Protect Your Dachshund From Severe Sunburn
It’s Summertime! Warmer weather means spending a lot more time outside, going swimming, and visiting the beach. Plenty of summer heat requires a lot of sun protection, not just for you…for your doxie too!
Just like people, dogs are prone to sunburn and other sun-related medical issues. It is very important to protect your dachshund from severe sunburn.
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You can help your dachshund avoid the harmful effects of the sun by using UV protective wear, avoiding short haircuts, outdoor activities during off-peak hours, and providing plenty of shade.
Dogs Prone to Sunburn
All dogs are at risk for sunburn, but some dogs are more susceptible than others. It depends on their breed, color, and thickness of their coat.
The lighter the dog, the greater the risk!
Hairless dog breeds, like the Chinese Crested, need extra sun protection when they are outside. Dogs with thin or white colored coats like dalmatians and whippets are prone to sunburn. Any pup with white or pinkish pigment on their nose or ears need to also be protected.
As you can see from his picture, my dachshund puppy, Eko has very thin hair and light pink skin on his nose. He also has a coat of fur that is primarily white in color.
My Dachshund needs serious sun protection during the hot summer months.
The following dog breeds have a higher risk of sunburn:
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Chinese Crested
- White German Shepherd
Where Do Dog’s Get Sunburn?
Pay close attention, sunburn will most likely occur on your Dachshund’s nose, ears, around the eyes, lips, and belly.
Even if your doxie isn’t laying on his back while sunbathing, the sun’s rays can easily bounce off of the sidewalk outside or the sand at the beach. Dachshund belly hair is very thin and can burn easily. Dachshunds have a higher risk of belly burn because they are so close to the ground.
All Dachshunds love to find the warm sunny spots for a cozy nap in the afternoon. Be careful not to let them lie outside on concrete or on light surfaces for very long to avoid sunburn. A sunburn on your dog is not only painful, but it can develop into skin cancer.
Fact: Skin Cancer is the most common type of cancer in dogs. (AKC.org)
Just like humans who get too much sun, the signs of a dog’s sunburn include redness, soreness, dry and cracked skin. Sunburn on your dog’s floppy ears will show curling dry skin at the edges. Your dachshund may scratch at the itchy sunburn spot and whimper when the affected area is touched. If your dog’s sunburn is more severe, they may also develop a fever.
Sunburn & Disease
As you know, sunburn can be super painful, but it doesn’t stop there…it can also lead to more serious medical problems.
Skin Cancer: Dogs that are exposed to too much sunshine can develop skin cancers like Squamous Cell Carcinoma, Malignant Melanomas, Hemangioma, Cutaneous Lymphoma, Histiocytoma, and Mast Cell tumors. Here is How to Check Your Dog For Skin Cancer (from Rover.com).
Medical Conditions: After your dog has a sunburn, they can develop autoimmune disorders and dermatitis (itchy skin issues).
Sunburn Prevention Tips
You can lower your dog’s risk of serious sun exposure by taking certain precautions and planning ahead. There are 5 ways you can protect your dachshund from the sun.
Protect yourself and your fur-baby from painful sunburn with sunscreen. That’s right! They now have sunscreen that is formulated just for dogs.
Warning: Most human sunscreen is made with chemicals that are toxic to your dog if ingested or licked.
Sunscreen products that are free of PABA, zinc oxide, and are un-scented work best. So, just stick with the special doggie sunblock to avoid poisoning your pup. Sun lotions that are at least SPF 30 and waterproof are preferred.
Can Sunscreen Kill A Dog?
If sunscreen contains toxic chemicals (not formulated for dogs) and is ingested in large amounts, yes, it can be fatal for your dog.
Best Dog Sunscreens:
Right off the bat, I’m going to highlight the top 3 sunscreen lotions highly recommended and formulated just for dogs.
My #1 Choice: My Dog Nose It! Sun Protection Balm (from Amazon)
Pros: This Sunscreen Balm is easy to apply and is manufactured in the USA. This sunscreen balm is water resistant, paraben free, and made from all natural ingredients, so no harmful chemicals for your pup. It is a sunscreen that is also healing and moisturizing for your dog’s dry skin. It can be applied to your dog’s nose, ears and belly.
Cons: This doesn’t mention an SPF rating.
Pros: The Sit. Stay. Forever Organic Sunscreen & Moisturizer is all natural, organic, hypoallergenic, waterproof, and non-toxic! This sunscreen includes natural ingredients with the highest SPF protection. Coconut Oil (SPF 4-6), Olive Oil (SPF 2-8), Shea Butter (SPF 3-6), Red Raspberry Oil (SPF 28-50), Carrot Seed Oil (SPF 38-40), Hemp Oil (SPF 6) and Lemongrass Oil (SPF6.5). This product is made in the USA.
Cons: This is a very small container of product.
Pros: Snout Screen is non-toxic, made in the USA, and contains all natural ingredients. This sunscreen is easy to glide onto your dog. It heals and protects your dog from the sun. This product uses carrot seed oil, which is highly rated for natural sun protection of 38 SPF. They use raspberry seed as a natural sunscreen with an estimated rating of 50 SPF. It also uses natural cedar wood which acts as a mosquito and flea repellent (Bonus!)
Cons: It does not mention being waterproof. This means, if your dog goes swimming, plan on reapplying.
I did find a Sunscreen Spray, but the reviews were just OK. Spraying your dachshund’s belly with a sunscreen spray would be a whole lot easier! The Epi-Pet Sun Protector Spray is the best one I found.
How to Apply Sunscreen to Dogs
Plan ahead and apply the sunscreen 20 minutes before taking your dachshund out in the sun. Reapply the doggie sunscreen every 4-6 hours or after your dog gets wet while taking a cool dip in the pool or lake.
First, always test a small area on your dog’s skin to see if they have an allergic reaction before applying it all over. If everything looks OK, apply a thin layer of the dog sunblock to the most exposed spots on your dog. Focus on the areas with pink or light colored skin that isn’t covered by a lot of fur. You don’t have to apply sunblock to the areas with a good amount of fur.
The dachshund snout, tips of the ears, and tummy are a good place to start. Be very careful around your dog’s face and avoid your dog’s eyes (or it will sting). You can also apply the sunscreen to the armpit, groin, and inner thigh areas.
After you have applied the sunscreen on your doxie, try to keep your pup occupied for about 15 minutes to allow proper absorption and so they don’t try to immediately lick it off.
If you aren’t sure about using a sunscreen balm or spray on your dog, I recommend trying some UV blocking clothes for your dog. They are great for outdoor activities and will keep your dachshund cool and protected on those hot summer days.
If your dachshund has sensitive skin or is allergic to sunscreen, sun shirts, glasses, and hats are a nice alternative. They also help keep your dog from licking off any applied sunscreen. Doggie sun clothing will protect against UVA and UVB sun rays, are lightweight, and will dry quickly.
My dachshund, Reno, is sporting a special doggie sunhat all the way from Australia. His Aunt wanted to give him a practical gift while she was visiting the country on vacation. She believed he needed some extra sun protection. He wore the hat with no issues and it looked pretty cute too.
Dog Sun Hat
This dog hat will keep your dog cool and comfortable in the hot sun. There are several different sizes. It is handmade in the USA. This hat will help protect your dog’s eyes and provide UV protection from the sun’s harmful rays.
Dog UV Shirt
This sun shirt is so adorable, I need to get every color! It is lightweight, stylish, and protective. UPF 50+ fabrics provide ultimate sun protection by blocking 98% of UVA and UVB, wet or dry. They are even great for water activities. The special stretchy fabric is soft, comfortable, and quick-drying.
Note: Check the size chart to get the best fit for your Dachshund.
Here is cute video of little Eko sporting his new sun shirt on YouTube.
Protect your dachshund’s precious eyes this summer too. Dog goggles are flexible, waterproof, and provide protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays. They work well for your everyday stroll around the block or for a fun motorcycle ride.
We did try some dog sunglasses for our doxies, but they just wouldn’t keep them on their face. I know that some dogs have no problem with sunglasses, so here are some that are highly rated. Kailian Waterproof Anti-Ultraviolet Dog Sunglasses are a great choice for smaller dogs, like dachshunds. They offer UV/UVB protection from UV sun rays, wind, water, and debris.
Does your Dachshund have longer hair? If you are thinking about giving your long-haired doxie a super short haircut this summer, be very careful how short you go. Shorter hair won’t protect your dog from sunburn, it will reveal more skin. The longer hair acts as a nice sun barrier that is protecting them from the sun. So, yes, for the heat, give them a nice trim, but don’t take off too much of the length.
Off-Peak Outdoor Activities
Take your pup for their morning walk before the sun gets too hot and their evening walk after the sun goes down. If your pup enjoys swimming, a game of fetch outside, or going for long hikes, avoid peak time so your doxie doesn’t get too hot or sunburn.
You and Your Dog should avoid direct exposure to the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m (peak time).
One of the more “Natural” ways of protecting your pup is to find some cool shade to avoid the sun’s rays. If you are gone for the day and you have an indoor / outdoor kennel for your dog, make sure there is plenty of shade for your pup to get out of the sun.
While playing at the park, look for some cool shade under a tree or even an umbrella. At home, your patio furniture can provide some shade for your dog, just make sure to check the temperature underneath so they don’t get too hot.
Although sunscreen is very important, it isn’t 100% effective against the sun’s harmful rays. Don’t let your dog be out in the sunshine for too long. Not only is sunburn dangerous, but your doxie is also at risk for heatstroke. Make sure to have plenty of cool water and shade available at all times.
How to Treat Sunburn
Try your best to prevent sunburn by keeping your dog out of direct sunlight during the middle of the day, when it’s too hot.
If your dachshund does get a bad sunburn, they will be in a lot of pain and will need to be treated. For minor sunburns, use the following to help your pup feel better.
Cool Water Mist or Compress on the sunburn can help relieve some of the pain.
Aloe Gel (from the plant or store) can be used on minor sunburns. Just don’t let them lick it! The aloe gel is not toxic, but the latex can upset your dog’s stomach.
If your doxie’s skin is red and blistered, take them to the vet.
It isn’t worth letting your doxie be in pain, get some help. Your veterinarian can give you some medicine to prevent inflammation, treat possible infection, and help with the pain.
Let’s be more prepared this summer. You know it’s going to be a hot one, so protect your dog’s delicate skin from too much sun exposure. It’s better to prevent a sunburn than to have to deal with the painful affects of sun damage. Follow these steps to ensure your dachshund has a safe and happy summer.