6 On Your Side Answers: Can dogs get sunburned?

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KNOXVILLE (WATE) – With the long summer days ahead of us, now is the perfect time for your dog to enjoy the great outdoors.

Beatrice from Knoxville asks: “Can dogs get sunburned?”

The answer is yes, dogs can get sunburned. Dogs with either short or predominantly light hair are especially at risk of becoming sunburned.

As a preventative measure, you can apply a sunscreen on your dog with an SPF of 15 or higher.

At the UT Veterinary School, we talked with Becky Smith, a medical technician.

Smith demonstrated how to apply sunscreen to her dog Mercedes’s underbelly, to tips of the ears and other places with thin fur that could expose her to the sun.

“Well there is actually pet friendly sun screen out there that you can get at your local pet store. However, you can use human sun screen that doesn’t have any tint or scent to it. Usually a 25 to 35 SPF is good for them,” she said.

Smith says dogs also need to be protected from heat related problems.

“Heat is a problem, especially in the East Tennessee summer where you have humidity and high temperatures.You want to make sure they have cover and they have shade and have plenty of water to drink,” she said.

Smith also explained the problems short-nosed dogs can have in the heat.

“Dogs, especially the brachycephalic breeds, which means they have snubbed noses or pushed in faces. They have a really hard time expelling heat when it is hot and humid outside. So, they are definitely a breed you want to make sure has cold water and plenty of shade. Also, make sure they don’t get too hot while exercising.”

All dogs can enjoy the outdoors, but knowing the related risks and how to deal with them is important so you and your dog can enjoy the summer.

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