Animals Can Get Sunburn Too

 “Animals can get sunburn, just as people do, from too much sun exposure,” said Dr. Paul Calle, chief veterinarian at the Wildlife Conservation Society in the Bronx.

“Wild animals are marvelously adapted to their environment, so those in areas with lots of sunlight usually have scales, feathers or fur to protect them,” he said. “They also retreat to burrows, shady areas or water; wallow in water or mud; or spray dust or water on themselves when the sun is at its peak.”

Wild animals that are sick, injured or in distress, like stranded whales or dolphins, can develop serious sunburn because they cannot protect themselves from excessive exposure to the sun, Dr. Calle said.

Domestic animals, including dogs and cats, that have short hair, thin coats of hair or pale skin are at greater risk of sunburn, he said. Just like people, they can also develop complications like skin cancer, especially melanoma.

“For people and animals, avoiding excess exposure to high-intensity sunlight is the best prevention” for sun-related ills, Dr. Calle said.

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