A dog with a woman in the outdoors

If your dog loves to have fun in the sun, you are not alone. Most dogs enjoy this time of year where they can be outdoors, swimming, hiking, walking, and hanging poolside with their owners. But, like us, dogs are susceptible to sunburn and other skin conditions, if they don’t have sun protection. Your dog may not be slathering on SPF 50 any time soon, but we should do our best to provide protection for their skin.

The Pet Experts at Springbrook Animal Care Center are here with some tips on keeping your pet cool and sunburn-free this summer and why sunscreen is important for them.

Why Sunscreen for Dogs?

Like us, dogs are susceptible to a variety of solar related skin problems, such as sunburn and cancerous tumors. The shorter or lighter your dog’s fur, the more likely they are to burn. But even well protected furry breeds have some exposed skin. 

Even with their fur coat, they are only protected from intense ultraviolet light for about 20 or 30 minutes, Light, pink pigment is more likely to develop sunburn, as well as very short fur or white fur. Certain breeds are more at risk, too, such as:

  • Boxers
  • Stratshire terrier
  • Shorthaired pointers
  • Pitbulls
  • Bull terrier

When a dog is outdoors a lot, they can develop rashes, dry skin, sunburn, hair loss, and other disorders of the skin, so using sunblock and other forms of sun protection is a must.

Applying Sunscreen to Your Dog

No, you don’t need to douse your doggo in sunblock. There is a technique to it. You can rely on your pet’s fur for some protection, while you pay close attention to exposed areas. It’s also a good thing to note that shaving your dog not only increases their chance of burning it also makes them hotter, since fur is a good barrier to heat.

To begin,

  1. Gather your sunscreen for dogs (make sure it is formulated for dogs and isn’t human grade sunscreen).
  2. Apply the sunblock to the tips of your dog’s tail, the bridge of the nose, around the lips, under the arms, over the torso, belly, and groin, and any other open areas.
  3. Give your pet something to chew on, such as a Kong filled with peanut butter, or a dental chew. This is to distract them while the sunblock absorbs into the skin.
  4. Wait for 20 minutes before heading out.
  5. If your dog gets into water, reapply sunscreen after they are toweled off.


You can also use sun protective clothing for pets as an added precaution. These garments are designed to keep your dog cool and out of UV rays.

Every Pet Needs Sun Protection

Preventing sunburn isn’t the only thing to be concerned with, since pets who are outside can easily dehydrate or become overheated. Protect your furry one by providing shade and water at all times, avoiding the hottest parts of the day to exercise and play. If your pet is panting or seems uncomfortable, take them into a cool area to relax. 

If we can answer any more questions about why your pet needs sun protection, we are here for you. Just give us a call or inquire with us about the right sunscreen for your Fido friend at your next visit with us. Stay safe and enjoy!