Do Dogs Need Sunscreen?

As a rather fair-skinned individual, I've learned from a very early age: Sunscreen is my friend. Sunscreen protects me from painful, burning skin that eventually peels. More importantly, it saves me from skin cancer.

What about our dogs? They have a nice layer of fur that protects their skin. Right? Right?!

Well, come to find out they do but they don't. Fur protects their skin for the most part. But they can get sunburned, especially on those sensitive fur-free areas such as their pinkish noses. That's something I never even thought about!

For the most part, your dog may not need sunscreen – not like us. Dogs that love to bathe in the sun, hairless pooches, or dogs that will be spending a whole day in the sun are the ones that will need it. You don't have to slather it all over their bodies – Just focus on the areas not protected by their fur.

They can't just share our sunscreen, however. Choose one that is safe for dogs – without zinc oxide in it. Zinc oxide is common in sunscreens, so check those labels. Also, some dogs may have a negative reaction to sunscreens, so you might have to do other things to keep them safe: Provide shade, give them lightweight clothing with UV protection or just avoid long exposure to the sun.

If you have other suggestions or recommendations for sunscreens, share them in the comments. And let's have fun in the sun!

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