Do Dogs Need Sunscreen: What You Need to Know

When the sun is shining, it's hard to resist the allure of spending time outdoors with our furry companions. As you're applying your own sunscreen, you might ask, "Does my dog need sunscreen too?" Safeguarding our canine friends from the sun is more nuanced than one might think.
In this guide, we'll explore whether dogs need sunscreen, the perils of using human sunscreen, and alternative ways to protect your dog under the sun.

Do Dogs Actually Need Sunscreen? 

The answer is yes. For example, dogs with exposed skin due to grooming, surgery, or disease removal, as well as those dogs with light-colored or thin hair, are more susceptible to sunburn. Additionally, dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors, especially during peak sun hours, may also benefit from dog sunscreen.
Cockapoo in a vibrant sun-protective shirt

The Danger of Human Sunscreen

You might ask, "Why not just use the sunscreen I use for myself?" Many human sunscreens contain an ingredient called zinc oxide. If a dog ingests this compound, which is highly likely since dogs are prone to licking their skin, it can result in a serious condition known as hemolytic anemia. Therefore, dog sunscreen, designed to be non-toxic when ingested, become a safer choice.
Cute dog in a Hawaiian shirt

How to Apply Dog Sunscreen

When it comes to applying dog sunscreen, concentrate on the areas most exposed to the sun, such as the nose, ears, around the eyes, and the belly. It's always a good idea to consult your veterinarian before introducing any new product to ensure its safety for your particular pet.
Cute dog in a sun protection shirt

Other Ways to Protect Your Dog from the Sun

While dog sunscreen can provide effective protection, it's not the sole strategy. Limiting sun exposure during peak hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), offering a shaded spot for your dog to rest, and maintaining an ample water supply can all help to prevent overheating and sunburn.
Cute dog in a stylish denim dress

Sun Protection Shirts for Dogs

Sun-protective clothing for dogs is a convenient and direct form of physical sun protection, offering an alternative to extensive sunscreen application and reducing the risk of skin allergies. These UV-resistant shirts provide lightweight and breathable coverage, ensuring your dog stays cool and comfortable while safeguarding their skin from the sun.
Dog enjoying the sun in a dog cooling vest
Now, you know the answer to the question, "Do dogs need sunscreen?" It's not a straightforward 'yes' or 'no.' While not every dog requires sunscreen, it can be a crucial preventative measure for some, particularly those with light-colored or thin hair or exposed skin.
If you decide on using dog sunscreen, ensure you choose a reputable brand and are aware of its ingredients. Alternatively, a sun-protective vest could offer an easy-to-use solution. After all, our goal is to keep our four-legged pals safe and happy in the sun!