Do Dogs Need Sunscreen?

Do Dogs Need Sunscreen?

Author WDF Staff


We love spending time on the beach. The sun is high, the weather is nice, and earning a bronze tan is pretty fun. However, too much exposure can get us sunburnt. To avoid that from happening, we will gladly use sunscreen. Most dog owners think dogs don’t need sunscreen. Their coat should be protection enough. But is that really so? Do dogs need sunscreen, and should they use it? Here is what you need to know about protecting your dog from the sun.

Sunburn risk

Just like humans, dogs can get sunburnt. Dogs are prone to sun-related issues, and by taking some measures, we can significantly lower the risk. Too much sun exposure can be a culprit to some severe health problems. The most dangerous ones are:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Malignant melanomas
  • Hemangiomas

Plus, sun exposure can exacerbate preexisting conditions like dermatitis and autoimmune disorders. It can cause problems in recovering areas (after surgery or wounds). Luckily, there is a way to prevent that. If you are still wondering, “Do dogs need sunscreen?” that should have made it clear.

corgi on beach

Dogs prone to sunburn

Certain dog breeds are especially prone to sunburns. Hairless dog breeds like the;

should absolutely wear dog sunscreen. They have exposed skin and no coat to protect them from UV rays.

Dogs with light pigmentation around the ears and nose should be protected. Some of those breeds are;

puppy on the beach in the sun

Dogs with thin coats and hairless breeds are not the only ones in danger. Longhaired dogs are usually shedding during summer, and their coats are a lot thinner. They don’t provide the protection their winter coats might. Breeds like the Collie or Shetland Sheepdog can get sunburnt.

Sunscreen for dogs

If you are just hearing this for the first time, you might be wondering what type of sunscreen for dogs you should use? You are not the only one. Most dog owners didn’t know that there are dog sunscreens made specifically for dogs. They should not contain para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) or zinc oxide. Both of these ingredients are toxic if ingested. Dogs are known to lick themselves, and if they accidentally ingest human sunscreen, they can get poisoned.

How to put sunscreen on dogs?

Like with anything else, when it comes to dogs, it is essential to take your time. Check the exposed areas with light pigmentation. When you decided where to put dog sunscreen on your dog, try just a few drops on their skin, and make sure they don’t have an allergic reaction.

dog jumping in the ocean

The next step is to apply the dog sunscreen to your dog. Make sure you rub it on the bridge of the nose, around the ears, inner thigs, around their lips, groin, and belly. Keep an eye on your dog for the next 10 - 15 minutes, and make sure they don’t lick the sunscreen. You can distract them with their favorite toy or treats. Get a waterproof sunscreen, and make sure you apply it at least half an hour before your dog goes out in the sun. If you plan on staying at the beach for longer, reapply the dog sunscreen to your dog every 5 hours.


Despite all the precautions you made, your dog can still get sunburnt. If you noticed your dog’s nose or ears are getting really warm or flaky, get them out of the sun as soon as possible. The first thing you can do is apply a cool compress and ointment with aloe vera. That will ease a mild sunburn and relieve the burning sensation.

However, if you notice the sunburn is severe, you should call your vet and tell them what happened. Make sure you get an appointment as soon as possible because there is a possibility your dog might require cortisone treatments. That will prevent inflammation and hopefully further bacterial infections. If that does happen, your vet will prescribe antibiotics, and the dog should stay away from the sun in the foreseeable future. Now you know a definitive answer to the question, “Do dogs need sunscreen?”

World Dog Finder team

World Dog Finder Logo