Do Dogs Really Need Sunscreen?
Yes! Just like humans, dogs need sunscreen when they’re out in the sun for long periods of time.
Doggy sunscreen is especially important for dogs with white or light-colored fur, as well as those with thin fur. Dogs with pink, white skin are also especially susceptible to burns.
How to Choose a Dog Sunscreen: Different Application Methods
For human sunscreen, there are all kinds of options for application, including spray, sticks, and lotions. Well, the same applies to doggy sunscreen too!
- Creams. Sunscreen creams are one option for protecting your pooch from the sun. Creams provide solid, reliable coverage for your dog’s sensitive nose and ears. However, cream-based products can make a big mess on larger, furrier areas of your dog.
- Sticks. Sunscreen sticks are another option. They can be applied directly to your dog, or you can rub the stick on your hands and then apply to your dog manually.
- Wipes. Sunscreen wipes can be easily spread all over your dog, and the sunscreen dries fairly quickly. This is a great method for those who want a mess-free application.
- Sprays. Sprays are easy to apply all over your dog’s body without too much hassle. You can also get great coverage with sprays, however, some dogs may not appreciate being sprayed, especially in their faces.
Ultimately, the best type of sunscreen will be one that works for you and your dog. Think about your dog’s disposition and personal preferences, as well as your own.
Sunscreen + Dog Tips
- Don’t Use Sunscreens With Zinc Oxide. Zinc oxide is a thick white cream that is an effective sunscreen for humans, but is toxic and can be very dangerous for dogs. Don’t use a sunscreen on your dog with zinc oxide!
- Test Before Full Application. Make sure to apply the sunscreen to a small area of your dog’s skin to test out how your dog responds to the sunscreen before applying a full application.
- Use Treats to Keep Your Dog Still. If your dog won’t stand still for sunscreen (or he tries to lick the sunscreen off), try using a chew toy or treat to keep him occupied while you apply the sunscreen and wait for it to dry.
Four Great Dog Sunscreens
Again, there are a bunch of different doggo sunscreen options on the market. But the following four rise head-and-shoulders above the competition. Check ’em out!
1. Epi-Pet Sun Protector Spray for Pets
About: Epi-Pet Sun Protector Spray for Pets is a highly-recommended, FDA-approved sunscreen for dogs that is applied via a spray can.
- Easy Spray Application. Spray sunscreen can easily be applied all over your dog’s body, even in tough-to-reach areas.
- Skin + Coat Conditioner. This spray also contains ingredients that help condition your dog’s skin and coat, which is a nice little bonus.
- Non-Greasy Solution. This dog sunscreen spray is non-greasy and non-oily, so you won’t have to be grossed out petting your dog after applying!
- FDA Compliant. Epi-Pet Sun Spray is actually the only FDA-approved pet sunscreen, which gives it some serious street cred. This brand also comes trusted by veterinary dermatologists, so you know it’s reputable.
- Waterproof + Lick Proof. Once dry, which is almost instantly, this sunscreen is waterproof and lick proof!
- Blocks UVA + UVB. Blocks out both UVA and UVB rays, and the manufacturer explains that the ingredients yield a product that is equivalent to 30 to 40 SPF.
- Makes it easy to cover hard-to-access areas, such as the groin and armpits
- Light spray that dries quickly
- Smells great!
- Doesn’t work well for owners who want to spray on their hands and then apply to their pet, as it dries too quickly
2. Petkin Doggy Sunwipes
About: The Petkin Doggy Sunwipes are an ultra easy, convenient way to apply sunscreen coverage through your dog with super portable wipes.
- Wipe Application. These sunscreen wipes can simply be wiped on your dog for coverage, which some dogs may find more appealing than being sprayed (especially for face coverage).
- Non-Greasy Formula. These wipes can be applied to your pet without leaving him or her greasy and sticky, with the sunscreen drying quickly.
- SPF 15 Equivalent. These wipes are the equivalent of an SPF 15 rating for human sunscreen.
- Refreshing Scent. These dog sunscreen wipes have a vanilla coconut scent, so they smell great on your pooch.
- Very easy to apply
- Some dogs appear to prefer this method over sprays
- Well-suited for travel — great to stash in the car
- Can be difficult to know if you’ve adequately covered your dog
3. Petkin Doggy Sunstick
Petkin Doggy Sunstick
Stick-style sunscreen that works better for some doggos
- Stick Application. This dog sunscreen stick can easily be applied all over your dog. The stick is soft enough to apply with minimal pressure, but still strong enough to hold up well over time.
- Non-Greasy Formula. The sunscreen stick has a non-greasy formula, so it can be applied to your dog without making him or her greasy and oily.
- SPF 15 Equivalent. This sunscreen stick provides the equivalent of an SPF 15 rating for human sunscreen.
- Refreshing Scent. The sunscreen stick has a vanilla coconut scent, so your dog can smell good while staying safe from the sun!
- Very easy to use
- Can be applied to hands and then dog
- Doesn’t dry too quickly like some other formulations
- Not many problems!
- Some dogs seem very interested — too interested — in the sunscreen’s scent
4. My Dog Nose It
About: My Dog Nose It is dog-friendly natural, non-toxic cream that prevents sun damage.
- Creamy Sun Protection for Nose. This cream isn’t sunscreen exactly – it is more of a protective barrier, designed to keep your dog’s nose safe, moisturized, and sun-damage free.
- Moisture + Healing. In addition to protecting against sun damage, My Dog Nose It also heals your pup’s nose and adds moisture for healthy, happy snouts.
- Non-Toxic and Paraben-Free. This protective cream is non-toxic, paraben-free, and prevents your dog’s nose color from fading.
- Non-toxic cream is easy to use
- Owners loved knowing that their pet’s nose was protected
- Only blocks UVB rays
- Only suitable for fur-free areas
- Quite sticky
Dog Sunscreen Alternatives
Not all dogs appreciate the protective benefits of sunscreen. If your dog can’t stand sunscreen, there are a few alternatives you can resort to protect your pup from the sun.
- Doggles. Doggles are canine goggles that your dog can wear to protect his or her eyes from the sun. They’re primarily used for protecting your dog’s eyes riding in a motorcycle or any kind of open vehicle where your dog might need protective eyewear, but some will also provide some UV protection.
- Protective Sun Clothing. Owners can also purchase canine clothing that can protect dogs with UPF sun-proof material.
- Shade. Another option is to simply keep your dog in the shade as much as possible, and use canopies or umbrellas if you’re taking your dog to a sun-heavy area.
Have you ever used sunscreen on your dog? What has been your experience? Share your thoughts in the comments!