sunscreen for dogs
Dogs with fair skin & coats should be protected at the beach


Sunscreen is an important part of skin care. It can save your epidermis from the type of irreversible sun damage that leads to early signs of aging and different forms of skin cancer. But people aren’t the only ones who can benefit from a liberal application of sunblock; dogs can, too. If you have a pet with short, thin hair that is pale or white and a pink complexion, it is essential that you protect them from harmful UV rays. Here are some tips for dog owners concerned about protecting their pets from the effects of our brightest star.

Sunblock for Pets

The idea of using sunscreen on dogs has seen a real uptick in recent years. That’s not just a marketing ploy. It’s because animals can also suffer from sunburn and the long-term damage that inevitably comes with it. There are now various brands designed by manufacturers of pet products offering an SPF of 15 or higher with dogs in mind. If you're having trouble finding one last minute, you can also safely use fragrance-free sunblocks created for babies/kids that are free from toxic para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) on pets, if need be.


sunscreen for dogs
Peruvian hairless with pink skin (image via YouTube screen shot)

Hairless Breeds

If you’ve got a pink hairless, using sun protection is especially important. There are breeds of hairless dogs ranging from Mexico to South America with that grayish purpley or ashy black skin that are, through evolution, somewhat better prepared for it. But those breeds that more closely resemble hairless rats in coloring should be liberally slathered with sunscreen, if they’re going to spend any amount of time outdoors, particularly in summer.

Zinc Oxide Sunscreens

Besides avoiding PABAs, do not use a sun protection product containing zinc oxide on dogs. The reason being is not that the ingredient will necessarily harm their skin. It’s because if they ingest it it could be fatal. Let’s face it: dogs will lick off almost anything applied to them or you, for that matter. Due to its deadly nature, if you’re wearing a product containing it, don’t let them lick it off you. Take a shower after returning home from a day in the sun before you forget and they get a taste.


sunscreen for dogs
Don't let a pink belly become a red belly

Where to Apply Sunscreen on Dogs

The answer to this is everywhere other than the bottom of their pads. They’ll definitely lick it off there, and the bottom of their paws is normally at far less risk of sunburn than the rest of them. Not that it couldn’t happen, but it’s unlikely. You can use it on their back, belly, legs, chest, ears, top of the head, snout and tail. If they’ve got a pink nose, don’t forget to apply it there. Just be careful not to get it in their eyes or in their mouth.

Note: Keep an eye on them until it dries thoroughly and don’t forget to reapply after swimming.

Do you use sunblock on your pets? If so, which brand do you use?