburn

We may call them the "dog days of summer," but too much fun in the sun can be just as dangerous for dogs as it is for humans. While Fido, just like his human companion, needs a certain amount of sunlight to help keep him happy and healthy, too much sun exposure can leave a dog sunburned and miserable. If this happens, dog owners need to provide treatment for their pooch's sun damage.

Things You'll Need

  • Sunscreen with a SPF of 15 or higher
  • Aloe vera
  • Witchhazel
  • Oatmeal bath or baking soda


    • 1

      Prevent your pooch from getting sunburned; this is always preferable to treating sun damage. When playing outside for extended periods of time or during peak sunlight hours, apply a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher to all areas that are especially sensitive to ultraviolet light-the tips of the ears, bridge of the nose, groin area, inside of the legs and the underbelly. Be sure the sunscreen does not contain PABA which is dangerous to dogs if ingested and most dogs will try to lick sunscreen off. There are several sunscreens available that are made specifically for canines. Some dog breeds such as Pit Bulls, German Short-Haired Painters, While Pull Terries and Dalmatians are particularly prone to sunburn due to their fair skin and white hair.

    • 2

      Keep your dog inside or in the shade, even when it's overcast, during peak sun hours between 10 am and 3 pm.

    • 3

      Try giving your dog a 20-minute bath in cool water if he soaks up too much sun. Mix the bath with either an oatmeal product or baking soda to help ease the pain and itching associated with sunburn.

    • 4

      Wipe the burned areas off with witchhazel after the dog's bath. Witchhazel is a strong antioxidant and astringent made from the leaves and bark of the witchhazel plant.

    • 5

      Apply a 100% Aloe Vera gel to the sunburn. A product made from pure Aloe Vera is safe and non-toxic.

    • 6

      If the burn is severe or has open sores, try applying a gentle antibiotic ointment to it.

    • 7

      Re-apply the witchhazel, aloe and antibiotic as needed until the sunburn is completely healed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Try covering dogs with large areas of exposed skin with a small-size adult's or large-size child's t-shirt. Most pet stores also sell a variety of trendy canine clothing.
  • Sunburn can aggravate any of your dog's existing skin problems such as skin ulcers and infections. It can also cause skin cancer. Be extra careful if you own a Weimaraner or Boxer as they are predisposed to most forms of cancer.
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