Do Dogs Need Sunscreen?
There’s nothing like soaking up the sun on a summer’s day, ideally with an ice cream in hand! But while we humans often take precautions to protect ourselves from sunburn and other health issues linked with sun exposure, what about our furry friends?
Do dogs need to wear sunscreen to protect them from UV rays? Can dogs even get sunburnt? Keep reading as we answer all these burning questions!
Before we get started, it’s always worth mentioning how important it is to keep dogs out of direct sunlight during the hottest times of the day.
Once temperatures reach 20 °C, our furry friends are more at risk of heatstroke, especially when exercising. Check out our post on safe dog walking temperatures for more info on this.
Can dogs get sunburnt?
In short, yes! Dogs can get sunburn and other sun-related diseases linked with sun exposure.
While a dog’s fur does a good job of protecting them from harmful UV rays, they can get sunburnt on areas with little or no fur, like their nose, eyelids, ears, and tummy.
In a similar way to people with a fair complexion, pooches with more areas of pink skin or white fur are more at risk of getting sunburnt.
Dogs more at risk of getting sunburn
While all dogs can get sunburn, there are some dog breeds that are more prone to it, including:
Dogs with sparse/thin fur
Dogs who shed a lot
Dogs with white fur and/or pink skin
Dogs who have sunburn already
Dogs who have exposed skin following a procedure
Signs of sunburn in dogs
If your dog has been lounging in direct sunlight for too long without sun protection, their skin may appear pinker than usual or red.
If your pup’s ears have caught the sun, the edges may appear dry or cracked and they might shake their head.
Another symptom of sunburn is if your dog’s skin is tender or painful to touch – your dog may find the burn itchy or lick it, and they’ll probably whimper and avoid being touched or petted too.
Preventing your dog from sunburn
As always, prevention is better than cure! If it’s hot enough for you to wear sunscreen, your canine companion will likely need some too, especially if they have thin fur.
Here are some ways to protect your dog from sunburn:
Avoid walking your dog during the hottest points of the day – stick to early in the morning or later in the evening.
Apply sunscreen to your dog.
Don’t let your dog sunbathe in direct sunlight.
Make sure your dog has access to shade – trees and shrubs provide great shade, or you can always create a shaded area with an umbrella.
Sunscreen for dogs
The chances are, your dog is going to lick off some of the sunscreen you put on them, so it’s important to only use sunscreen for dogs, or one that is pet/child safe, as some human sunscreen contains toxic ingredients.
The higher the SPF, the better! Choose a sunscreen that is SPF30 or higher and waterproof.
Apply two layers of sunscreen on the areas where your dog’s fur is thin, like their nose, ear tips and tummy. Do this at least 15 minutes before your dog goes outside and if they lick the sunscreen off, reapply it as necessary.
Alternatives to dog sunscreen
While dog-friendly sunscreen is a great option for protecting your pooch from UV rays, protective clothing is another option, especially if your dog is prone to licking off sunscreen every time you apply it!
Sun shirts for dogs cover large areas of their bodies to protect them from the sun, as do dog beach rash guards and even dog sun hats.
Just remember that these methods of sun protection should always be considered alongside other preventative methods, like keeping your dog out of direct sunlight and not walking them during the hottest parts of the day.
If you’re interested in how to keep your pup fit and healthy when the weather heats up, check out our helpful tips on exercising your dog in warm weather!
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