Sunscreen for dogs, yes, it exists. Moreover, its application is highly recommended. Especially for certain breeds of dogs or those that, for various reasons, are more vulnerable to the sun. A little while ago we talked about the essentials in your dog’s suitcase. Well, don’t forget sunscreen for dogs, especially in summer.

The sun is the star of the summer. There is no doubt about it. But it can also be our worst enemy. Incorrect and excessive exposure to the sun’s rays can be the cause of dermatological diseases, in humans, but also in dogs!

Is it essential to use sunscreen for dogs?

If this is the first time you’ve heard of sunscreen for dogs, and you’re thinking that you’ve been doing it wrong all these years by not slathering your dog in sunscreen before going outside, stop the car! Don’t feel bad.

It’s not really necessary for most breeds, as dogs’ skin is usually covered by fur, which means that it is not directly exposed to the sun. However, it is important to be clear about certain aspects in order to take care of your dog’s skin and thus avoid dermatological problems that can be triggered by excessive exposure to the sun without protection.

In any case, the best protection against the sun’s harmful rays is responsible exposure. That is, do not go out for walks in the middle of the day, avoid walking in unshaded areas, etc.

Which dogs need sunscreen?

Photo by Tom Hills

Actually, we should offer sun protection to any dog on those areas of the body that are not covered by fur. However, there are dogs that are more vulnerable to the sun and therefore need a good sunscreen to act as a barrier between their skin and the sun’s harmful rays.
These dogs are:

  • Specific breeds with less fur such as Dalmatians, Boxers, Pit Bulls, Bull Terriers and Whippet.
  • Albino dogs. These are dogs that, due to a genetic alteration, the pigment that gives colour to the skin, eyes and coat is less due to a lack of melanin. There are no breeds of albino dogs as such, but there are some that tend to be more albino, such as the Husky, the Shih Tzu and the Labrador, in addition to those mentioned in the previous point.
  • Dogs with light or pink skin, short and light coat. These characteristics in dogs make their skin more unprotected against the sun’s rays.
  • Dogs with shaved coats, suffering from hair loss, with allergies or with a shaved area due to an operation, for example. Note: It is not advisable to completely shave your dog’s coat (even if you think it will be cooler in the summer), as their coat has a function, one of which is to protect their skin.

Which dog sunscreen should I use?

Photo by Alex Rybin
  • There are several options on the market for specific sunscreens for dogs. We recommend that the one you choose has at least SPF 30 (sun protection factor), although if it is more, so much the better.
  • Choose one that is water resistant, especially if your dog enjoys cooling off in any fountain, beach, river or pool.
  • If you don’t want to buy a specific sunscreen for dogs, we recommend you opt for those sold for babies. As they do not contain chemical filters or fragrances, they are more respectful of the skin and are hypoallergenic.
  • Make sure that they do not contain elements that are harmful to dogs, such as zinc oxide. It is best to be guided by your vet.

Sunscreen for dogs: where and how to apply it

It should be applied to those areas devoid of hair. Particular emphasis should be placed on the muzzle, the area around the mouth, ears, tummy and groin area.

When applying it, be patient! Your dog may not be thrilled with the idea of being smeared with cream. But think of it as being for his own good.
The specific dog sunscreen can be massaged in. Let it absorb and leave a thin but firm layer of the cream on your dog’s skin.
If your sunscreen is not specific for dogs, spread the cream well so that it absorbs quickly. This way your dog won’t be able to lick it off.

If you are leaving your dog with one of our dog sitters this summer, don’t forget to pack the sunscreen in your dog’s bag and give the sitter instructions on how to apply it.

Let’s all enjoy the sun, but safely!

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