Before most of us venture out in the sun, we have the ritual of putting sunscreen on. Intense ultraviolet rays not only cause damage to the skin but can increase cancer risk. Sun protection is important for everyone, and that also includes our pet companions.
Many pet owners ask us if their dog should wear sunscreen. The simple answer is yes, but there are a few steps to consider before you grab a bottle of that dog sunblock. Your friends at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital are here to explain the advantages of sun protection and dog sunblock, so we can help your pet enjoy a great, burn-free summer.
Why Do Dogs Need Sunscreen?
Dogs need protection from the ultraviolet rays because they can become burned or suffer skin damage that, over time, can lead to certain types of skin cancer. While dogs have natural protection from the sun due to their fur, they have several exposed areas that can be harmed, such as the nose and ears.
Chronic sunburn and prolonged time in the sun causes skin diseases and cancerous tumors over time. There are some dogs who are more at risk than others, though, including:
- Dogs with white or light colored fur
- Short haired breeds
- Hairless breeds
- Dogs who have been shaved
- Dogs who spend a lot of time outside
How to Use Dog Sunscreen
Before you start to apply your own sunscreen to your dog, stop what you are doing. Human sunscreen can harm your pet because it contains toxic ingredients PABA and zinc oxide. If ingested it can be poisonous, and since dogs love to lick their skin, this would be a great risk to them.
Instead, use a dog safe sunscreen, formulated just for four-legged friends.
Next, apply the sunscreen to any exposed areas of the body, including the torso, stomach/groin, inside of legs, tips of ears, and bridge of nose. After you apply, distract your dog with a chew toy or the equivalent until the sunscreen is fully absorbed, about 15 minutes.
Don’t forget to reapply if your pet swims or is around water.
Other Sun Protection
Along with dog sunscreen, we recommend the following warm and sunny weather safety tips for your pooch:
- Make sure your dog has access to shade, which might mean taking a big umbrella with you, along with lots of water.
- Consider using skin protective clothing that repels moisture and keeps harmful UV rays from harming the skin.
- Spend time outside before 10am and after 4pm to avoid the hottest, brightest times of the day.
- Use doggles or dog sunglasses to protect sensitive eyes.
Yes, Your Dog Should Wear Sunscreen!
We hope we have answered the question of why your dog should wear sunscreen. Skin protection is a must for everyone, two-legged and four. If you have any questions about dog sunscreen, or would like to make a wellness appointment for your pet, please call us.