With all the time we spend outside with our pooches, you might be wondering to yourself Does my dog need sunscreen? The answer is yes, probably. Here’s your guide on sun protection for dogs. And remember: Only use sunblock that is specifically made for dogs!
Why Should I Put Sunscreen on My Dog?
Applying sunscreen to your dog is a quick and easy way to help keep them from burning in the sun. It also helps prevent a number of skin cancers. These cancers include malignant melanomas, hemangiosarcomas, squamous cell carcinoma and hemangiomas.
Is My Dog at Risk?
Similar to how fair skin in humans is more likely to burn, the same is true of our fair-furred pups. Dogs with light skin, short fur or hair and white fur or hair are more prone to getting scorched in the sun. So just like how people need to slather themselves in sunblock, our dogs need to do the same when they spend time in the sun. That being said, it never hurts to be extra cautious. You should even put sunscreen on your pooch if they have dark skin or fur and are about to spend a lot of time outside on a sunny day.
When Should I Put Sunscreen on My Dog?
Again, the same rules that apply to humans also apply to dogs. You need to put sunscreen on your dog when they are going to spend a large amount of time outside or it’s particularly sunny out. This is especially true during peak sun exposure hours — 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Those hours are when the sun’s rays are strongest and most likely to burn skin. You should also reapply sunblock every few hours or after your dog has sweat profusely or gone swimming.
Where Does My Dog Need Sunscreen?
Sunscreen needs to be put on areas of your dog that are considered sun-sensitive. These areas tend to have less fur or no fur at all. Here’s a good checklist:
- Ear tips
- Around the lips
When applying the sunblock, make sure it doesn’t get into your poor dog’s eyes. That stuff stings! You also might want to apply sunscreen to a small area on the body beforehand to see if your pooch has an allergic reaction. Then you can freely use it on other areas that need the coverage. Let the sunscreen soak in for several minutes before sun exposure. Also be sure your dog doesn’t lick off the lotion!
What Kind of Sunscreen Is Safe for Dogs?
It’s highly important that you only use sunscreen that is specifically intended for use on dogs. These should not contain zinc oxide or para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA). In addition to being highly difficult to pronounce, they’re also toxic to dogs.
Whenever in doubt, the best way to protect your dog from sun damage is to limit their time outside during peak sun hours. You can also purchase doggie hats, goggles and shirts that further guard them from the sun.