That's right; pigs can get sunburned just like humans. They do
not have dense hair protecting their skin like most animals do.
They can get very bad burns from the sun if they are not properly
protected. Most people provide a wallow for their pigs, that is a
large mud hole, so that they can coat their skin with mud for
protection from harmful UV rays and cool themselves down at the
same time. Often a shade structure such as a lean-to or a barn is
left open so that the pig can go inside when it gets too hot.
Some people have gone so far, especially with show pigs, as to
slather sun screen onto their pigs when they know that they will
be out in the sun for a considerable time and they don't want
them to get dirty with mud.
There are several degrees of sunburn and sun stroke. Both are
very harmful as you probably already know.
Minor or first degree sunburn shows up as a slight redness of the
skin. The skin is often warm and tender to the touch and can even
swell a little. This type of sunburn often does not peel; it just
goes away after a few days and proper moisturization.
Second degree sunburn is more serious and painful. The skin is
very irritated and red, swollen in areas and pressure sensitive.
It often peels after a couple of days due to the top layer of
skin having been so damaged that it can not repair itself.
Sometimes a few water blisters will appear. Proper moisturization
is required (Aloe Vera gel is highly recommended) in order to
help heal the damaged area and an anti-bacterial ointment is
recommended for open sores.
Third degree sunburn is very serious and needs to be treated by a
doctor. It is much like having been burned or scalded by very hot
water and shows up the same way. Often blisters form and there
are very painful, pressure sensitive patches of red and even
black! It needs to be treated right away by a veterinarian;
otherwise bacteria can get into the wounds and cause severe
Unfortunately, there is no real cure for sunburn. The best
treatment is prevention. Using sunscreen (mud), staying in the
shade and staying hydrated are the best ways to prevent sunburn
Sunstroke often goes along with sunburn, especially the stronger
degrees of sunburn damage. The precursor to sunstroke is called
heat exhaustion. After a significant amount of time in the sun
you become dehydrated. There are many of symptoms that go along
with this including headache, vomiting, passing out, swelling of
the hands and feet, dizziness, confusion/delirium, excessive
sweating, high blood pressure, rapid pulse and respiration. The
best thing to do is to get out of the sun and slowly re-hydrate
with water, not soda pop or coffee that has caffeine. If the soda
has sugar in it but no caffeine it is okay and will help, as will
Gatorade or PowerAde. Immersion in cool water is excellent. If
that isn't available wet towels and cold compresses are advised.
Sunstroke is nothing to play with for you or you pets. You can
not muscle through it or try to tough it out. The more you stress
your body the worse it gets and you can die from it if you push
too hard. The same is of course true for pigs or any other
animal. Keep in mind that your pig could die if you don't
properly house it in a way as to provide shade and a way for it
to protect itself from the sun. Even if the weather doesn't seem
very hot, never put any animal into a yard or pen with no shade
Pigs are not the only animals that can get sunburned or suffer
sun stroke. Any animal if it has exposed areas of skin can get
just as burned. Even eyes can get sunburned, so take this
seriously and protect your animals and yourself from the sun.
Pigs as Pets -Health Care Topics
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