Did you know that dogs and cats can get sunburned, just like humans do? Some breeds of dogs and cats, such as hairless ones, are more predisposed than others. Sunburn in pets can lead to more serious conditions, so it’s important to protect your pet from too much sun exposure. At Anasazi Animal Clinic, our routine wellness exams can help you determine whether your pet needs extra protection from the sun. 

Can my cat get sunburned?

Hairless cats and breeds with sparse hair are more prone to sunburn, but sun exposure can affect any kind of cat. If your feline loves to sunbathe, they could get sunburned or develop other skin conditions. Too much sun can result in solar dermatitis, which usually appears on the face and ears in the form of red or scaly skin. If it goes untreated, scabs and ulcers will begin to form. 

Solar dermatitis is a progressive skin disease that can lead to squamous cell carcinoma, a skin cancer that presents as malignant tumors. If you notice your cat constantly scratching at the affected areas or shaking their head, schedule a veterinary examination right away. 

Can my dog get sunburned?

Light colored and hairless dogs have the highest risk of sunburns. Protective clothing like hats, goggles, or shirts can help shield their skin from the sun. Besides a sunburn, dogs that get too much sun exposure can also get heatstroke or severe dehydration. Signs of heatstroke in dogs include panting, difficulty moving, drooling, red gums, vomiting, diarrhea, and collapse. 

Treatment for Sunburn in Pets

If your dog or cat is experiencing symptoms of sunburn like red, flaky skin, please keep them out of the sun. Ointments and coolants can help relieve irritation, but if their symptoms persist, you should consult a vet. Anasazi Animal Clinic can treat severe sunburn in pets with antibiotic treatments to prevent inflammation. If your pet is suffering from excess sun exposure, contact us to schedule a consultation.

Photo by Isabela Kronemberger on Unsplash