What Sunscreen is Safe for Dogs? Check Our 3 Best Finds!

Like humans, dogs need sunscreen too! If your pooch loves basking under the sun, you should get a dog sunscreen that suits the pet. Also, you should use it on your doggo if you’re planning to take them to your beach getaway. So the question is this: what sunscreen is safe for dogs? In this post, we will help you find the best option together with our top 3 finds in the market during our pet supplies shopping spree.

Can’t read through the entire article? Here are our top 3 sunscreen options in a nutshell:

SUNSCREENBRANDEXPERT
RATING
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Epi-Pet Sun
Protector Spray
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Petkin Doggy
Sunmist
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Chris Christensen Ice
on Ice Conditioner w/
Sunscreen
Check Price


Why use sunscreen on canines?

Dogs can sustain sunburns too if they get exposed in direct sunlight for long. This is very evident among canines with thinner coats like French Bulldogs, Pugs, Pit Bulls, Chihuahuas, and Vizslas.

If you let your dog play outdoors during a hot, summer day, you have to watch out for signs of sunburns. It includes red and inflamed skin as well as pain when the coat is touched. For prolonged exposure to intense sunlight, sunburns can also cause balding and scaling due to the dry skin.

According to Dr. Richard Goldstein of Animal Medical Center in New York City, it’s important to put sunscreen on dogs. Just like humans, dogs with no protection from UV rays are susceptible to skin cancers.

Aside from that, dogs can overheat due to intense exposure to heat and the sun.

The veterinarian recommends applying sunscreen to dogs between 10 am to 4 pm where UV rays are usually at peak. It’s important to re-apply the sunscreen as it can be washed out if your dog is playing in the water or rolling on the ground.

It’s very important to apply sunscreen on your dog’s nose and lips aside from its skin. The nose and lips of your dog dry fast, which can lead to cracking and eventual pain.

Take note that dogs have a higher risk of getting a sunburn than most humans. In fact, some canines can sustain sunburns even if the sun isn’t fully cast. So if the sun is giving your skin penetrating warmth, it’s best to apply sunscreen to your pooch.


Can I use human sunscreen on my doggo?

We don’t encourage the use of human sunscreen to canines, especially if your pooch has sensitive skin. This is the same reason why there are dedicated sunscreen products for dogs. Such products are formulated to suit the biochemistry of the dog’s skin, which is very different from humans.

However, if a dog sunscreen is handy, you can use a broad-spectrum sunscreen for babies. These products have gentler formulas, but we extremely warn that you should always read the label. If you’re not sure if the human sunscreen is non-toxic, you might as well purchase dog sunscreen instead. It’s safer and unlikely to harm your dog. Below, we reviewed three of the best options we found in the market.

To give you an idea, you should avoid using sunscreen to your dog if it has zinc oxide and para-aminobenzoic acid or PABA. These are toxic to your dog. Remember that canines love licking their bodies, much so if something foreign is applied to it.

If you’re in doubt, you should consult a veterinarian to ask for a recommendation.


How to apply sunscreen to your dog

Applying sunscreen to a dog is pretty straightforward. Just rub or spray the formula on your dog’s body and make sure that the pooch doesn’t lick its body for at least 15 minutes. This is enough time for the sunscreen to be absorbed on the skin. Still, you should read the instructions on the label as each product differs.

Also, you should apply sunscreen about 20 minutes before your dog goes out under the sun. And for optimal coverage, you must re-apply the sunscreen every four hours. Some formulas can last for up to six hours.


Types of dog sunscreens

So what sunscreen is safe for dogs? Usually, there are four common types of sunscreen used among canines. It could be in lotion, spray, balm, or wipe form.

-Lotion

This is by far the most common sunscreen for humans, but not for dogs. Lotion sunscreens can be applied by rubbing it throughout the dog’s skin.

-Sprays

Sprays are more convenient options if you don’t like want to do the hassle of rubbing the lotion into your dog’s coat. It’s also the most common type used on canines. Just spray it onto the skin while avoiding the eyes and nose as it can irritate the pooch.

-Balms

Balms are often used on the dog’s nose, lips, and paws. These are packed with natural oils that lock into the pet’s skin. It prevents drying and can also be formulated with a sunscreen benefit. However, you should read the label very well as dog balms don’t always have protection against UV rays.

-Wipes

Lastly, there are wipes packed with the same substances used on lotion and spray sunscreens. You simply have to wipe this throughout your dog’s body. It also helps remove any superficial dirt on the animal’s coat.


What to look when buying a dog sunscreen

-UVA or UVB protection

Take note that SPF protection on human sunscreen uses zinc oxide, which is toxic for canines. Instead, you must look for one with UVA (Ultraviolet A-Rays) or UVB (Ultraviolet B-Rays) protection. This is enough to protect your dog from the harmful rays of the sun without any toxic ingredients.

-Coverage

How long does the sunscreen protect your dog? Coverage matters so you wouldn’t have to re-apply the formula frequently. Also, it will save you some bucks from purchasing bottle after bottle of sunscreen.

Usually, dog sunscreens can last for up to four hours because you need to re-apply it. Still, it depends on how long your dog is going to stay on the water.

-No fragrance

Dogs have a very sensitive sense of smell so you should avoid any product that has a very intense scent. This is very important if you’re going to apply the sunscreen on the lips and nose of the canine.

Your dog doesn’t appreciate any of the cool scents that you’ll find. As much as you want the nice whiff, do your pet a favor and skip the extra scent.

-Waterproof

If you’re taking your dog to the beach, you should look for a waterproof sunscreen. This type of product stays on your dog’s skin even if the animal gets soaked. This way, your pooch stays protected even if it’s playing on the water.

-Avoid toxic ingredients

Like what we mentioned earlier, you should avoid sunscreen products with PABA or zinc oxide. Our practice is that if you can’t pronounce an ingredient, do a quick research about it. The ingredient may be synthetic. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that it’s always toxic. Quick research still matters as it can save your dog from harm.

-Moisturizing effect

Aside from protecting your dog from the harm of UV rays, the sunscreen should also be loaded with moisturizing ingredients. This way, your dog receives double benefits from the product.


What Sunscreen is Safe for Dogs? Our 3 Best Finds!

OUR #1 CHOICE

OUR TOP PICK: Epi-Pet Sun Protector Spray
what sunscreen is safe for dogs

Product Name: Epi-Pet Sun Protector Spray

Product Description: If you’re looking for the most effective sunscreen for your pooch, we recommend the Epi-Pet Sun Protector Spray. It has a non-greasy feel that’s also non-oily for the quickest absorption on your dog’s skin. The Epi-Pet Sun Spray is FDA compliant for your peace of mind. And aside from protecting your dog from the harmful sunrays, this product contains skin and coat conditioner. As a 2-in-1 sunscreen, the Epi-Pet Spray is already a steal for its low price.

Offer price: $$$

Availability: InStock

  • Formula Quality
  • Coverage
  • Safety
  • Value for Money
Overall
4.9

Summary

Moreover, this product guards your dog against UVA and UVB that can cause skin cancers. And since it’s ultra-water-resistant, this is a good choice if you’re taking your dog to the beach. Overall, this has a sun protection level that’s equivalent to SPF 40 on human sunscreens.

Aside from all dog breeds, this is also safe to apply on horses. Its mild vanilla fragrance is a nice touch without overwhelming the pooch.

Pros

✔️Safe for facial application (rub using your hands instead of spraying)

✔️Ultra-water-resistant

✔️Suitable for all dog breeds

Cons

❌Not for dogs with healing wounds


RUNNERS-UP

Petkin Doggy Sunmist

what sunscreen is safe for dogs

Another option that we love is the Petkin Doggy Sunmist. This one has mild sun protection equivalent to SPF 15 on human sunscreens. If you’re taking your dog for a walk or at a beach under a less intense sun, this would be an ideal choice.

Just spray and rub it into your dog’s skin for excellent absorption. This has a non-greasy formula, which will be comfortable for almost all dog breeds. You can also use this on your dog’s nose, ears, and muzzle. But instead of spraying directly, spritz a small amount on your palms and rub it gently onto your dog’s face.

Based on our experience, this sun mist spray is best for dogs with very thin coats. If you have a thick-coated pet, the formula will just mix with the fur. Also, avoid applying this on white dogs as it has a mild color.

PROS
✔️Protects against UV rays
✔️Safe for facial application
✔️Smells great
CONS
.
❌Rated for SPF 15+ only
.


Chris Christensen Ice on Ice Conditioner w/ Sunscreen 

If you want a double action sunscreen, you should consider the Chris Christensen Ice on Ice Conditioner w/ Sunscreen. It’s primarily a leave-in conditioner and detangler formulated with sunscreen. So aside from protecting your dog from the harmful sun, it also conditions its coat. The best part here is that it’s a perfect choice for long-coated canines.

Moreover, this formula locks into the dog’s skin and serves as a barrier against harmful UV rays. The formula of this detangler-cum-sunscreen also adds elasticity to your dog’s skin. It also strengthens your dog’s fur to reduce breakage during brushing.

This is a great solution for matts if you’re not using it as a sunscreen.

PROS
✔️2-in-1 formula
✔️Ideal for long-coated canines
✔️Strengthens the coat
CONS
❌Not for intense exposure to sunlight
.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is Aloe vera gel safe for my dog?

A: If you’re using it to treat sunburns, then yes, Aloe vera gel is safe for canines as a topical remedy. The natural antiseptic properties of Aloe vera are excellent in soothing wounds. It also contains moisturizing compounds that will restore the plump skin of your pooch.

Q: Can my dogs get skin cancer from the sun?

A: Yes! Prolonged and repetitive exposure to UV rays with no protection can cause skin cancer among canines. Some of the most common forms of skin cancer on dogs are malignant melanoma, mast cell tumors, and squamous cell carcinoma.

Q: Why do dogs want to lie in the hot sun?

A: The most common reason here is that the early morning sun is toasty and cozy. Another is that dogs need sunlight to breakdown the oils in their skin. However, you should prevent them from prolonged exposure, especially during the scorching summer.

Q: Can dogs get sick from too much sun?

A: Yes! Aside from potential skin cancer and sunburns, dogs can have dried noses, lips, and heatstroke. Dehydration may also occur, which can be very deadly in just a matter of hours if not attended early on.

Q: How can I protect my dog’s nose from sunburn?

A: Aside from using sunscreen on your dog’s skin, you can apply a nose balm to protect your pooch’s snout. Like sunscreen, nose balms have to be re-applied several times a day for the best coverage. 


Final words

What sunscreen is safe for dogs? In this post, we reviewed three of the best options you can find in the market. Also, we gave a quick guide on how to choose the right sunscreen for your pooch. Make sure that you read the label to ensure that it’s safe for your pooch.

Have you chosen a sunscreen for your dog? Which one will you choose? Share your choice with us!