If you are heading out for a day at the park with your dog, your checklist might look something like this:
Sunscreen for your dog? Although this may not be part of your checklist, you may want to consider adding it.
Can Fido Get a Sunburn?
Your dog’s coat can protect them from the elements to a certain degree and may even serve to keep them cool, but even 30-minutes in the sun can expose your dogs to UV rays and can cause sunburn, especially in exposed areas like the nose, ears, and belly. The breed of your pet can determine their likelihood of getting a sunburn as well, with boxers, pit bulls, shorthaired pointers, and some terriers being predisposed to sun damage, as well as dogs with short, white fur. The signs of sunburn in dogs are similar to the signs in people, including redness or dry, cracked skin. Dogs can also experience hair loss and scaly, sensitive skin from a sunburn.
Worse than a sunburn, your dog can get skin cancers from the sun, including squamous cell carcinoma, malignant melanomas, hemangiomas, or hemangiosarcomas.
How Can I Prevent Sun Damage to My Pet?
Before you slather your dog in your sunscreen, it is important to note that ingredients in human sunscreen, like para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) are toxic to dogs and can cause gastrointestinal issues. Look for waterproof sunscreen made for dogs that contain no added fragrances or dyes, with an SPF of at least 15. Dog sunscreen should also block UVA and UVB rays.
If you choose to use a sunscreen intended for humans, baby sunscreen can often be a safer bet, however, fully read the label. If it is unsafe for your pet to ingest, do not use it on them. After all, your pet is far more likely to try to lick some of it off than to ignore it. In general, pet sunscreen is going to be your best bet and baby sunscreen should only be used in a pinch.
There are several types of dog sunscreen, including sticks to rub on your pet’s skin, creams, wipes, and sprays. Before you buy, consider your pet’s disposition — will they become defensive if they are sprayed, or will they remain calm when you rub a cream on them? Remember, you will be reapplying the sunscreen throughout the day, so get whatever is best for your specific pet.
If you plan to be outdoors during peak sunshine (usually between 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.), make sure to reapply sunscreen to your pet frequently.
Our Favorite Pup Sunscreens
- Epi-Pet Sun Protector for Dogs and Horses
This sunscreen is formulated specifically for animals and contains broad-spectrum protection. It is a water-proof, SPF 30 spray, and has FDA approved ingredients.
- My Dog Nose It Sun Protection
This paraben-free sun protector is available in a balm, spray, or cream. It is waterproof and protects from UV rays.
- Petkin Doggy Sun Wipes and Sun Sticks
These SPF 15 wipes and sticks are great for easy application. They are non-greasy and eco-friendly, and provide UV protection.
- You can also find more options of sunscreen made for dogs in this handy buying guide.
My Dog Won’t Let Me Put Sunscreen on Her!
Pets can be finicky about rubbing something all over their skin. If your pet will not allow you to use sunscreen, you can protect her skin with sun-protection accessories. For example, using a doggy shirt, Doggles (goggles made to protect pup’s eyes from the sun), and bodysuits designed for dogs can decrease their exposure to the sun. Keeping a shaded area for your dog to rest in can also be a help, especially when going to the beach.
My Pet Got a Sunburn Already
Despite your best intentions, your pet may still get a sunburn, skin cancer, or just a skin infection. If that is the case, hemp oil can provide much needed relief. REMEDY by CBD Dog Health is a great option to treat everything from rashes and sunburns to polyps and hematomas. It can also help treat skin cancer in your pet and may even prevent cancer. SOOTHE by CBD Dog Health also helps soothe bites and allergies that your dog may be experiencing from being outdoors more often during the summer.
Remember: your pet can’t tell you how they are feeling, so watching for signs of sun damage and providing relief when they experience it can make a huge difference in the life of your pup.
Angela Ardolino is a holistic pet expert who has been caring for animals for over 20 years, and operates a rescue farm, Fire Flake Farm, in Florida. She is also the owner of Beautify the Beast, a natural pet salon and shop. After getting her certificate in Medical Cannabis Biology and Therapeutic use from the University of Vermont School of Medicine, she founded CBD Dog Health to provide high quality, all-natural medical cannabis products designed specifically for pets. Angela has seven dogs, Odie a 12-year-old mini-schnauzer, Nina an 8-year-old Doberman. Jolene a 7-year-old mutt, Maza a 7-year-old mutt, Rhemi an 8-year-old poodle, Potato a 15-year-old shih-tzu, and Miss Daisie a 15-year-old black lab, plus 4-10 more at any time she is fostering or boarding. She uses Full Spectrum Hemp Extract on all her pets at her rescue farm every day, and has since 2016. She is a member of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, the Veterinary Cannabis Association and has trained hundreds medical doctors and veterinarians about the therapeutic uses of medical cannabis on animals. Visit www.angelaardolino.com for more information.