A pup rolling around in the grass

Believe it or not, dog sunscreen is available for use on pets who spend time outdoors. It protects them from sunburn as well as reduces the risk of certain skin cancers. Like us, our dogs are susceptible to the effects of long hours under the UV rays. Not only can the intense summer sun cause skin damage, it can also lead to heatstroke and other heat related problems. 

Through the use of dog sunscreen, you can keep your pet’s skin in good health. The Pet Experts at Elmhurst Animal Care Center are here to tell you all about some great options in sun protection for our furry family members.

Dog Sunscreen is a Go!

In most cases, dogs do need to have additional protection when outdoors. Even if your pet is very furry or has dark hair, there are areas of the body that remain exposed, such as the bridge of the nose. 

Dogs that are hairless, such as the Chinese Crested, definitely need sun protection, as well as light-haired dogs and those with short fur. But any dog can benefit from sunscreen.

Here Comes the Sun

Most sun loving dogs love to bask under the sky, soaking up the warm. This is a nice way you can get your fur friend outdoors for exercise and activities. But keep in mind that your pup’s pink nose, tips of their ears, and other sensitive spots are vulnerable to sunburn.

So, before you go outdoors with your dog for the day, prepare for the rays by:

  1. Finding a good quality dog sunscreen. Never use human sunscreen your dog! These products often contain zinc oxide and other ingredients that are toxic to dogs when ingested. Since your dog naturally licks their skin, it can be a poison hazard. So, find the right pet safe lotion for your dog.
  2. Bring plenty of water and shade. While playing outdoors, your pet can easily become overheated and dehydrated. Keep that from happening by bringing a collapsible or plastic bowl for water and as much water (plus some) that your pet needs. Will there be shade where you are going? If not, bring a big umbrella for the outdoors or some form of shade to protect your pet from the UV and heat.
  3. Consider other options in keeping your pet cool. There are numerous sun shirts and vests for dogs online and at retail stores. Some of these are  designed to have a SPF index as well as naturally cool your pet during use. If you can’t find these, a light, loose shirt can also be useful. Fitted sun hats and goggles are great for pets who have sensitive eyes. 
  4. Don’t shave your dog, but do keep them groomed. Many dog owners make the mistake of shaving their dog in an effort to keep them cool. Actually, the fur itself is designed to wick away heat from the skin, almost like a cooler, and protect it from the harsh sun. Instead, just keep your pet well groomed and trimmed, which is especially needed after spending time outside.

How to Apply Sunscreen to Pets

You don’t need to douse your pet in dog sunscreen to keep them safe. There are specific areas that are exposed you need to focus on. Use your pet sunblock and put it on the bridge of your pet’s nose, tips of the ears, around the lips, under the legs and groin, the belly, and any other area where the fur is missing or short. 

After applying, give your dog a Kong toy or something to play with to keep them from licking the sunscreen off. Distract your dog for about 15 minutes before heading out, giving the sunscreen the chance to absorb. If your pet swims, reapply when they get out of the water.

Other Questions?

We hope this overview of the benefits of using dog sunscreen gives you a better understanding and prompts you to protect your pet’s skin. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact us