True or False… Dogs should wear sunscreen, too.
The ANSWER? It’s true!
Just like humans, dogs are at risk of sunburns.
Dogs are even at risk of getting skin cancer!
And sunburns can exacerbate pre-existing health conditions like autoimmune disorders and dermatitis, making them worse.
So when we head outdoors to enjoy the summer sunshine with our dogs, we need to be aware—they need sun protection, too!
How Do I Know If My Dog Needs Sunscreen?
Any dog with exposed skin would benefit from the protection of sunscreen.
Dogs who are most at risk are those with less hair, light skin, and/or white hair. These include breeds like Chinese Crested and the American Hairless Terrier. As well as Collies, Australian Sheep Dogs, Whippets, Bull Terriers, Dalmatians, French Bulldogs, Boxers, and Greyhounds to name a few.
Again, though, any dog with exposed skin is at risk.
Sunscreen should be applied to the bridge of the nose, skin around the lips, tips of the ears, groin and inner thighs.
Again, these are areas with limited protection from hair that are more exposed to the sun.
How Do I Apply Sunscreen To My Dog?
Common sense goes a long way when applying sunscreen to your dog!
• Obviously apply the sunscreen to areas with exposed skin, and
• Worry less about applying it to areas where your dog’s skin sees limited sun (like the pads of feet or areas where hair is very thick).
Follow the directions provided on the label.
Then, to start, apply a test patch to a small area of your dog’s body, to make sure your dog doesn’t have a reaction. Let the cream sit on the skin long enough to soak in, and watch your dog for any reaction (itching, burning, redness, etc.).
Rinse the sunscreen off immediately if there are issues.
After that, be sure to apply the sunscreen approximately 20 minutes before heading outdoors. And then be sure to reapply it regularly (every 4 hours) and/or after swimming.
How Do I Choose A Sunscreen For My Dog?
Sunscreen is vet recommended for dogs, however, it’s important you choose a brand that has been specially formulated for DOGS.
Your dog may be tempted to lick off the sunscreen…
… So you want to be certain you’re not exposing him to toxic ingredients!
Dog-friendly brands of sunscreen should be:
• Offer SPF protection
• Contain NO PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid)
• Contain NO zinc oxide
Some popular brands you might consider include:
Epi-Pet Sun Protector Spray For Pets
Emmy’s Best Dog Sun Skin Protector Spray
Petkin Doggy Sunmist (SPF 15)
Handy Hound SnoutScreen (SPF 30)
Other Options For Sun Protection
Some dog owners choose to avoid sunscreen entirely, opting for other forms of sun protection like bodysuits, sun hats, and sun goggles.
PlayaPup Dog Sun Protective Shirts
(Comes in a variety of colours, patterns & styles!)
QUMY Dog Goggles – Waterproof Pet Sunglasses
What If My Dog Accidentally Gets A Sunburn?
Remember that sunscreen isn’t guaranteed to protect your dog from sunburns.
Use common sense, take advantage of shade, and limit overall sun exposure on particularly hot days.
If your dog does get a minor sunburn, keep him out of the sun and apply cool compresses. Aloe vera gel can be applied to help soothe and heal your dog’s sunburn, too.
Check out Organic Aloe Vera Gel by Seven Minerals
(Best-seller on Amazon.com, from Fresh Cut Aloe Plant!)
If you suspect your dog may have a more severe sunburn, contact your vet right away. Severe burns may require cortisone treatments.
Again – keep your dog indoors or in the shade during the most intense hours of sun.