When we expose ourselves to the sun, we automatically get darker skin or a tan.
But have you ever wondered if other animals, especially dogs, can get tans as well?
Well, we will answer these questions in this article, so read on to know more.
Dogs Have Melanocytes
The skin of dogs has melanocytes, which makes them sensitive to sunlight.
A chemical reaction between these cells with sunlight creates melanin, responsible for the varying colors of any dog’s skin.
Dogs with darker coats have higher pigments than thin-furred ones.
So, when outdoors under too much sunlight, their skin’s melanocytes react and produce more pigment.
So, can dogs get tan? Yes, they slightly get tans but are less visible because of their fur.
Too Much Sunlight is a No-no
It is summer, such a fine day to go swimming or get tanned.
But you cannot leave your dog behind, so you tag it along with you.
There are plenty of reasons why this can be a bad idea.
Side effects of too much heat
Dogs cannot get too exposed to sunlight, let alone get a tan.
Dogs should avoid getting under the sun often because their dark furs tend to absorb the heat.
Too much heat as we know it can cause:
- Rigorous panting
Even the light-furred dogs suffer from skin issues due to too much sunlight exposure.
They may develop:
- Skin irritation
- Skin cancer (happens mostly for dog breeds with white, light hair)
What You Should Do?
Getting tanned is harmful to your pet.
Sure, it can play outdoors. It also needs Vitamin D like humans.
But they need to avoid direct sunlight.
The natural sunlight may burn their skin, especially if they have light furs.
You need to respond quickly when your dog feels too much heat.
Dogs do not sweat.
Thus, they cannot efficiently release all the heat. In turn, they pant quickly.
In case it cannot expel all the heat completely, it accumulates internally, which will damage the dog’s cellular system.
So, upon knowing this, can dogs get tan? The short response would be an outright no.
1. As the pet owner, make sure they walk or stay in places with a good shade.
Note that there are no sunscreens designed for pets.
When you expose your dogs to direct heat outdoors, they will most likely get a sunburn.
It is as painful as sunburn feels in humans.
2. Do not leave your dog in your car and, worse, when it is parked where direct sunlight hits.
They might get suffocated by the heat.
As much as possible, place them where there is cold air or adequate ventilation.
3. Transfer your dog to a shady or cool place immediately if you can see early signs of heatstroke.
Use a wet towel to cool your dog down. Also, give it some cold and freshwater.
4. Check its temperature. Place cold towels in its armpits, stomach, and head to help cool down its body temperature. Once it is at 103.9 F, your dog should be fine.
5. You may have it under control but call a veterinarian for examination because there might be internal damage you cannot see.
Dogs and humans have almost similar skin structures that react when exposed to heat from direct sunlight.
Do not allow your dogs too much exposure nor get tanned.
You would not want to risk your pooch developing skin diseases.
Give them cold water and let them rest in areas with proper ventilation.
Compared to humans, they need more effort in expelling heat.
You should give them all the help that you can.