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Do Dogs Need Sunscreen? Soaking up late summer sunshine while enjoying your time outdoors is something many people crave. Dogs also love to get outside with us on hikes, beach visits, walks to the park, and other outdoor activities they can safely participate in. 

Warm weather fun comes with the risk of sunburn and other complications when you don’t protect your skin. But, do dogs really need sunscreen, and what kind is safe for them?

Which Kind of Dogs Need Sunscreen?

If your dog loves to layabout in the sunny spots around the house (like most canines), one of the significant risks is sunburn. Just like us, dog skin is susceptible to burns, blistering, and other complications from too much exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

Never use sunscreen for humans because it contains toxic chemicals, zinc oxide, para-aminobenzoic acid, or PABA. 

Common Dog Sunscreen

There are certain dog breeds more at risk of becoming sun burned than others. Hairless dogs or dogs with short fur, light-colored dogs, and those who already have medical conditions may need the protection provided by canine . 

These Dogs Need Sunscreen

  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Boxer
  • Chinese Crested
  • Dalmatian
  • Greyhound
  • Weimaraner
  • Whippet
  • White German Shepherd

Dogs who spend a fair amount of time in the sun have a higher risk of developing skin cancer. That’s why sun protection is so important for sporting dogs and those that trail run with you. 

Applying Sunscreen to Your Pup

There’s no need to slather on a ton of product; take your dog’s sunblock and apply it only to bald spots, with attention to the torso, inside of thighs, around the mouth, tips of the ears, and groin. Distract your dog with treats filled with peanut butter and then wait 20 minutes. This allows the sunscreen time to set up and be absorbed.

Supervise your pet when you’re using sunscreen and discourage them from licking it off. If you go swimming with your pet, remember to reapply the sunscreen after you towel off.

Other Ways to Protect Your Pup from the Sun

Along with your pet’s sunblock, there are other ways to protect the skin when out and about.

  1. Take plenty of shade with you if there aren’t any shade trees around. Use a big umbrella or portable sail-type shades
  2. Dehydration is a significant risk to pets who play outdoors in the summer, making sure to bring fresh water and a traveling bowl
  3. Some pets can wear sun protection clothing designed to keep the body cool, wicking away moisture and heat from the skin and providing UV protection
  4. Doggles are a type of sunglasses or goggles for dogs who have light and/or sensitive eyes
  5. Limit your outdoor time to the cooler hours, such as before 9 am or after 6pm

More Questions About Dogs?

If you have questions about training your dog, fill out our quick form, and we’ll get right back to you.