When It Comes to Dog Sun Protection, Does Sunscreen Apply?

When It Comes to Dog Sun Protection, Does Sunscreen Apply?
July 9, 2020

When we pack a bag for a day trip, we always carry sunblock with us. It’s so easy nowadays, with sprays, sticks, and lotions at every store’s checkout line. Of course, we’ll also pack water, a hat, snacks, and other comforts of home, too; because they’re all things we’ll need

Contrast this picture with the items prepared for our accompanying pups. Waste bags, collapsible water bowls, extra water, and snacks likely round out their needs.

But to truly maximize dog sun protection methods, pet-safe sunscreen can be equally beneficial.

Ultraviolet Rays

Dogs can suffer the effects of harmful UV rays just like we do. Sure, their bodies are mostly covered in protective fur, but unfortunately their coats cannot be relied upon to fully shield them from the sun.

The skin of dogs with thick, dark fur may fare better in the broad daylight than the exposed skin of pups with thin, white (or light-colored) hair. 

Dogs of all breeds, sizes, genders, ages and lifestyles benefit from a small amount of sunblock applied to their ear tips, nose, belly, groin, armpits, and chest. 

Should Dogs Wear Sunscreen All Day?

Primarily, the most risky time of day is between 10 am and 4 pm. This is when the sun’s rays are strongest, with the potential to cause painful burns. Over time, if a dog is overexposed to UV rays, they may suffer permanent skin damage, inflammation, early signs of aging, and various types of skin cancers.

Dog Sun Protection, Every Day

Preventing heat-related illness, such as heat stroke or dehydration, is essential this time of year. In addition to refraining from vigorous exercise after 10 am and before 4 pm, dogs should always have access to clean, fresh water, loads of cool shade, extra ventilation, and rest. 

If you anticipate that you’ll be outside with your dog in the middle of the day, be sure that they are accustomed to sunscreen. 

Choosing the Right Sunscreen for Your Pet

There are great products on the market designed specifically for dogs. This means that consumers don’t have to worry when/if their dog licks the product right off the skin the moment after you finish applying. Even some formulas for human children shouldn’t be consumed by dogs, making the choice more straightforward.

Once you find the right product for your dog, be sure to test it out on a small area to reduce the chances of an allergic reaction. Give your dog lots of praise and maybe a treat or two so they build positive associations with dog sun protection.

It may not be in your best interest to spring the idea of sunblock on them when it is imperative that they wear it, such as a day at the beach or on a boat. Slowly introduce them to it, and increase the frequency over a period of time.

Your Dog’s Health

If you have any questions about your dog’s general health, or concerns about their exposure to the elements, please let us knowOur staff is always here for you at Advantage Veterinary Center.