Do Dogs Need Sunscreen?
Our furry companions may look like they’re protected from the sun’s harsh rays, but their coats don’t protect them 100% from sun damage. While canines may not need to slather on sunscreen the way humans do, it can help protect your pup from the sun’s harmful rays during the dog days of summer.
Photo by Josh Duncan
Do Dogs Really Need Sunscreen?
While not all doggos may need sunscreen for short, routine walks, sunscreen should be used for longer excursions such as beach trips and hikes. Protecting noses and ears from sun exposure prevents pain and discomfort related to sunburn later down the road.
Dogs that should be especially careful in the sun are:
- Hairless breeds
- Dogs who like to lay around outdoors on their backs
- Pink-nosed dogs
- Dogs with short or white coats
What Kind of Sunscreen Is Safe for Dogs?
Pet-safe sunscreen should not contain any parabens, mineral oil, fragrances, or nanoparticles. Because sunscreen is normally applied near sensitive areas such as the nose, ears, and mouth, it’s important to use products that are non-toxic if consumed.
Sunscreen for dogs typically comes in the form of lotion, spray, and balm. Spray may be more manageable for slightly hairier areas such as the stomach, while balms come in small, convenient tubes that are easy to take on the go.
Where Do You Apply Sunscreen on Dogs?
For the average pooch, sunscreen should be used on areas that have exposed skin–noses, ears, and the tummy (for dogs who plan on sunbathing belly-up). Hairless dogs or breeds that have portions of less hair, such as poodles, may need broader application of sunscreen to keep skin fully protected.
Follow the same instructions as you would when using sunscreen: Apply at least 30 minutes prior to sun exposure and reapply every two hours for full protection. Avoid the eyes but make sure to use sunscreen on areas like the ears, nose, and other exposed areas of your fur baby’s face.
Though sunscreen may protect against sunburn, it doesn’t keep dogs safe from overheating. Make sure to take necessary precautions on extra sunny days by offering plenty of water and never leaving your furry one in a hot car. Have an extra sensitive pooch? Use a real bark pee pad like Bark Potty for all your pup’s dog bathroom needs. Stay inside with a taste of the great outdoors to keep cool throughout the summer!