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Break Out the Sunscreen - Sunburn in Animals


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It is a popular misconception that only people can get sunburns because, of the mammals, we have the least hair and the most exposed skin. Unfortunately for the animals of all sizes and shapes with light hair and light skin, this is not true. Animals are equally as capable of being burned by the sun as people are.

It is well known that pigs can be burned by the sun. Their tendency to lie around in the mud is a way of using nature to protect their skin from the sun.

If they do not have mud, they need sunscreen or else they will get sunburns. Despite their tough skin, pigs can still feel pain from their sunburns.
Cows, particularly light furred dairy cows, are also able to be sunburned.

This can be exacerbated by their tendency to eat young, chlorophyll filled plants. The chlorophyll in the plants makes the cow's skin more susceptible to the sun's rays as they are really experiencing a toxic reaction. Horses have some of the same problems. It is not unheard of for both of these animals to experience sunburns and sun irritation due to their diet to a degree that patches of fur fall out.  
Household pets are also capable of sunburns. This is particularly true among breeds with thin fur, light fur, or exposed noses. Because of this, the Chinese Crested needs to wear sunscreen when out in the sun.

The same is true for the Mexican Hairless. Dogs with dark fur are also able to burn their noses in the sun. For this reason, any owner planning on taking the dog out a lot during sun-filled days should probably invest in some sunscreen for the pooch's nose.

Animals with lighter fur are more susceptible to sunburns as their fur does less to keep the sun at bay. White is the weakest color for all animals. Pets that are blonde also can have a hard time.

Even animals that are white and black or some other darker color can be susceptible to sunburns. This is because underneath the white fur, they frequently have light skin. Underneath the dark fur, they will have dark skin.  
In order to prevent sunburn, do not let animals out during the hottest portion of the day.

The sun's rays are at their strongest at this point.
For more information on sunburns and other animal skin ailments, please visit .

Joseph Devine


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