If people don’t cover up with clothing, a hat, or sunscreen, they can get a bad sunburn. Most of the time this quickly heals, but over time can cause aging issues, or worse, cancer. We also value our dogs as family members.
If it’s been unexpectedly hot in your city over the past year or so, you may also be concerned that your Golden Retriever could experience a sunburn. If he or she does, how can you tell? And if so, can you do anything about it?
- What Happens During a Sunburn?
- Can My Dog Become Sunburned?
- How Can I Tell If My Golden Retriever Is Sunburned?
- What Do I Do If My Dog Has a Bad Sunburn?
- What Treatment Options Are Available?
- What Do I Do If I Don’t Seek Treatment for My Dog?
- How Can I Prevent Future Golden Retriever Sunburns?
- How Long Will a Dog Sunburn Heal?
What Happens During a Sunburn?
The skin is the body’s largest organ, no matter whether you’re a human or a dog. Excessive exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun can lead to redness, pain, and the skin feeling hot to the touch. Your dog can suffer damage to the skin even on a day when it appears to be cloudy and cool.
Can My Dog Become Sunburned?
Yes, whether you have a small poodle, or a golden retriever, your dog can suffer from a sunburn. This can happen even if it hasn’t happened before. Sunburn is more common in dogs without hair, as well as short-haired dogs. It’s also common in dogs that are white or light-haired.
But all dogs can suffer from sunburn from outdoor exposure the sun. Some of the regions of a dog that are more susceptible, no matter the breed, include the nose, ears, and mouth, as well as the eyelids, and the belly regions.
How Can I Tell If My Golden Retriever Is Sunburned?
You may be wondering if there are any differences between sunburn in a dog or a human. Basically, no. But a dog can’t tell you that their skin is burning or that it hurts.
If you’re back at home from a walk in the sun, it’s important to take a good look at your dog to do a visual inspection. Paws can be susceptible to hot sidewalks and concrete.
Check their entire body for redness or blistering. They may have dry and cracked skin from over time. If your dog howls or reacts when you touch their ears, nose, or other susceptible regions, then it can also indicate a burn. The burn may not even materialize for a day or so.
If your dog has had a previous sunburn or injury, they may be more susceptible to sunburns in that special region that has scar tissue.
What Do I Do If My Dog Has a Bad Sunburn?
If it appears that your dog is badly sunburned, first, give them a small bowl of water to drink so they can rehydrate. Then apply some cold compresses to the regions that are burned. This is to stop the heat from further burning the skin, until you can get them to the vet clinic.
If you believe your dog has been badly sunburned, they will need treatment at the vet clinic. Rather than trying to treat your dog will ointments or lotions that may be toxic to them or your other pets, it’s better to bring your dog to the vet. For example, you do not want to put aloe vera gel onto your dog, as it’s toxic to both cats and dogs, being from the lily family.
Your vet will also confirm that your dog is suffering from a sunburn and not a fungal infection or other skin disorder. They will prescribe treatment to help your golden retriever’s sunburn to heal quickly.
What Treatment Options Are Available?
Treatment options will depend on the severity level of the sunburn. If your pet is dehydrated, intravenous fluids will be given. Cold compresses may be directly applied to reduce the pain.
Special ointments will be prescribed, some of which may be antibacterial or antifungal, in order to prevent future skin infections from occurring. Your dog may also be given pain relievers to help make them feel better. You’ll get medication to bring home with you to help treat your pet too.
What Do I Do If I Don’t Seek Treatment for My Dog?
Small sunburns will heal on their own. Larger sunburns that are left untreated will not only make your dog grumpy, they’ll also be suffering. And these sunburns can pick up bacteria and get skin infections that will make the condition much worse. It’s important to get your family member treated as soon as possible!
How Can I Prevent Future Golden Retriever Sunburns?
You’ll want to find out when the sun’s rays will be brightest in the skies. Plan to take your dog outside for their exercise at times when it’s not as hot during the day.
You can also buy special clothing and costumes for your dog that will help protect them from the sun. If there is a park in the area where there are trees, you can walk your dog in the shade, instead of the bright sunlight. You can also buy dog-safe sunscreen, to rub onto their most sensitive regions where a sunburn can occur.
You can take an umbrella to use as a sunshade when you walk down the street. Instead of planning to be outside for three hours, make your outdoor visits more frequent, but of shorter duration.
How Long Will a Dog Sunburn Heal?
It depends on the severity of the sunburn, but on average, it will take about one week for your dog’s sunburn to heal up. If it’s more serious, it could be up to two weeks. You’ll want to continue treatment during this time, so your dog experiences some relief while the skin condition heals.
Sunburns are never fun, but your dog doesn’t understand and can be in distress. Often the only way to treat a sunburn is to bring your dog to the vet clinic so that you can get the right prescription medication, orally or topically.
Soon your dog will be on the road to recovery, and you’ll both be more cautious about wearing sunscreen and the proper protective clothing when you do go out into the heat in the future!