Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Written by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific car insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. She also specializes in automa...

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Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert Melanie Musson

UPDATED: Nov 17, 2020

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Nasal solar dermatitis in dogs is a condition when a dog has an abnormal reaction to sunlight on their skin.

It typically affects the end of a dog’s nose, the dog’s eyes and areas of the face.

What happens when a dog has this kind of dermatitis is that the outer tip of the dog’s nose will be affected.

Even the entire nose along the muzzle can be affected and cause an ulcer.

In severe cases, this can lead to skin cancer.

A dog’s nose will sometimes be inflamed all the way through the skin to the tissue around the eyes.

The dog’s eyelids might also be inflamed which could cause conjunctivitis.

This condition is more prevalent during the summertime when a dog is more exposed to the sun.

The dog’s skin around the nose usually peels and bleeds.

If the condition becomes extreme, epidermis is possible and even the cartilage in a dog’s nose might disappear.

Tumors can develop in more advanced cases.

While typically located on a dog’s nose, the damage from the sun can also exist on your dog’s limbs or trunk.

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Breeds That Are Most Affected

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Symptoms of Nasal Solar Dermatitis

  • The nose has ulcers
  • Bleeding
  • Eye Inflammation
  • Pink raw areas around the nose
  • Lesions on the nose
  • Possible conjunctivitis
  • Tumors in extreme cases

Related: 10 Things You Must Know Before You Buy Pet Insurance


nasal solar dermatitis in dogs

It is not known what the cause of nasal solar dermatitis is yet overexposure to sunlight certainly contributes to it.

It can sometimes be misdiagnosed as many other diseases that affect the dog’s skin around the nose.

Nasal dermatoses or diseases of the skin around the nose is different than this condition.

It is possible that the symptoms are caused by another disease.

Some of the possible diseases are the following:

  • Discoid Lupus
  • Pyoderma
  • Dermatophytosis
  • Demodicosis
  • Cutaneous lymphoma
  • Lupus or pemphigus

In these four diseases: systemic and discoid lupus, cutaneous lymphoma and pemphigus, the dog can lose the pigment around the nose, be ulcerated and/or very red.

In these three diseases: dermatophytosis, demodicosis, and pemphigus, the dog’s muzzle will lose his hair.

If the diagnosis is pemphigus or systemic lupus erythematosus, the entire muscle is usually affected with ulcers and crusting.

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Your veterinarian will complete a full physical exam and find out from you when the symptoms were first noticed.

The goal is to determine whether this is a real cause of the disease.

Usually, a vet will do the following:

  • Take scrapings of the skin
  • Get fungal cultures or bacterial cultures.
  • Perform immunology tests and biopsies histopathology

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There are various treatments which can help such as the following:

1. Corticosteroids

If nasal solar dermatitis is diagnosed, your vet might prescribe corticosteroid treatment.

This can come in the topical form in a corticosteroid lotion which aids in reducing the inflammation.

Corticosteroids are also taken orally and can help reduce inflammation.

This method is also preferable if your dog has lesions in the mouth.

Antibiotics will be prescribed if your vet thinks your dog has a secondary infection.

2. Restricting your dog’s exposure to sunlight

Most dogs with nasal solar dermatitis are asked to be kept out of the sun.

While this can be hard to do, sunscreen can also help when your dog has to go outside.

Make sure to apply a couple times each day.

Your vet can give you a recommendation of the best sunscreen that is specifically for dogs and not people.

Beta-carotene is sometimes recommended to help with the sun damage on your dog’s skin.

3. Retinoids

Retinoids, usually in the form of Vitamin A, can be taken orally and can help with the sun damage.

Side effects can occur so if this is the course of treatment, your vet will want you to come in for multiple visits to see how your dog is reacting.

4. Long-Term Treatment

The long-term management and treatment will be based on how your dog is reacting to the treatment given and the lack of sun exposure.

Tattooing, using black ink in the areas where the skin is exposed, can be an effective course of long-term treatment.

This procedure can only work if the inflammation has diminished.

Touching up the tattooed area is necessary over the long term and the ink protects against the sun.

Tattooing is the most effective in mild cases when symptoms first appear.

Follow-Up and Recovery

There will be many follow up appointments with your vet to determine if the medication or treatment is working.

The most important thing to remember for your dog’s recovery is to minimize your dog’s sun exposure.

Try to keep your dog inside when the sun is brightest and usually between 9 am and 4 pm.

There will be on-going management depending on the severity of the symptoms.

If you have a dog that is long-nosed breed, particularly German Shepherds and Collies, that are known to pre-disposed to this condition, you might consider pet insurance.

Having pet insurance will help with not only the treatment but the on-going vet visits to help minimize your costs.

And the on-going prescription medication.

If you would like to learn more about pet insurance, take a look at our guide on not only why you should insure your pet, but the top 10 best companies of 2020 you may want to consider.

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Is Exotic Pet Insurance Necessary? 

The Best Pet Insurance By State 

What Is Pet Insurance?

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5 Training Commands to Save Your Dog’s Life

The Ultimate Guide to Safe Foods for Dogs

Dog Health Problems

Dog Breeds


Cat Health Problems

Cat Breeds


We get it, your dog is like your child and when your puppy or dog has health problems it is scary. Luckily there is pet insurance companies that will help you pay for any veterinarian care they made need. Checkout the best puppy and dog pet insurance companies and learn about common puppy health issues and ailments in older pets


Common Health Problems:

Acral Lick Granuloma in Dogs

Alopecia in Dogs

Antifreeze Toxicity in Dogs

Aortic Stenosis in Dogs

Arthritis In Dogs

Bladder Stones in Dogs

Boxer Cardiomyopathy

Cataracts In Dogs

Cherry Eye in Dogs

Chronic Active Hepatitis in Dogs

Collie Eye Anomaly In Dogs

Constipation in Dogs

Cruciate Ligament Tear in Dogs

Cryptorchidism in Dogs

Cushing’s Disease in Dogs

Degenerative Myelopathy | Spinal Cord Disease In Dogs

Dementia in Dogs | Canine Cognitive Dysfunction

Demodicosis In Dogs

Dental Problems in Dogs

Diabetes In Dogs

Dog Comedones (Schnauzer Bumps)

Dog Diarrhea: What Can You Do To Help?

Dog Ear Infections

Dystocia in Dogs

Ectropion in Dogs

Elbow Dysplasia in Dogs

Entropion In Dogs

Eye Problems in Dogs

Fleas in Dogs

Gallbladder Obstruction in Dogs

Gallstones in Dogs

Gastroenteritis In Dogs

Glaucoma in Dogs

Heart Murmurs In Dogs | How To Identify Them

Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Hot Spots On Dogs

Hyperparathyroidism In Dogs

Hypothyroidism In Dogs

Intervertebral Disc Disease In Dogs

Nasal Solar Dermatitis In Dogs

Patellar Luxation in Dogs

Progressive Retinal Atrophy In Dogs

Renal Failure in Dogs

Seizures in Dogs

Wobbler Syndrome In Dogs

The Dog Flu – Symptoms & Treatment for Canine Influenza

Dog Biting Nails