Do Dogs Need Sunscreen?

If we plan to go outside for long periods of time, we always put on sunscreen to avoid getting sunburned. Does the same reasoning apply to dogs as well? Or do you think that dogs don’t need sunscreen just because they already have fur?

Can Dogs Get Sunburns?

The answer is an absolute yes! Underneath all that fur, there lies a pink layer of skin that is very sensitive to prolonged sun exposure. Since sunlight can penetrate that thick furry layer, your dog’s skin is highly susceptible to sunburns.

If your dog is regularly exposed to the sun for long periods of time, his skin will become inflamed and very hot to the touch. If left untreated, your dog will start to either scratch or lick this inflamed patch of skin, which can lead to open wounds and sores.

Can I Apply the Sunscreen That I Use on My Dog?

Due to the fact that dogs have more sensitive skin than humans, it is not a good idea to use the same sunscreen that you use on your dog. Due to the thinner top layer, your dog’s skin will probably react negatively to the sunscreen products that you use, and I wouldn’t recommend testing your products on your dog’s skin due to several reasons.

First, your dog’s skin might react negatively to the chemicals that are in your sunscreen, and the moment that you try to apply them, your dog will immediately try to lick them off, which leads me to my second point. For sunscreen that we use, the ingredients inside our sunscreen might be toxic for dogs, which can lead to the ingestion of harmful chemicals.

To avoid these side effects, various veterinarians and dermatologists have come together to create sunscreens that are made especially for dogs. Similar to what we use, there are two types of sunscreen that we can apply to our dogs, and they are sunscreen spray and sunscreen balm.

Does My Dog Really Need Sunscreen?

Common Health Risks for Prolonged Sun Exposure

Because your dog’s skin acts similar to our very own, you need to put sunscreen on your dog if you are planning to stay outside for long periods of time. To see this situation in a serious light, let’s assume that you didn’t know that dogs need sunscreen.

Due to his sensitive skin, your dog will get sunburned on a regular basis by playing outside in the sun, and getting sunburned on a regular basis can lead to more serious problems such as skin cancer.

Since we already know this fact, we tend to generously apply sunscreen on our skin if we plan to spend a long day on the beach. Just keep in mind to take care of your furry friend too by putting sunscreen on your dog.

How to Apply Sunscreen on Your Dog

Since we all know that putting sunscreen on your dog is a necessity, let’s cover some basic steps on how to do this correctly. First, make sure that you have sunscreen made especially for dogs. You are not off the hook yet!

After acquiring the necessary sunscreen, don’t just apply it to your dog straight away. Apply it in small amounts at first. After waiting for a few minutes, try to see if there are any negative reactions on the skin spots that you have applied the sunscreen.

If there are no negative side effects, generously apply sunscreen to your dog and pay special attention to your dog’s back, belly, and face.

Dog Breeds That Have More Sensitive Skin

Even though dogs naturally have more sensitive skin than humans, you might be surprised to realize that some breeds are more sensitive to the sun than others. For example, if you own short-coated dogs or even hairless dogs, try to avoid exposing your dog to the sun for prolonged periods of time.

If you really have to stay outside for long periods of time, try to apply sunscreen before going outside, and also apply sunscreen throughout the day when the sunscreen effects start to wear off.

If you see any problems with your dog’s skin, it will probably come in the form of dark spots. These dark spots can happen due to a variety of reasons, but they tend to appear by using wrong types of shampoo and by not applying sunscreen.

Conclusion: Alternatives to Sunscreen

If you want to eliminate the need of applying sunscreen, there are other options that you can explore. If you want your dog to be the star of the show, putting on sun protection clothing might not be a bad start.

If you want to go the extra mile, getting caps and sun goggles for your dog might not be a bad idea. For people who want to do it the natural way, keep in mind to avoid the hottest part of the day and also avoid walking your dog on asphalt or concrete on a sunny day.

Make sure to provide fresh water to your dog’s water bowl at all times, and try to put your dog under a shade if you have to go outside. As always, thanks for reading, and if you want more information similar to this post, check out the Dog Health Category.