A dog dad wears a black tank top and a gray backwards hat while sitting in a picnic chair next to a blue lake. He is holding his dogs face and three green bags of Get Joy's dog food is displayed.

Dogs Can Get Sunburned – Here’s What You Need to Know

It might be surprising given that they are covered in fur, but dogs can get sunburns too! With summer ramping up and lots of outside fun to be had, your dog will likely be spending a lot of time in the sun's rays. So, here are some tips to make sure your dog is protected for all your summer adventures!

Risk Factors to Know

Short Hair

Longer hair covers more of the skin, so it can be a better protective barrier than short fur. The shorter the fur, the more likely sunlight is to penetrate to the skin. This is especially true on the top of the head where even dogs with long hair tend to have thinner fur.

Light Colored Hair or Skin

White or blonde dogs, just like a person with pale skin, will be more likely to get sunburnt. In addition, different dogs have different skin pigments underneath their fur. Some dogs tend to have darker, brownish skin while others may be pink or flesh-colored. If your dog is lighter in “complexion,” you should consider protecting them.

Active Outdoor Lifestyle

It goes without saying that the more sun exposure your dog has, the more likely it is that a sunburn will occur. If your dog is the kind of pet who loves basking on a bright day or going out with you on a boat or for a picnic, be mindful of how their skin will fare in the weather conditions and plan accordingly.

Tips for Prevention


Yes, sunscreen for dogs does exist! Though you may have a hard time convincing your canine companion to let you slather them with lotion, this is a great way to get reliable, full-body protection.

You might also try a spray-on variety like K-9 Care for easier application. Be sure to use it generously and thoroughly on their ears and nose at least 15 minutes before going outside.

Protective Gear

If sunscreen doesn’t seem like a good option for preventing sunburn on your dog, there are also many protective accessories on the market. This includes sun shirts, bandanas, and hats with UPF (Ultraviolet Protective Factor) built-in.


One of the simplest solutions to preventing dog sunburn is to simply make sure that wherever your outdoor adventures take you, your dog has access to a shady spot. This could look like setting up a picnic next to a big tree or bringing an umbrella or shade tent to your beach day.

Get Joy Has What You Need

Unsurprisingly, your dog may not like having sunscreen put on or wearing protective clothing. However, some delicious treats may pave the way for a more seamless transition into these summer safety routines.

Check out Get Joy’s delicious dog treats, or feel free to ask a vet about protecting your dog with our virtual vet services. We’re here to help!