Do dogs need sunscreen?

As the summer sun shines bright and temperatures soar, we humans know all too well the importance of protecting our skin from harmful UV rays. But what about our four-legged companions? Dogs, like humans, can also be susceptible to the damaging effects of the sun. In this blog, we'll delve into the question: "Do dogs need sunscreen?" and explore how you can ensure your furry friend stays safe and healthy during sunny days.

Understanding Your Dog's Vulnerability to Sun Exposure

Contrary to popular belief, dogs are not immune to sunburns and other sun-related issues. Their fur, while offering some protection, isn't enough to shield them completely from harmful UV rays. Just like us, dogs can suffer from painful sunburns, particularly in areas with less hair coverage such as the nose, ears, belly, and groin.

Certain breeds are more vulnerable than others. Light-skinned, short-haired, and hairless breeds are at higher risk of sunburn and skin damage. For example French Bulldogs, Greyhounds and Whippets. Additionally, dogs with pre-existing conditions like dermatitis or autoimmune diseases may have increased sensitivity to the sun.


Signs of Sunburn in Dogs

Identifying sunburn in dogs can be challenging since their fur may obscure the redness. However, you may notice signs such as:

  1. Red or inflamed skin
  2. Excessive itching or licking of certain areas
  3. Peeling or flaking of the skin
  4. Unusual sensitivity when touched
  5. Hair loss in specific regions

The Dangers of Prolonged Sun Exposure for Dogs

Sunburn in dogs is not merely a temporary discomfort; it can lead to more severe consequences. Repeated sunburns can cause skin damage, increase the risk of skin cancer, and contribute to premature aging in our canine companions.

So, with all that cleared up, the answer to "Do Dogs Need Sunscreen?" is yes! Dogs can benefit from sunscreen, especially when they are going to spend extended periods outdoors. But not all sunscreens are safe for them. It's crucial to use a sunscreen that is specifically designed for dogs and free of harmful ingredients.

Choosing the Right Sunscreen for Your Dog

When selecting a sunscreen for your dog, consider the following factors:

  1. Pet-Friendly Formulation: Avoid sunscreens that contain zinc oxide, PABA, or other toxic substances, as dogs tend to lick their skin.

  2. SPF Level: Look for a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15-30. This provides adequate protection without causing unnecessary irritation.

  3. Water Resistance: Opt for a water-resistant sunscreen if your dog loves to take a dip to ensure lasting protection.

  4. Scent and Fragrance: Avoid strongly scented sunscreens, as dogs have sensitive noses and may find overpowering scents distressing.

Applying Sunscreen to Your Dog

Before applying sunscreen to your dog, conduct a patch test to check for any adverse reactions. If all is well, follow these steps:

  1. Gently hold your dog still and apply sunscreen to exposed areas like the nose, ears, and belly.

  2. Rub the sunscreen in thoroughly, ensuring even coverage.

  3. Prevent your dog from licking the sunscreen off by distracting them with a treat or engaging them in play.

  4. Reapply sunscreen every 2 to 4 hours, or more frequently if your dog goes swimming or gets wet.

Other Sun Safety Measures for Your Dog

In addition to sunscreen, consider these sun safety measures for your furry friend:

  1. Seek Shade: Whenever possible, provide ample shade for your dog to retreat to during peak sun hours.

  2. Avoid Hot Pavement: On scorching days, the pavement can become extremely hot and cause burns to your dog's paws. Stick to grassy areas for walks instead.

  3. Stylish Sun Hats and Clothing: Yes, dogs can rock stylish sun hats and protective clothing! These can offer additional protection from the sun.


  1. Consider adding wet dog food to your pooch's diet through summer to help keep your pooch extra hydrated, especially for those pooches who aren't a fan of their water bowl. 


Just like us, dogs need protection from the sun's harmful UV rays. Sunburns and skin damage are not only painful for our furry friends but can also lead to more severe health issues. By using pet-safe sunscreen, seeking shade, and taking other sun safety measures, you can ensure your dog enjoys sunny days comfortably and stays safe from sun-related risks. Remember, a little extra care goes a long way in keeping your four-legged companion happy and healthy all year round.

Whilst you're here, why not read:

1. How to keep dogs cool

2. Can dogs have ice cubes?

3. How to calm a dog down

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