Dogs can definitely get sunburned, especially if their hair is cut short or they have a lot of white hair.
If your Morkie’s coat is cut too short, he’s vulnerable and defenceless against insect bites and scrapes and cuts. And, puppies and dogs with a thin or clipped coat are targets for the sun’s deadly rays.
A sunburn is painful for your Morkie and can cause stomach upset and fever. And a sunburn means increased risk of skin cancer, so it’s something to take seriously.
Here’s where your Morkie can get seriously sunburned:
- ears, especially the tips
- around the lips
- top of his head
- anywhere where the coat is a bit thin
DID YOU KNOW?
Medical claims data from pet insurance, shows that as pets spend more time outside in warm weather, they are more likely to be injured, suffer from heat stroke or be affected by a number of other ailments.
Sunscreen for dogs?
Yes! There are special pet-quality sunscreen lotions on the market. Or you can use basic sunscreens made for babies. Just make sure they do not contain zinc oxide or PABA, which is poisonous if licked off.
And don’t forget a good snout soother or conditioner in this hot weather.
Sun protection dog clothes
This is pretty smart: loose clothes for your dog made with super light material, specially treated to block ultraviolet rays. These materials get a UPF rating – Ultraviolet Protection Factor, based on how well they block rays.
Anything UPF 30 or more is great.
Amazon has a range of UPF clothes for your Morkie, and most are quite inexpensive – $8 or $9 and up.
Or for better quality sun blocking clothes
Visit a site like Baxter Boos, which features the Zack and Zoey line of sun protection clothing for dogs.
Protect your Morkie’s eyes (if she’ll let you)
Eyes are a common target of canine melanoma. So experts recommend that you try to get your dog to wear doggy sunglasses. Products like the popular Doggles can block bright sunlight and ultraviolet rays. But the trick is convincing your Morkie to wear them. I haven’t had much luck, but then I haven’t really pressed it. I’d suggest that if you are a boater, it’s really important to persevere… light coming off the water is particularly bright.
- stop your dog from pawing at the lenses
- speak softly with lots of positive reinforcement
- keep the try-on sessions short until he’s used to the feeling
Treating dog sunburn
How serious is your Morkie’s sunburn?
MILD – exposed areas will be red and tender.
SERIOUS – if the edges of your dog’s ears are dry, cracked, or curling, the burn is serious. Other signs of serious burn that need medical help right away: hair loss, blisters, your dog seems in pain. (A dog’s skin doesn’t necessarily blister when it’s badly burned. So don’t wait for that symptom to get medical help.)
If the burn is mild, you can treat it yourself:
- be sure your Morkie is hydrated – provide lots of fresh water
- for immediate relief, but not necessarily treatment, you can lower your Morkie into a cool but not cold bath. Or gently press a cold, wet cloth on the burned areas.
- apply a people-grade topical spray such as Solarcaine or Lanacane. Their local anesthetic can help reduce pain. Just be sure that your Morkie doesn’t lick it off.
Some natural D-I-Y sunburn treatments
- applying aloe vera gel to the burned areas. If you have an aloe plant, just break off a leaf and squeeze out the gel. Spread the gel on your dog’s sunburned sore spots. Or buy an aloe cream and use as instructed on the label. Discourage your Morkie from licking the aloe vera, since it’s poisonous if eaten.
- try a soothing body butter like Shea Butter
- apply Witch Hazel with a cotton ball several times a day. Witch Hazel is a natural astringent with antiseptic properties. It harkens back to something our grandmothers used on every member of the household. Witch Hazel can cool down burned, inflamed skin without the sting of alcohol. You’ll find it at most drugstores.
- make an oatmeal soak for your Morkie. Just fill an old sock with uncooked oatmeal, and hold it under the tap as you fill a small bath for your dog. Encourage him to soak in this solution for as long as possible.
Where there’s sunburn, heat stroke can follow
Do you know the signs of heat stroke in dogs? They include:
- heavy panting
- vomiting and diarrhea
- extremely red eyes and tongue
If you see any of these signs, get your Morkie cooled down as quickly as possible and to an emergency Vet. Heatstroke is bad for any dog, but in small dogs it quickly become fatal!
As you’re cooling him down with cool damp towels or a cool bath, get to your Vet’s or find an emergency clinic. Once there, the Vet will take your Morkie’s temperature and plan treatment.