Do All Dogs Need Sunscreen? Whether you and your dog will be spending the day at the dog park or going on a lengthy afternoon trek, sun protection is essential. It is generally known that exposure to the sun’s UV rays in excess can raise a person’s chance of developing skin cancer and eye problems. But what hazards do pets face? Do dogs require sunscreen?
The answer is often yes, as dogs are prone to sunburn just like humans, and sun protection is required. However, the amount and circumstances might differ from dog to dog. Which canines should wear sun protection?

Sun protection is beneficial for all dogs, but some require it more than others. Dogs with short or thin coats, as well as those with white fur and pink skin, are more vulnerable to the sun. This includes well-known breeds such as Dalmatians and Bulldogs. No-haired dogs, such as the Chinese Crested and the Xoloitzcuintle, are also particularly susceptible to sun damage, as is the case with the Xoloitzcuintle.

However, even dogs with longer coats are susceptible to sunburn if their nose, eyelids, and ears have light-colored pigment. Australian Sheepdogs and Whippets are examples. Sun protection is suggested if your dog has seasonal hair loss due to shedding or has a health condition that causes hair loss.

Breeds with darker colored skin or thicker coats have a decreased risk for dog sunburn, but it’s still possible. This is just one of the many reasons why it’s vital to provide your dog with a shaded place to rest. Also, limit the amount of time spent in the sunshine.

Most susceptible to sunburn are dogs with:

White fur and/or rose-colored skin

Thin or little hair, or no fur at all

Nose, eyelids, and ears that are pale in color

Excessive hair loss or thinning

Healing wounds or surgical incisions

Chronic skin disorders such as dermatitis

Existing sunburns

Do you have to apply sunscreen to your dog’s entire body? Fortunately, this is not how the majority of dog sunscreens function. There are other types of sun protection, such as dog sun shirts. These can be just as effective depending on the regions that require protection.

How Do Sunscreens and Sun Shirts for Dogs Work?

Physical and chemical particles are utilized in sunscreen to prevent and absorb UV radiation. In this manner, both human sunscreen and dog sunscreen function the same.  However, dog-safe alternatives often skip a number of human sunscreen components.

In contrast, dog sun shirts offer a physical barrier against UV radiation to protect your dog from sun harm. Typically, they are constructed of an elastic, soft cloth and cover the dog’s chest, back, and stomach.

If you’re interested in sun shirts, you may also try a dog cooling vest. Many of these give a comparable level of UV protection in addition to cooling (through ice packs or water evaporation). For optimal protection, prioritize models with enough belly covering.

If your dog cannot tolerate clothes, requires full-body protection (looking at you, furless pals), or might benefit from more focused protection in sparse regions, dog sunscreen is an excellent option.

Sprayable choices are advantageous for rapid, mess-free application.

You should also evaluate your dog’s surroundings. Choose a sun shirt or water-resistant sunscreen if you anticipate getting wet at the beach or elsewhere. Be prepared to reapply it occasionally.

If you need to protect only little regions of skin, such as the nose or ears, sun protection balms are advantageous. They are non-greasy, simple to apply and reapply, and water-resistant.

Dog Safe

As tempting as it may be to bring one sunscreen for the entire family, it is advised against using human sunscreen on canines.

Certain types may be OK for occasional use, but the majority include zinc oxide or titanium oxide, which can be harmful in excessive amounts. It would be a significant issue if your dog consumed enormous volumes.

Even if your sunscreen is labeled “safe for dogs,” you should still check the chemical list because these products are not FDA-regulated. They shouldn’t include zinc or titanium oxide, but it’s always a good idea to double-check, just in case your dog finds it appetizing.

The Verdict: Does Your Dog Need Sunscreen?

A sunburn can not only be excruciatingly unpleasant for your dog.  It can also contribute to major health issues such as malignant melanomas, hemangiomas, and squamous cell carcinoma. If unsure, it is prudent to err on the side of caution, especially since modern dog sunscreens are typically simple to administer.

Alternative methods may be preferable for really fragile puppies.  Physical barriers such as sun jackets may be safer, and sometimes the only completely effective solution is to keep your dog indoors during high sun hours. Your veterinarian is an excellent resource for determining what type of protection is ideal for your dog.

Treatment and Prevention

So, what should you do if your dog is already sunburned? A pet-safe aloe vera treatment will help calm your dog’s skin, and keeping them out of the sun will prevent the condition from worsening while they recuperate. In severe circumstances, a trip to the vet may be in order.

An ounce of prevention can be worth a pound of cure when it comes to sunburns, and we’re all for anything that allows you and your dog to enjoy the summer outdoors, whether it’s at the beach, on the trails, or in your own backyard. Contact Charlotte Kennels for our advice.