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Safe Sun Week: Protecting Your Dog in the Summer Sun

Summer is here, and that means longer days, warmer weather, and plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors with our furry friends. However, as we soak up the sun, it's crucial to remember that our dogs need protection from the sun's rays just as much as we do. Welcome to Safe Sun Week, a time to raise awareness about the importance of sun safety for our canine companions.

Why Sun Protection is Important for Dogs

Just like humans, dogs can suffer from the harmful effects of the sun. Prolonged exposure to UV rays can lead to sunburn, dehydration, heatstroke, and even skin cancer. Certain breeds, particularly those with short hair, light-coloured coats, or hairless varieties, are more susceptible to sun damage. Puppies, senior dogs, and those with pre-existing health conditions are also at greater risk.

Signs of Sunburn and Heatstroke in Dogs

It's essential to recognise the signs of sunburn and heatstroke in dogs to act quickly and prevent serious health issues.

Signs of Sunburn:

  • Red, inflamed skin
  • Dry, cracked, or peeling skin
  • Whimpering or discomfort when touched
  • Blisters or sores

Signs of Heatstroke:

  • Excessive panting or drooling
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Weakness or collapse
  • Bright red gums and tongue

If you notice any of these symptoms, move your dog to a cooler area, provide fresh water, and contact your veterinarian immediately.

Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe in the Sun

1. Provide Plenty of Water and Shade

Ensure your dog has access to fresh, cool water at all times. When outdoors, create shaded areas with umbrellas, tents, or trees where your dog can escape the direct sunlight.

2. Avoid Peak Sun Hours

The sun's rays are strongest between 10 AM and 4 PM. Schedule walks and outdoor playtime for early morning or late evening when the temperatures are cooler and the UV index is lower.

3. Use Pet-Safe Sunscreen

Apply pet-safe sunscreen to areas most vulnerable to sunburn, such as the nose, ears, belly, and any areas with thin fur. Avoid using human sunscreen, as it can contain ingredients harmful to dogs.

4. Invest in Protective Gear

Consider outfitting your dog with protective gear like lightweight, UV-protective clothing and hats. These can help shield your dog's skin from the sun's harmful rays.

5. Be Mindful of Hot Surfaces

Asphalt, sand, and concrete can become scorching hot in the sun, burning your dog's paw pads. Test surfaces with your hand; if it's too hot for you, it's too hot for your dog. Stick to grassy areas or use dog booties to protect their paws.

6. Never Leave Your Dog in a Parked Car

Even with the windows cracked, the temperature inside a parked car can rise rapidly, leading to heatstroke or even death. If you need to run errands, leave your dog at home where it's cool and safe.

7. Regular Grooming

Keep your dog's coat well-groomed to help regulate their body temperature. However, avoid shaving your dog down to the skin, as their fur provides some protection against the sun.

8. Monitor for Signs of Overheating

Keep a close eye on your dog for any signs of discomfort or overheating. If your dog starts panting heavily, becomes lethargic, or shows any signs of heat stress, take immediate action to cool them down.


Safe Sun Week is a reminder of the importance of protecting our beloved pets from the dangers of the sun. By taking simple precautions, we can ensure that our dogs enjoy the summer safely and comfortably. From providing ample shade and water to using pet-safe sunscreen and protective gear, there are many ways to keep our furry friends safe from the sun's harmful effects. Let's make this summer a happy and healthy one for our dogs by prioritising their sun safety.

Stay safe, stay cool, and have a fantastic Safe Sun Week with your four-legged friends!


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