Sure, we haven't had much of a summer so far, but as everyone knows it doesn't take much sun exposure to experience a nasty case of sunburn.

All you need is one sunny day, and if you forget to apply sunscreen or keep yourself shaded, you can end up looking more than a little pink.

But while sun safety is something us humans always think about in hot conditions, what about our dogs? Do we take steps to protect their skin too?

You may think that because he's covered in fur your pet has got all the protection he needs. But what about those exposed areas, like his nose and his paws?

And what if your canine companion is a short-haired breed, or his fur has been cut thinly? He's more at risk from sunburn than you might realise.

Fortunately there are steps you can take to look after him and minimise his exposure to the sun's harmful rays. To start with, don't shave his coat in summer. Just thin it out a little to keep him cool.

Secondly, try to keep him shaded as much as you can. A shady spot in the garden will make a relaxing place for him while the family spend time outdoors.

Protective clothing can be an option too. You can buy UV clothing for dogs, or cooling jackets that will cover him up and keep him cool in hot conditions when you're out and about.

Special sunscreen for dogs is also available. Apply it to vulnerable areas like his muzzle, his ears and his belly - we all know how much dogs love to stretch out on their backs.

Just don't be tempted to use human sunscreen on your pet. If his licks it off, it could be toxic to him.

Keep a close eye on your dog too. If he's panting, find some shade or take him indoors. It's his way of showing that he's too hot.

Also, bear in mind that food can cause your dog's body temperature to rise, so in the summer he may not need as much of his usual dry dog food as he does in the winter. Your vet will be able to advise you on what's best.

Written by: Hannah