Warm weather is just around the corner, so it’s time to take an in-depth look at the best dog sunscreens! While you may be worried about your tan, your dog is most certainly not even aware of what tan means. In fact, the sun can turn into enemy #1 for doggie health when it comes to the warmer months. Just like humans, dogs can get sunburnt!
Sunburn for dogs is very painful, causing sore, red, inflamed areas of skin and can even lead to skin cancer. Many dogs love to lay in the sun and soak up the rays, making it important to protect them with sunblock. While some human sunscreen is okay for dogs, most are not. It is important to have sunscreen especially made to protect our four-legged friends. In this article, we will discuss the harms of not using sunscreen and other tips for keeping your dog protected. Most importantly, we will discuss our favorite pet-friendly sunscreens!
featured pick: warren london premium sunscreen
Warren London produces a top of the line sunscreen that is made in the USA. Whether your precious pup is dressed in a long, luscious coat or a short, silky coat, Warren London’s Premium Dog Sunscreen is great for dogs of all kinds. Warren London’s sunscreen is made from safe and non-toxic ingredients that are quick to dry. This means that the easy to use spray is safe for your pup to ingest once it dries on their coat. While we do NOT recommend allowing your dog to ingest any sunscreens of any kind, accidents happen and you’ll find peace in knowing that your pup is less at risk for getting sick from licking their product. For more about Warren London’s Premium Dog Sunscreen, jump down in our article to read more about it.
Table of Contents
- How to use dog sunscreen
- Other ways to protect from the sun
The Dangers of Human Sunscreen on Dogs
Most human sunscreens contain one main ingredient: zinc oxide. While zinc oxide is helpful to us humans in protecting our skin, it is toxic to dogs. The zinc oxide commonly found in cream sunscreens damages dog’s red blood cells. Potentially, it can even cause the blood cells to burst, requiring a blood transfusion for your dog. It is not worth the risk to supplement human sunscreen for Fido. Even if you read the labels carefully, we recommend skipping human sunscreen altogether for your dog. Instead, you can protect them properly with a canine grade sunscreen. In the end, you may find yourself thinking about water other safety precautions you can take for Fido during the Summertime heat. You can read up with our Summer Guide For Dogs!
The Best Sunscreen for Dogs
Before we dive right into all of our favorite summer sun protections, we will introduce you to our favorite, the Warren London Premium Sunscreen. The Warren London Premium Sunscreen is an all natural sunscreen made in the USA that is even safe for humans to use! If you’ve got a pup with some sensitive skin or even a dog with a short, light colored coat, the Warren London Premium sunscreen is the best choice for you. Jump down to the Warren London section to read all about our favorite, easy-to-use doggy sunscreen.
Budget Pick: Natural Dog Snout Soother
natural and organic ingredients
easy to apply
contains kukui oil and shea butter
Natural Dog Snout Soother is a compact stick sunscreen. Being a compact stick makes this sunscreen super easy to apply! Made with all natural and organic ingredients, this doggy sunscreen protects skin from harmful UV rays and also heals already damaged skin. The kukui oil acts as a moisturizer and a natural sunscreen. Shea butter is also a key ingredient. It acts as a natural emollient (retains moisture) to keep your dog’s skin healthy, protected, and hydrated. There are lots of other natural ingredients in this incredible doggy shampoo that will soothe and heal your dog’s skin.
This sunscreen is vegan friendly!! It is made in the USA and recommended by veterinarians all over the globe. Customers call this product a miracle in a stick. While this product may run a bit on the pricey side, the Natural Dog Snout Soother is worth every penny you put into it!
Best Bargain: Gerrard Larriett Aromatherapy Pet Care
The Gerrard Larriett Aromatherapy Pet sunscreen is both a sunscreen and skin moisturizer. Made in the USA, this sunscreen is veterinarian approved. When it comes to ingredients, this sunscreen formula contains essential oils and both UVA and UVB inhibitors. Another bonus of this sunscreen is that it is cruelty-free and biodegradable, so you can feel good about your purchase.
It only comes in one size option at 8oz., which is a decent amount for all dog sizes. There have been some complaints of a rash due to this product. As with all products, it is important to test a small portion of your dog’s skin before full use. Another cause of concern is the design of the bottle. While the image and description indicate that it is a spray bottle, not all customers have received the spray nozzle. Some of the bottles sent out just had a regular twist cap. Besides those mishaps, this sunscreen is an excellent choice for dogs that will be casually in the sun and need protection.
A Great Pick For Hairless Dogs!
The Gerrard Larriett Aromatherapy Pet Sunscreen contains twice as much sunscreen as their competitors for the same price. That means you can essentially can get more for less and for hairless dogs, this can be especially nice since you’ll probably have to use higher amounts more often.
We’ve noticed that hairless dogs are prone to sensitive, dry, and problem skin. The Garrett Larriett Aromatherapy Pet Sunscreen also doubles as a skin conditioner! Use this product to moisturize your pup’s skin while fighting off the sun’s harsh UV rays at the same time.
Warren London Premium sunscreen
Warren London Premium sunscreen is hands down our number one pick! We rate this sunscreen at number one for a multitude of reasons. Warren London is THE luxury brand of dog spa and grooming products. All of their products are not only safe for dogs but also human grade and human tested! They know that harmful chemicals are not regulated well in the pet industry, which is why they only use all natural products to completely avoid those chemicals. Made right here in the USA, this sunscreen has all the best features of the other dog sunscreen options and more! The convenient spray nozzle makes this sunscreen easy to apply all over your dog.
Made with aloe vera, this sunscreen moisturizes your dog’s skin while protecting it. Comparable to SPF 15 for humans, this non-oily, non-greasy dog sunscreen is a no-brainer for dog parents! The formula dries quickly so your dog will not be able to lick off the sunscreen as easily. Plus, it does not build up on your dog’s coat or need to be washed off after use. The all natural ingredients are safe for even the most sensitive skin.
An excellent product backed by an even more excellent company makes the Warren London Sunscreen our favorite option for your dog. Even though it is a luxury brand, you don’t have to pay a luxury price for this! You can expect to dish out under $13 for the 4oz. spray bottle. A light misting is all that’s needed to protect your dog for hours, so the 4oz. bottle is the perfect size for all dogs.
Petkin doggy sunmist
Comparable to SPF 15 for humans, this sunscreen offers excellent coverage for your pets’ sensitive areas. Made with a non-greasy, non-toxic formula that is easy to apply, we rank this sunscreen at number two. To use, simply mist your dog’s belly, ears, nose, and entire coat for lighter, shorter haired dogs. After applying sunscreen, you should watch your dog carefully so they do not try to lick it off. The sunscreen needs to set for a few minutes to make it the most effective. When playing in the water, reapply sunscreen when your dog gets out and dries off.
This sunscreen for dogs also only comes in a 4oz. bottle. It sometimes leaves a white residue on your pets skin/coat. However, this residue can be wiped away by simply running your hands over your dog. Similar to the other mists, spray in your hands first to rub onto your pet’s face and nose.
Epi-Pet dog sun protector
Epi-Pet Sun Protector is a veterinarian developed skin treatment that is FDA compliant for use on dogs and horses. This sunscreen for dogs protects your dog’s skin from the sun’s harmful rays, even through their coat of fur or hair. In an easy to use sleek bottle design, this can be sprayed from any angle, making application easy. Spraying your dog’s belly, legs, feet and other hard to reach areas is made simple with this conveniently designed spray valve.
Made with a non-greasy, non-oily solution, Epi-Pet Sun Protector offers full sun protection without making your dogs fur/hair gross. Even though its not waterproof, this sunscreen does seem to last through a dip or two in the water. However, be sure to reapply as you feel necessary. It is important to let the sunscreen soak into your dog’s skin for effectiveness. Simply distract with a treat to deter from licking the sunscreen off and you’re good to go! To apply to your dog’s face and nose, spray first into your hands then rub onto their face.
Also in a 4oz. bottle, Epi-Pet sunscreen will not last long for bigger dogs. However, we rank this sunscreen at number three due to the unique design of the spray valve that allows easy spray at any angle.
petkin doggy sun stick
Here’s another doggy sunscreen option from Petkin except in stick form! This Petkin Doggy Sun Stick is an awesome alternative to the traditional cream sunscreen. The sunscreen comes in a deodorant-like tube that makes application to your dog’s nose and exposed skin easy. However, this is not an effective form of sunscreen for animals with long hair, because it is nearly impossible to get onto the skin through a thick coat of fur. If your dog has a long or thick coat that will protect their skin from the sun and they just need their noses protected, this is a good option. This limitation (but not deal-breaker) is why our team placed it as our number four pick.
Just like the mist, Petkin’s doggy sun stick has a human grade SPF15. Plus, it has a delightful vanilla coconut scent that leaves your dog smelling like the beach! We have noticed that some dogs are sensitive to the smell so that is something to keep in mind. If your dog is particularly adverse to smells, finding a fragrance free sunscreen will be a better option.
my dog nose it!
My Dog Nose It! is an adorable brand that specializes in balms for your dog. Their sunscreen is specifically made just for your dog’s nose which is why we rank them at number eight. While we love the company and presentation of this product, this balm does not cover large areas like other dog sunscreen options. If your dog needs full coverage, pairing the My Dog Nose It! balm with another sunscreen will be your best option.
Fortunately, this dog sunscreen balm is made in the USA with all-natural ingredients that are safe for your dog. With no smell and moisturizing factors, this dog sunscreen is viable for dogs with sensitive skin. The moisturizing properties come as a bonus, because it helps heal cracked or scabbed noses. Additionally, you can use the sunscreen balm on elbows, ears, and paws; we love the versatility it provides! Although this sunscreen is water resistant, it needs to be reapplied every two hours when playing in the water.
It comes in two options, both relatively small which may seem disappointing. However, a little goes a long way with this balm. There is a 0.5-ounce option or a 2-ounce option for bigger dogs. The thick consistency makes it easy to scoop and spread on your dog’s nose. Also, its non-greasy formula leaves your dog’s nose and face pet-able so you can keep loving on them!
Petkin Doggy Sun Wipes
Petkin’s Doggy Sunscreen wipes put a unique twist on canine sunscreen. The easy-to-use wipes make applying sunscreen to your dog as simple as it gets. With an SPF 15 and non-greasy formula, these wipes earned a spot on our top ten list. The pack comes with 20 individual wipes that are similar to baby wipes, which are a generously large size. One should be sufficient to cover a small to average dog’s exposed skin. However, you may need to use more than one to completely cover larger dogs. While these seem convenient and unique, there are some issues; this is why we rank these wipes at number nine.
If the package is not re-sealed properly, the wipes will quickly dry out. Also, sometimes the wipes are delivered dried out before you even open them. Once they dry out, there is nothing you can do to “revive” them. Since the wipe is sometimes dry and also not a spray, it is hard to tell where you already applied sunscreen. No moisture or residue is left on the skin.
Compared to Petkin’s other sunscreens, these wipes are definitely our least favorite. If the convenience of wipes is all you’re looking for, try these out. However, if you don’t want to question if your dog is protected, we suggest reading further and finding a more suitable sunscreen for your dog!
How to Use Dog Sunscreen
How does sunscreen work?
Sunscreen is used to help filter out UV radiation that can burn your pup’s skin. They use a mixture of organic and inorganic ingredients protect your dog’s skin. Inorganic ingredients give your dog a shield that will reflect and scatter UV waves. Organic ingredients absorb the UV rays and release their energy as heat.
Where Should I Apply Sunscreen on my dog?
Unfortunately, dogs with shorter hair and lighter hair colors are even more susceptible to sunburn. However, it is probably a good idea for all dogs should wear sunscreen. Especially on their noses. The hair is usually shortest right on the “bridge” of your dog’s nose leaving them dangerously exposed.
By now, you’ve probably wondered how you’re going to apply sunscreen to your squirmy dog. Assistant Professor of Veterinary Dermatology, Dr. Christina Cain, noted that, “You don’t have to apply to areas with hair because they’re usually well protected,” which implies that heavily covered areas like your dog’s back, tails, chests, and legs are usually protected from the sun’s harsh rays. Dr. Cain also said that since a dog’s paws typically have thicker, darker skin and are facing down, that sunscreen can be skipped.
When Should I apply sunscreen on my dog?
Apply sunscreen on your dog during any prolonged sun exposure, especially during summertime. For hairless or nearly hairless dogs, apply sunscreen before every outing when the sun is at its peak. Most dogs should have sunscreen during:
prolonged outside visits or walks
It is even more vital to use dog sunblock if you are going to be by water, where the sun’s harmful rays are magnified and reflected. This includes the beach, by the lake, or out on the boat. Specifically for boating, make sure to check out our Boat Safety for Dogs article to make sure your trip is fun for everyone!
However, we highly suggest using dog sunscreen on your pup’s most exposed areas during any lengthy period our in the summer sun. As a pro tip, before heading to your adventure, take a couple minutes to test any new dog sunscreen on a small patch of your pup’s skin. If any irritation is to occur, this testing phase will allow to minimize the effects and return your product stat! Similar to humans, you should plan to reapply your dog’s sunscreen every couple hours. The most important time to have sunscreen on your dog is from 10am to 2pm. During these few hours, the sun’s rays are the strongest and your dog is most likely to get a sun burn.
why it is important to use sunscreen for your dog
All dogs are susceptible to sunburn. Some more than others, but all are still able to be burned! Dogs are quite similar to humans. Like humans, sunburns can cause a long list of health issues if the burn is moderate to severe. Certain dog breeds are more at risk than others. For example, a short haired dog like a Chihuahua or a Great Dane is more likely going to get a sunburn than a long haired dog like a husky or retriever.
Health issues related to over exposure to sun or severe sunburns include sunburn, skin irritations, and skin cancer. Sunscreen is a key factor is preventing these health issues while still being able to enjoy all the fun parts of life!
If you have any questions or concerns regarding health concerns or which sunscreen is going to be best for your dog, give your trusted vet a call!
How to Apply Sunscreen on your Dog
Any sunscreen can be difficult to apply to your dog, because sitting still is not their favorite activity. For the sunscreen to be effective, it must soak into your dog’s skin. This means that your dog can not immediately lick it off. To properly apply sunscreen to your dog, we recommend distracting them with a favorite treat or toy. Giving them a chew treat that will last long enough for the sunscreen to soak into their skin is the best option.
Another tricky part about applying sunscreen is that your dog may not like to be sprayed. To get them comfortable with being sprayed, we suggest letting your pup sniff out the bottle first. Next, you can spray it in the air (or even on yourself) to show Fido how harmless it will be.
Other Ways to Protect Your Dog from the Sun
Other than using dog sunscreen, there are some further methods to help protect your pooch from the sun’s rays.
1. Find some shade
First, dogs will naturally try to find a cool, shaded area when they start to feel hot. Especially in your own yard, you will need to find a way to incorporate shade if you don’t already have one. This could be natural trees and brush or man-made structures like awnings and pergolas. If you’re interested in adding some much-needed shade to your yard, head on over to Backyard Shade Options for Your Dog.
If you don’t want to jump over to another article, take a quick look at our top pick! Our favorite shade option for dogs is the Pawhut Cooling Dog Cot with Canopy.
The Pawhut Cooling Dog Cot is elevated off the ground to encourage the maximum amount of airflow for your dog. The very durable dog bed has a sturdy and breathable mesh fabrics to make sure that your dog can stay refreshed and sheltered from the sun on a hot day. Whether you’re lounging by the pool or enjoying a picnic on your patio, now your dog can be apart of all your favorite activities while staying cool and relaxed.
2. USE DOG CLOTHING
Although dog sunscreen is an easy and relatively effective method of preventing dog sunburn, you can add an extra layer with dog clothing. Especially with the sun’s rays beaming directly down on their nose, head, and back, having a dog swim suit or hat gives a definitive barrier. This is highly recommended for hairless or almost hairless dogs because they are very prone to sun damage. The Best Dog Swimsuits will guide you through the best options for both rugged function and adorable fashion.