dog sunscreen

     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!

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Dog sunscreen options

     There are so many options for doggy sunscreens on the market. However, because of the nature of sunscreen, it is important to use only the highest quality products. Sunscreen is safe for dogs, but you will want to purchase one specifically designated as “dog sunscreen.” We know it can be hard to narrow down the options, that’s why we’ve done the work for you! Below, you can find a list of our top nine favorite and trusted doggy sunscreens. Not only are the sunscreens on this list safe for your dog, but they are budget-friendly as well!

     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!

#9 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!

#8 Dr. Schmedley's pet sol screen

    At 30 SPF, the Dr. Schmedley’s Pet Sol Screen will provide necessary UV protection for your pup. This organic dog sunscreen is veterinarian approved and formulated, so you can be sure they have your dog’s best interests in mind. Made with organic and natural ingredients, this sunscreen is PABA-free and non-greasy. Although safe for humans, PABA is absolutely toxic for dogs. Organic dog products are always a nice find, because it gives you peace of mind that it is safe for your pet. Plus, the spray application makes it easy to apply!

     When putting this sunscreen on your dog’s face and nose, first spray it into your hands then rub onto their face. Regarding ingredients, it contains titanium dioxide and essential oils. Titanium dioxide is what blocks the sun’s harmful UV rays while the essential oils repel insects. In addition, the essential oils help provide aromatherapy to your dog and soothe them. Another plus to this sunscreen is that it moisturizes your dog’s coat and skin when used.

      While this sunscreen has many positive features, we rank it at number eight due to the lack of consumer feedback. This sunscreen is adequate but not excellent. It comes in a four-ounce bottle that will last decently well with smaller dogs but not at all with larger breeds. For continuous protection throughout the day, this sunscreen needs to be applied multiple times. Also, it is not waterproof and therefore has to be reapplied every time your dog gets wet.

#7 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!  

#6 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.

#5 Beach & dog Co. canine sunscreen

     The Beach & Dog Co company is by far our favorite company, and  would be rated at number one if we were rating dog product companies. All their products are handmade right here in the USA. Using all natural and organic ingredients, they are able to list the ingredients in plain language for us to comprehend. They understand that dogs will lick anything, especially products put on them. This is why they make their sunscreen zinc and titanium oxide free, both of which are toxic to dogs. As if all the above reasons aren’t good enough, Beach & Dog Co also donate a portion of all sales to local dog shelters!

      While we are in love with the company, we are not as in love with their sunscreen. The sunscreen is made with wholesome ingredients that are safe for your dog, however, none of the ingredients are an active sun blocker. While the product works for some dogs as a sun protectant, some dogs still got severely burned when using this sunscreen. The nourishing qualities of this sunscreen make it more of a healing balm than a sunscreen.

     A pro to this sunscreen is that it comes in a variety of sizes. There is a convenient 2oz. twist stick and an 8oz. container. If your dog has light fur and sensitive skin, we would pass on this as sunscreen. However, if you think this might still work for your dog, we recommend it based off of the wonderful efforts of the company!

#4 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.

#3 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.

#2 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.

     Petkin Doggy Sunscreen 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.

     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.

#1 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.

Dangers of Human Sunscreen

     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.


Where and When to Apply Dog Sunscreen

      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.

      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. However, 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!

     Going boating with your dog? Make sure to check out our Boat Safety for Dogs article to make sure your trip is fun for everyone!

How to Apply Sunscreen on Fido

     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.

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.