Do Dogs Need Sunscreen?

Nov 14, 2023 | Dogs & Puppies | 1 comment

While humans take precautions to shield themselves from the sun’s rays, the question arises: should we do the same for our dogs?

Can our furry friends get sunburned, and is sunscreen necessary for them? The unequivocal answer is yes. Like us, dogs are susceptible to sunburn and the various complications and ailments associated with sun exposure.

This comprehensive guide delves into the significance of dog sunscreen, how it plays a pivotal role in safeguarding your four-legged friend, and the essential steps to select and apply the ideal sunscreen for your pup.

Sun Risks

  • Sunburn: Just like humans, dogs can suffer from painful sunburn when exposed to intense sunlight for extended periods. Their sensitive skin is at risk, particularly in areas with thin fur or light pigmentation.
  • Skin Cancer: Chronic sun exposure can increase the risk of skin cancer in dogs, especially in breeds predisposed to sunburn. Skin cancer can be life-threatening and often necessitates surgery and other treatments.
  • Eye Damage: The sun’s UV rays can damage a dog’s eyes, leading to photokeratitis (similar to sunburn of the cornea) or cataracts.
  • Overheating: Prolonged sun exposure can lead to overheating in dogs, causing symptoms such as excessive panting, lethargy, and, in severe cases, heatstroke.

Dog Breeds Predisposed to Sunburn

  • Bulldogs: Bulldogs have short fur and light, sensitive skin, making them highly prone to sunburn. Their wrinkled skin can also trap UV rays, increasing the risk.
  • Dalmatians: Dalmatians, with their distinctive spotted coat, often have fair skin underneath, especially in areas with white fur. These areas are particularly vulnerable to sunburn.
  • Boxers: Boxers are known for their short coat and minimal fur coverage on their nose, ears, and belly. These areas are exposed and at risk of sun damage.
  • Greyhounds: Greyhounds have thin skin, making them more susceptible to the sun’s harmful effects. They often have short fur that doesn’t provide adequate protection.
  • Pit Bulls: Pit Bulls typically have shorter fur and can be prone to sunburn, particularly on their nose and ears.

It’s essential to be mindful of your dog breeds’ vulnerability to sunburn and take extra precautions to protect them from excessive sun exposure.

dog sun burns

What Is the Best Sunscreen for Dogs?

Pet-Specific Formulation

Opt for a sunscreen specifically designed for dogs. These products are formulated to be non-toxic and safe for canine use. Avoid using human sunscreens, which may contain chemicals that can harm dogs.

Broad-Spectrum Protection

Look for a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection and shields against UVA and UVB rays. These rays can cause sunburn and skin damage in dogs.

High SPF

Choose a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. This provides better protection against the sun’s harmful rays. Higher SPF values are ideal for dogs with sensitive skin or those prone to sunburn.

Waterproof or Water-Resistant

Opt for a sunscreen that is either waterproof or water-resistant. Dogs may sweat or get wet during outdoor activities, and sunscreen that stays in place is essential for long-lasting protection.


If your dog has sensitive skin or allergies, consider a hypoallergenic sunscreen to reduce the risk of skin irritation.

sunscreen for dogs

How to Apply Your Dog’s Sunscreen

Proper application of sunscreen is essential to ensure your dog’s protection. Start by choosing a quiet, comfortable spot where your dog feels comfortable.

Gently apply the sunscreen to exposed areas like the nose, ears, belly, and the insides of their legs. Remember their paw pads! Make sure to rub it in well to avoid a greasy residue. Be sure to reapply as needed, especially if your dog goes for a swim.


Caring for your dog’s well-being under the sun is an act of love. By understanding the risks, identifying vulnerable breeds, and selecting the right sunscreen, you can give your furry friend the protection they deserve.

Now, you can enjoy the outdoors without worrying about sunburn or skin damage, knowing you’re keeping your pup safe and happy.


American paws divider



Can I use regular human sunscreen on my dog?

No, it’s not recommended. Human sunscreen often contains chemicals that can be toxic to dogs. It’s best to use sunscreen specifically formulated for dogs.

When should I apply sunscreen to my dog?

Apply sunscreen at least 15-30 minutes before sun exposure. Reapply every two hours or after swimming or excessive sweating.

Are there any natural alternatives to dog sunscreen?

While natural options like coconut oil and aloe vera can offer some protection, they are not as effective as dog-specific sunscreens. It’s advisable to use a purpose-made product for optimal results.

What are the signs of sunburn in dogs?

Signs of sunburn in dogs include red or pink skin, hair loss, flaky or crusty skin, and discomfort or pain when touched.

Can dogs get skin cancer from sun exposure?

Yes, prolonged sun exposure can increase the risk of skin cancer in dogs, particularly for those breeds predisposed to sunburn. Using sunscreen is an effective preventative measure.


1 Comment

  1. Alex Thompson

    Great info! My Greyhound, Luna, loves basking in the sun. I never thought about sunscreen for her thin skin.🌞🐾

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