Can You Use Sunscreen on Your Dog?

Dogs require sun protection, as their skin is also exposed to the damaging UV rays. You can use sunscreen on your dogs; in fact, this is highly recommended. Just like with humans, there are several types of sun screen, adjusted to the different types of dog skin. Sun burns in dogs can be serious and may damage the dog’s skin.

The Importance of Sun Protection for Dogs

Dogs, especially dogs with lighter coat skin, are sensitive when it comes to sun exposure. The sun rays are not healthy and have been related to the occurrence of skin cancer. In addition, dogs that are exposed to sun may suffer from sun burns, which can be extremely painful and can lead to ulcerations, autoimmune skin diseases and other complications.

The sun exposure is not recommended between 10 AM and 4 PM, especially during summer or winter (when there is a lot of snow and it reflects the sun). Dogs with light skin are more sensitive to sun, but darker coated dogs may also suffer from sunburn. Dogs that have longer coats are more protected against sun rays, but short haired breeds cannot benefit from this protection.

Choosing the Right Sunscreen

Sunscreen for use in canines may be of various protection factors. The protection factor you choose for your dog should be according to his coat length and the color of his coat and skin. Lighter skin colored dogs will require a high protection factor cream and so will short haired dog breeds. If your pet has long hair, but gets a haircut for the summer, you will need a higher protection factor sunscreen than before.

Talk to your vet to recommend you a sunscreen. The pharmacist can also inform you about different products and how to choose one that is suitable for your pet’s skin. There are a numerous lotions and creams available on the market, but there is also the option of having these creams made at the pharmacy, following the vet’s prescription.

Opt for fragrance free sun block, if available, to prevent any possible allergic reactions to the fragrance in the cream. Waterproof sun protection creams are more advantageous, as you won’t have to reapply whenever your dog gets into water. Don’t use human sunscreen, as this may contain zinc oxide, and this is toxic for canines.

When to Use Sunscreen

Use the canine sunscreen whenever you would wear sunscreen--when the sun is strong and especially during the warm months. Apply sunscreen whenever your dog gets outside. Even if you take the dog for a drive, remember that he may still be affected by the sun rays that penetrate through the car windows.

How to Apply Sunscreen

Apply the sunscreen by using a sponge or your hands and don’t forget the nose, belly and the genital areas which are particularly sensitive. If you have a spray, use this with caution so that it won’t get in your pet’s eyes.