Can Dogs Get Sunburn? Yes, and They Need Dog Sunscreen!

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dog tanning by the pool

Sunscreen! Dermatological health enthusiasts swear by it, skin care beauticians recommend it to their clients, and people who want to protect their skin from the many harmful side effects of the sun’s UV rays wear it daily. It follows logically that, if human beings benefit from protecting themselves from the sun, dogs would benefit from dog sunscreen, too!

First Thing’s First: Can Dogs Get Sunburn?

The sun’s rays can harm Fido and Luna in the exact same way as they can harm us. That means that without the appropriate safety measures and protection like using dog sunscreen, a dog can suffer not only from sunburn… but from diseases of far greater consequence.

Dog Sunburn is Not Fun for Anyone!

If your pup gets sunburnt, the whole household will have hell to pay, so to speak. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to you (or to anyone) that the party that would suffer the most is the poor little guy with the sensitive, cracked, itchy and aching skin.

Look for redness on your puppy’s exposed skin; their stomach, their nose…  Another tell-tale sign that your pup should have worn some dog sunscreen are their ears – they might be curved at the edges!

Should Dogs Wear Sunscreen? Let’s Have a Look!

Absolutely! Dog sunscreen will help protect your pet from a slew of conditions, including a bright red belly and nose, which, although kind of cute, will cause your puppy a lot of discomfort. Skin cancer is very common in dogs and pet parents can prevent it by lathering their dog’s body with UV protection!

As much as Lucky and Ladybird LOVE to prance and frolic in a field on a bright and sunny day, they could be putting themselves in danger!

Suntan Lotion is a Must for Dogs with Short White Hair!

Just as there are humans that are more sensitive to the sun’s rays (and therefore must use sunscreen every time they go outside if they want to avoid harmful consequences), there are some dog breeds that are naturally predisposed to getting pretty severe sunburns.

Some dogs have white fur with light-colored skin underneath their glorious white mane, so their skin is more likely to get irritated from the aggressive rays of the sun. If they don’t have much hair, there’s a lot more direct exposure to the sun!

Your White Puppy or White Boxer Dog Has a Higher Risk of Getting Cancer Caused by the Sun!

Again, white-furred dogs have white skin underneath their fuzzy exterior. Therefore, they are more susceptible to life-threatening conditions… like cancer. While there is a treatment for cancer in dogs (chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery, among others), there is a better alternative: prevention! Doggie sunscreen is a MUST when it comes to cancer prevention in pups.

These Doggos Need Sunscreen on Their Nose and Bellies!

Dog’s with sensitive skin, those suffering from hair loss, and hairless or short-haired dogs need sunscreen. And even some doggles!

Dogs suffer most from sunburn on the areas of their bodies that are most exposed:

  • Their bare bellies.
  • Their cute pink noses.
  • Earflaps.
  • As well as any shaved area of their bodies.

Remember! Some dogs have a lot less hair than others, and some dogs have no hair at all! These breeds are most susceptible to sun exposure.

Hands Off That Bulldog Sunscreen! Is the Human Kind a Safe Sunscreen for Dogs?

jack russell sunbathing

There is a reason why dogs get their own Dog Sunscreen. A lot of human sunscreens contains the compound zinc oxide. This compound, although effective in preventing sunburn for humans, is very dangerous for dogs, because dogs tend to lick their bodies… A lot.

Therefore, if they’re covered in a sticky substance that smells funny, won’t they want to know what it tastes like? Probably. They will, and the results can be terrible. Zinc oxide is extremely toxic for dogs, and it may result in your fur baby needing hospitalization!

What About Zinc Sunscreen? Is Sunscreen with Zinc Safe for Our Furkids?

Sunscreen with zinc is NOT safe for our pups. Zinc oxide damages a dog’s red blood cells if ingested, and the results are… Not good. The dog in question may suffer from moderate or even severe anemia, which would result in an emergency visit to the puppy ER. Dog sunscreen is always a safe alternative!

When the Sunblock for Dogs Comes too Late: Best Get a Good Snout Soother!

Forgot to use your handy, dandy Dog Sunscreen and now your furry friend is hurtin’? Never fear, Snout Soother® is here! Snout Soother is basically like lip balm, but for our puppy’s sunburned snout and not for our cracked, dry lips.

Snout Soother
Recommended by vets and customers all over the world for treating and preventing painful, dry, crusty, chapped, cracked and bleeding dog noses. Our award-winning dog nose balm is a synergistic blend of organic, vegan, nourishing, healing and moisturizing ingredients – carefully selected for optimal dog nose healing benefits. Our Snout Soother Heals painful dry, chapped, cracked, crusty or bleeding dog noses.
Rated 4.50/5.00 by Certapet
Buy on Amazon!

I’ve personally used this product (and others on the same line of products: Paw Soother®, Skin Soother®) on my dog’s mildly burned snout on the few occasions where I forgot to use Dog Sunscreen. The first time she got burned, I could tell that my furry baby was in a considerable amount of discomfort, because she’s always been a tough cookie, and she was complaining.

Although I tried using other hydrocortisone cream and Vaseline, but to no avail: her pain persisted. It didn’t help that she kept pawing at it, either! Two weeks this went on, so during the third week I went online and found Snout Soother®.

The results were pretty much instant; she seemed to enjoy it being applied on her burned skin, and in four days, her snout had recovered the silky texture and she was no longer complaining. By the end of that week, her snout was completely healed. I use nothing else now. We both love it!

Honest Paws Restore CBD Oil Treats Can Help Soothe Your Dog’s Burnt Skin!

There is another product that may help with your pup’s pain and discomfort: Honest Paws Restore CBD Oil Treats. Your dog will love it, and they’ll appreciate the fact that the pain has decreased noticeably. These treats by Honest Paws are awesome! My dog loves them; it seems to calm her down.

Also, this product is coconut flavored, so if you wake up one morning to find your dog wearing a flower-patterned lei skirt and dancing the hula, don’t be surprised, It’d be her way of telling you she wants more cookies!

Honest Paws CBD Dog Treats
Our Calming CBD Dog Treats are perfect for anxious pups in tense situations. Made with 100% Pure Full Spectrum CBD Oil, our treats contain only the best, non-gmo, all-natural ingredients. Keep everyone's stress levels under control by always a bag of these delicious treats handy!
Rated 5.00/5.00 by Certapet
Buy on HonestPaws.com

Here are Our Picks of the Best Dog Sunscreen

Spaniel sunbathing in a dock

We’ve covered a lot, but there’s more! There are many different kinds of Dog Sunscreen brands and types out there, and some are (arguably) more effective than others. Following, we’ve made a list of some of the different kinds.

The Best Spray Sunscreen for Fido!

My pup and I have had some experiences with many Dog Sunscreen products in the past. Our favorite kind is the spray-on type (me because of the efficiency and speed at which she can get sprayed, and her because she loves to chomp at the mist as it descends on her beautiful golden coat).

Currently, my favorite out of all the spray Dog Sunscreen brands out there is, by far, Chris Christensen Ice on Ice Conditioner with Sunscreen. This multi-purpose, two in one conditioner AND sunscreen spray is truly a God-send for me because I just spray it on her, she chomps at it as it settles on her mane, and I give her a light brush before leaving on that walk she’d been subtly urging me to go on for hours.

Chris Christensen Ice on Ice conditioning, finishing spray and detangle ready to use with SUNSCREEN. Leave in conditioning, finishing spray and detangle with SUNSCREEN! Ice on Ice treats, fortifies and protects the coat, creating a protective barrier that locks in moisture.
Rated 4.50/5.00 by Certapet
Buy on Amazon!

Sunscreen Sticks and Wipes are a Thing!

Sticks and wipes for easy application of sunscreen on dogs is indeed a thing, and it’s actually very popular! Who doesn’t like the practicality of going on a walk with Lucky and Lassie and pulling some wipes to apply sunscreen to these cuddly bundles of furry joy? My favorite brand of wipes is Petkin’s Doggy Sunwipes; it’s a small container that fits in any backpack or purse pocket and you can carry with you everywhere you go!

Petkin Doggy Sunwipes
Just like people, dogs need protection from the sun. Doggy Sunwipes provide the fastest, most convenient way to protect your dog from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays whenever they're outdoors. Each wipe is moistened with a gentle, non-greasy formula developed especially for dogs that compares to SPF 15 rated sunscreens for people. Simply wipe all over anytime your dog is out in the sun, especially on ears, nose, muzzle, pink skin areas and entire coat of light colored or short haired dogs. - simply wipe on anytime for instant sun protection - compares to SPF 15 rated sunscreens for people - not greasy or sticky.
Rated 3.50/5.00 by Certapet
Buy on Amazon!

What About Hypoallergenic Sunscreen for Dogs?

In general, Dog Sunscreens are hypoallergenic for dogs and don’t pose a health risk for human beings, either. What’s most important is that they never, ever wear sunscreen with zinc oxide in it… They could pay for it dearly.

Whatever Brand You Choose, Just Make Sure it’s the Safest Sunscreen Possible!

You’re free to choose whatever brand of Dog Sunscreen you like. What’s most important isn’t the method of application, the consistency, the smell, or (God forbid you should ever find this out) the taste, but your dog’s safety and well-being. If you’re at all like me, you’d do just about anything to protect your dog. You love them. Love them responsibly, use Dog Sunscreen!

Common Questions:

Why can’t my dog use normal, human sunscreen?

What is the best dog sunscreen?

Will my dog die if he/she eats human sunscreen?

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