Good Question: Do Animals Get Sunburn?

By: Jeff Herndon Email
By: Jeff Herndon Email

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tonight on Good Question, it sounds silly, but do animals who spend a lifetime outside suffer sunburn?

Good question.

Memorial Day weekend, hitting the lake to kick off the summer season, of course, some of you will kick it off with a nasty sunburn. Damage from UV-B rays can lead to serious consequences, like skin cancer. Thankfully, if you like outdoor fun under the blazing sun, there is sunscreen.

But what about animals? Can they have sunburn?

Actually, they can and do get sunburn. Animals with very little hair, like pigs, hippos, and rhinos, are at high risk. To protect themselves, they use nature’s sunscreen, like mud and dust. Shorthair cats and dogs are at risk. Whales and dolphins can even suffer sunburn, and, just like humans, it can lead to complications, such as skin cancer. That’s why providing shade for your outdoor pets is so important. Its purpose is much more than just keeping the animals cool in the summer.

As for animals in the wild, they seem to know that too much sun is a bad thing. It might be wise to take a cue from Mother Nature this weekend. Don’t forget the sunscreen.

If you have a good question, send it to me at or find me on twitter at I’ll answer your good question every Thursday on KAKE News at 10.

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