How to Protect Your Dog From Sunburn

Sunburn affects all dogs, but particularly those that have little or no hair, a light-colored skin, pigmentation problems and short legs, as the sunlight reflects off the ground and burns the abdominal area of dogs that are close to it. Dogs are also susceptible to skin cancer, and areas of their bodies such as the nose, paw pads, groin, eyelids, tips of the ears and inside of the legs need to be protected regularly against the sun.

Things You'll Need

  • Sunscreen
  • Dog T-shirt or sun suit


    • 1

      Limit your dog's exposure to the sun as you would your own. Stay in the shade during the midday heat and on days with a particularly high ultra-violet index. This helps prevent heatstroke and keep the dog cool as well as avoiding sunburn.

    • 2

      Dress your dog in some lightweight, summer clothing. Dogs don't sweat through the skin but release heat by panting, so a T-shirt or sun suit will not make it hot, but will help deflect the sun's rays, cooling it down and protecting it from the sun and the heat.

    • 3

      Allow the dog's hair to be just long enough during summer to protect its skin from the sun. Avoid having it shaved to the skin just to keep it cool, unless you plan for it to wear clothing whenever it is out in the sun.

    • 4

      Apply sunscreen every time the dog is in the sun for longer than a few minutes. Use a product with a sun protection factor of at least 15 that is nontoxic to dogs, or one formulated for babies. These are more certain to be hypoallergenic and less likely to irritate the skin of the dog.

    • 5

      Dab the sunscreen on the exposed bridge of the dog's nose, the tips of its ears and the belly and groin area that may not be covered by the clothing. Distract the dog with a game or treat while the sunscreen dries. Reapply regularly and after swimming.

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  • Photo Credit Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Getty Images

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