Do Dogs Need Sunscreen Too?

Almost every one of us has our favorite brand of sunscreen. It helps protect us from the harsh UV rays of the sun and helps prevent sunburn and other skin diseases associated with excessive sun exposure. But is it safe for our furry friends? Do dogs need sunscreen just like humans do?

The answer is a simple yes. It may come as a surprise, but yes they still need sun protection even with their fur.

Just like us, dogs are also prone to sunburns. They can also acquire diseases associated with excessive sun exposure. If you love your dogs (which I know you definitely do!), making necessary precautions is the best way to make sure their risk of developing such medical problems are lessened.

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Sun Risks and Symptoms

When your dog is often exposed to the heat of the sun, then he is definitely at risk of getting sunburned. Sunburns are not only painful but can also lead skin conditions like dermatitis and autoimmune disorder. Worst case scenario, your dog can have serious medical issues such as skin cancer.

There are dogs that are more prone to sunburns. Some of which are the following:

  • hairless dog breeds such as Chinese Crested, Xoloitzcuintli, and the American Hairless Terrier.
  • dogs with light-pigmented  eyelids and noses
  • dogs with thin coats
  • dogs who love sunbathing
  • dogs who love spending most of their time outdoors
  • dogs suffering from hair loss
  • dogs with allergies
  • dogs coping with hormonal changes
  • dogs undergoing chemotherapy
  • dogs with white and short hair

While sunscreens can help protect your dogs from sunburns, it is important to note that one should only use sunscreen made specifically for dogs. Not all sunscreens are created equal, so make sure to use one intended for man’s best friend.

Safety Tips and Prevention Against Sunburns

  • choose a sunscreen specifically designed for dogs
  • do test the sunscreen on a small area  before using it all over to make sure your dog is not allergic to it
  • dog hair doesn’t need sunscreen so only apply on exposed areas
  • make sure your dog’s sunscreen has no zinc oxide as this can be toxic to dogs when ingested
  • don’t shave your long-haired furry friend, and use an undercoat rake instead to get rid of dead and shedding hair
  • apply sunscreen on your dog 30 minutes before going out in the sun
  • make sure you doesn’t lick and eat the sunscreen
  • avoid sunscreen from getting into your dog’s eyes
  • give your dog a nice shade whenever she’s outside
  • if your dog is allergic to sunscreens or you prefer not to use one on your furry friend, you can use protective clothing like sun-shirts as an alternative
  • ask your dog’s vet for more professional advice

If you notice that your dog is having an allergic reaction to sunscreen or has acquired sunburns, better let your trusted vet for expert advice.

Remember, when out in the sun all day with your favorite canine buddy, make both of you are protected from the heat of the sun. Use sunscreen or other sun protection alternatives. Also, hydration is key so make sure both of you have access to clean and fresh water.


American Kennel Club, Cesar’s Way, Pet MD  

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