What is the Best Dog Sunscreen?

Dog sunscreen is not a fad. In fact, dog’s sensitive skin is susceptible to sunburn and tumors, especially the skin in the inguinal area. The inguinal area is the area located near the groin between the backs of the legs. This area is more likely to be exposed to the sun during extended periods of play or while dogs are sunbathing.

Dogs with the greatest risk of sunburn or sun-induced tumors are ones that have been shaved and pets that are pale or white-nosed. For white-nosed pets, the chances of developing tumors on the nose are greater than their darker counterparts.

Best Dog Sunscreens

Dog sunscreens are readily available at most pet stores. These sunscreens are perfect for pet owners because they take the guesswork out of choosing the safest sunscreens for dogs. Sunscreens sold in pet stores do not contain zinc oxide.

Zinc oxide is a mineral used in creams and ointments to help prevent and treat minor skin burns. This mineral is also used paint, paper coating, rubber goods, and cosmetics.

If ingested, zinc oxide can be toxic to your pet. As pets often do, licking the areas treated with zinc oxide containing sunscreen can cause:

  • anemia
  • nausea
  • cough
  • yellow eyes
  • mouth and throat irritation
  • diarrhea
  • stomach pain
  • vomiting
  • chills
  • fever

Top pet sunscreens made by Doggles, NutriVet, and Vet’s Best are zinc oxide free. They are also made with all natural, non-toxic ingredients such as aloe and willowherb. Doggles, NutriVet, and Vet’s Best are available online or at your local pet store.

Dog Sunscreens vs Human Sunscreens

It is safe to use human sunscreens on pets, but you must read the labels carefully to make sure the sunscreen does not contain zinc oxide. This makes purchasing a sunscreen for dogs difficult when strolling the sunscreen aisles in drugstores and grocery stores. Human sunscreens provide the same level of protection as dog sunscreens, and they cost around the same as well.

Most vets recommend using an SPF higher than 15 depending on the level of sun exposure, and the pigment of the skin, fur and nose. Lighter skin, fur, and nose will require a higher SPF, and darker skin, fur, and nose may use a minimum SPF 15. Additionally, if your pet prefers to sunbathe or lie on his back, you should consider using an SPF higher than 15. 

Other vet recommended dog sunscreens include baby sunscreens and sunscreens for sensitive skin. These sunscreens are less likely to contain zinc oxide and they are gentler on dog’s skin.

Applying Dog Sunscreen

Dog sunscreen must be applied to sensitive areas of the skin such as under the belly, the inguinal area, and on the nose. For shaved dogs, please apply sunscreen all over. Dog sunscreen must be applied every 4 to 6 hours. Dog sunscreen typically comes ready to use in a spray bottle, so coverage and quick application should be easy.