Dog lying on skateboard in the sun Dog lying on skateboard in the sun

Can Dogs Get Sunburn?

Leestijd: 4 Minuten

04 okt 2023

Yes, dogs can get sunburn.

Symptoms of Sunburn in Dogs

Just like humans, dogs are susceptible to the harmful effects of sunburn. But how can you tell if your furry friend is experiencing this discomfort? Here are some common symptoms to look out for:

Red or pink skin

One of the most noticeable signs of sunburn in dogs is red or pink skin, particularly in areas with thin fur or less pigmentation. These areas are more vulnerable, such as the nose, ears, belly, and groin.

Pain and discomfort

Dogs with sunburn may exhibit signs of pain and discomfort. They might be more sensitive to touch in affected areas, leading to increased scratching or licking.

Peeling or flaking skin

Sunburned skin can become dry, leading to peeling or flaking. This is a clear indication that your dog's skin needs attention and care.


In severe cases, sunburn can lead to swelling of the affected areas. Keep an eye out for any unusual puffiness, especially in the ears and nose.

Blisters or sores

In extreme cases, sunburn can progress to the formation of blisters or sores on your dog's skin. If you notice these signs, it's crucial to seek immediate veterinary attention.

What Happens if a Dog Gets Sunburned?

Understanding the consequences of sunburn in dogs is crucial to preventing it. Sunburn, if left untreated, can lead to various health issues:

Pain and discomfort

Sunburn can be painful for your dog, making them irritable and less active.

Skin damage

Repeated sunburns can cause long-term damage to your dog's skin, increasing the risk of skin cancer.

Risk of skin cancer

Prolonged exposure to the sun without protection can elevate the risk of skin cancer in dogs. This risk is especially high for breeds with thinner fur or light-coloured skin.

Secondary infections

Blisters or sores resulting from sunburn can become infected, leading to more serious health problems.

Eye damage

Dogs can also get sunburned on their eyelids and the surface of their eyes. This can lead to eye damage and discomfort.

Can You Put Suncream on Dogs?

Just as you care about the quality of the fresh dog food you provide, it's essential to consider the right protection for your pup. 

Applying sunscreen to your dog is a responsible way to shield them from the sun's harmful rays. However, not all sunscreens are suitable for dogs, so here are some key tips:

Use dog-specific sunscreen

Opt for a sunscreen specially formulated for dogs. These sunscreens are designed to be safe if licked and are less likely to contain harmful ingredients.

Avoid zinc oxide and PABA

Ingredients like zinc oxide and para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) found in some human sunscreens can be toxic to dogs. Ensure these ingredients are not present in the sunscreen you choose.

Apply to vulnerable areas

Focus on applying sunscreen to the areas most prone to sunburn, such as the nose, ears, belly, and groin. These areas have thinner fur and are more exposed.

Frequent reapplication

Remember to reapply sunscreen regularly, especially if your dog is swimming or sweating. Sunscreen can wear off, so keeping them protected is crucial.

Consult your vet

If you're unsure about which sunscreen to use or have concerns about your dog's skin, consult your veterinarian. They can recommend the best products for your specific breed and situation.

How to Treat Sunburn in Dogs

If despite your best efforts, your dog still ends up with sunburn, here's how you can provide relief and promote healing:

Keep them indoors

Limit your dog's exposure to the sun until their sunburn heals. This will prevent further damage and discomfort.

Cool compresses

Applying cool, damp compresses to the affected areas can provide relief. Be gentle and avoid using ice-cold water, which can shock the skin.

Aloe vera gel

Aloe vera gel, specifically designed for dogs, can soothe sunburned skin. Ensure it doesn't contain any harmful additives and consult your vet before use.

Pain relief

If your dog is in pain, consult your vet for appropriate pain relief medication. Never give them over-the-counter pain relievers without veterinary guidance.

Prevent licking

Keep your dog from licking the sunburned areas. Licking can further irritate the skin and delay healing.

Consult your vet

If your dog's sunburn is severe, blistering, or accompanied by signs of infection, consult your veterinarian promptly. They may need specialised treatment.