Sun Allergies Average Cost

From 392 quotes ranging from $200 - 2,000

Average Cost


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What are Sun Allergies?

Dogs can get overheated just like we do, but they do not know when to stop and cool off and cannot tell you when they need a drink or to cool down. You have to be the one to make these decisions for them. With some dogs, you may notice that the sun, not just the heat, is causing your dog serious discomfort. Solar dermatitis is a commonly diagnosed problem in people, and is starting to be recognized in animals as well. This is a condition characterized by lesions or sores in areas that are exposed to the sun. For example, dogs with short-haired coats are susceptible, especially on the head, ears, face, abdomen, and flank. Although it may seem like just a simple sunburn, solar dermatitis can quickly turn into actinic keratosis, or skin cancer if exposure is not stopped.

Sun allergy (solar dermatitis) in dogs causes skin irritation in any part of the skin exposed to sunlight on a regular basis. This condition is similar to a bad sunburn in people, and can have the same damaging results (skin cancer) if not treated and protected. Dogs most often affected are those with white or light colored fur and light skin like Bull Terriers, Boxers, and Bulldogs. This condition can also cause dermal fibrosis, cysts, and bacterial infections. The signs of sun allergy are redness, sores, scales, wrinkles, bald spots, and thickened skin in spots.


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Symptoms of Sun Allergies in Dogs

Symptoms of sun allergies vary, depending on the amount of sun and the length of time your dog’s skin was exposed before the damage was treated.

  • Dry skin
  • Fibrosis
  • Folliculitis
  • Lesions, sores, ulcers
  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Crusty scaling
  • Tumors
  • Wrinkles


Some dogs are more susceptible than others, such as:

  • Over three years old
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Argentinian Mastiff (Argentine Dogo)
  • Boxer
  • Brazilian Terrier
  • Bull Terrier
  • Dalmatian
  • Great Dane
  • Pit Bull
  • Whippet

Causes of Sun Allergies in Dogs

It is the ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunlight that causes the sun allergy, which is why it mostly affects dogs with light skin and fur. Dogs with short-haired coats are  very susceptible; solar dermatitis can quickly turn into actinic keratosis, or skin cancer.

Diagnosis of Sun Allergies in Dogs

Since sun allergy presents itself similar to so many other skin disorders, it may be difficult to determine the definite cause. The most unique symptom of this disorder that makes it stand out from other ailments is that the skin damage is only on the areas that are exposed to the sun, such as the ears, nose, head, neck, back, flank, and abdomen. Be sure to let your veterinarian know if your dog spends a lot of time outdoors and provide a medical history including previous illnesses and injuries as well as abnormal behavior. Your veterinarian will examine your dog’s body from head to toe, which includes skin and coat condition, breath sounds, pulse rate, blood pressure, body temperature, weight, and height. Some of the tests needed are a urinalysis, fecal examination, blood chemistry profile, glucose levels, and a complete blood count (CBC). 

The veterinarian may also take a skin scraping to sample in order to rule out bacterial or fungal infection. Since sun damage sometimes leads to skin cancer, a skin biopsy will be taken from each of the most affected areas. This involves taking a small scraping of the skin similar to the sample taken for infections. The sample will be analyzed under a microscope to look for cancerous cells. Radiographs (x-rays) will also be done to determine if there are any internal damage or tumors. In some cases, the veterinarian will also order an MRI, CT scan, or ultrasound for a more detailed look.

Treatment of Sun Allergies in Dogs

The most important part of treatment is keeping your dog out of the sun. The veterinarian may prescribe glucocorticoids for allergies to the sun and early sun damage. Oral retinoids (a synthetic form of vitamin A) may also be recommended, but there are side effects that may occur so regular monitoring of your dog’s health will be needed. 

If the damage has already become cancerous, treatment will include surgically removing the cancer, nearby lymph nodes, and detailed testing of the nearby organs (such as the brain, liver, heart, and kidneys). Chemotherapy and radiation treatments may be necessary as well to make sure the cancer has been eradicated.

Recovery of Sun Allergies in Dogs

It is essential to stop the sun exposure as much as you can by keeping your dog inside during the day. If it is necessary for your dog to go out in the sun, a waterproof sunscreen for babies can be used, or your veterinarian may give you a recommendation. Dog t-shirts are also helpful in controlling exposure to the sun and there are many types of sun suits on the market that are specially made for dogs.

Recovery depends on whether your dog’s sun damage caused cancer and whether it is treatable or not. If the veterinarian is able to remove all of the cancer, your dog can live for another three or four years with no sun exposure. Be sure to bring your dog back in for testing at least once per year to make sure the cancer has not returned.

Sun Allergies Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

King Charles Spaniel
10 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Ear problems
Red Sores
Red Bumps

Medication Used


My dog never had this but as soon as we got a new dog we started noticing tumors and when we took her to the vet he said oh it’s seasonal allergies and then charged us $100 for a month supply of aboquel and it started getting expensive red sores that oozed she had to be allergic to something but we changed shampoo and food didn’t work and then she started getting ear infections mostly it is gone but the vet said she might have breast cancer but can’t back it up but currently she has serval tumors on her belly and our vet said to not take her outside

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Boxer Chow
5 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Chronic itching, reoccurring yeast

I am a foster of an extreme allergy dog. The apoquel, cytopoint and Ketoconazole has continually weaken her immune system. She is now reacting to the sun, a year and a half in. The vets and rescue think the only solution is more drugs, but that has brought about digestion and bladder issues/incontinence, ear infections, lethargy and an all around decline in her health. She gets a smelly neck and belly, very red, and then flakes constantly. As soon as I tried coconut oil instead of the chemical on her chest - her chest improved (it’s antimicrobial, antibacterial) and helped with her attacks more than 1.5 year on drugs and steroids. I’m at my wits end because I love this dog. I am a holistically Nutritionist and I wanted to know if probiotics may help- as she was also constantly on antibiotics. I believe all the medications are continually destroying her gut bacteria. There has to be another way but they won’t listen! Help!

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12 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Skin Lesion
Skin Crust

Medication Used

previously, antibiotics for infectn
ProSeb shampoo

Can an allergy to the sun cause histiocytoma in my dog? He is an unfixed Poodle/Schnauzer cross 20lbs and in otherwise good health... has murmur which we have been told various severity... only dog in the house... does need to have two teeth removed... eats wild salmon chick pea, with lamb, organic food... originally thought various lesions were due to a sensitivity to poultry, developed these lesions approximately the same time last year, switched his food, bathed in ProSeb shampoo once a week, took antibiotics and did ear drops on a preventative measure... cleared up and has returned this year... dog does NOT like the sun and will play outside only in the shade... If it is true, will a reset of his autoimmune system be a viable method to alleviate and heal any future and current lesions?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations
Histiocytomas are normally spontaneous tumours with an unknown underlying cause which may also resolve with time without any veterinary intervention, however some cases may require surgery especially if there is trauma or secondary infection. Treatment options are either wait and see or surgical excision but Tucker will be at risk of future regrowth. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Pit bull
2 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Redness, sores that ooze blood

I am wondering if my dog has a sun allergy. We took her to the vet and she got an allergy test done but what she is allergic to she doesnt come in contact with so that was irrelevant. I am just wondering what I would look for and how that could be diagnosed. My vet just seems to want to try every med possible on her and I cant afford this much longer.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations
If you’re suspecting a sun allergy (solar dermatitis) or any other type of allergy you should prevent any exposure; so keeping Sasha indoors for a few weeks (I know this is hard in this type of breed) to see if there is any specific improvement in symptoms or alternatively a skin biopsy may be taken for diagnosis. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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6 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Bloody discharge from wound,

My 6 year old Pomeranian Molly has alopesia on her back and other places on her body.
We recently moved down to Texas.
She has developed some type of wound to the area where she has no hair which has broken open and is oozing a thick bloody substance. The area of concern is raised like a lump.
I have been doing cold compresses and put on some neosporin which seems to have calmed her down
Could this be sun poisoning? She is only exoposed to the sun when she goes out to go to the bathroom and a very short walk.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1611 Recommendations
There are many other things that are far more common than sun poisoning that could be affecting Molly, including parasites, allergies, bacterial or fungal infections, or cancer. Without seeing her, I can't say what may be happening, but it would be a good idea to have her seen by a veterinarian to see what is causing this problem and get treatment for her.

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German Shepherd
3 Years
Moderate condition
2 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Infection on nose

Hi I own a German Shepherd, which a month before developed fungus infection on nose. While it underwent medication for it, it started licking its lip portion and bottom portion of nose so rigorously that skin layer vanished and blood came out. Now looks like he is not able to resist the irritation. Doctor suggested it's due to sun race and needs to be kept away from sun. I can share some pics if I get an email I'd for better understanding of this case. Please suggest if there is an alternative medication for this case

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations
Generally the skin changes to the nose you are describing would be caused by the sun if Rockey spent a long time outdoors, consumed a toxin which would cause skin sensitivity to UV light or an autoimmune condition like lupus. We do not take photos on the site as many times lighting, camera resolution, camera angle etc… can distort what is happening; I’ve included a link below to an article on discoid lupus with photos which may be interesting and a website which sells nose protectors for dogs. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Thanks very much Doctor for inputs. I appreciate your inputs and impressed the way you have given appropriate solution with just a written explanation of issue.

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