Why sunscreen and sun protection is so important for dogs

dogs sunscreen

We’ve been taught to slip, slop, slap from a young age, but did you know that sun protection is just as important for dogs as it is for us?

That’s right – just like humans, dogs need sunscreen, too!

Why do dogs need sun protection?

Summer is just around the corner, and whilst La Niña is wreaking havoc on the sunshine, it’s very important that you keep your dog sun-safe and protected from the elements – here’s why: 

  • Sunburn in dogs can be painful and cause red and irritated skin
  • Dogs that have been over-exposed to the sun run the risk of developing skin cancer.
  • Sunburn usually affects body parts that don’t have much hair cover, which can lead to itchy and scaly skin, as well as hair loss.
  • Too much sun can also result in heatstroke as body temperature rises. Heatstroke symptoms include weakness, confusion and in extreme cases, organ failure.

Avoiding the hottest times of the day is one of the best ways to keep your pet sun-safe, but for some breeds, sunscreen may be necessary due to them suffering more than others whether it be due to shorter hair and lighter skin. For more susceptible breeds you should limit their time in the sun, particularly during hot temperatures to prevent overheating and dehydration. We recommend taking particular care if you have a Bull Terrier, a Pit Bull, Dalmatian, a French Bulldog or even a Boxer. 

On those hot and sunny days, always watch out for any signs of sunburn. If you notice anything, apply a cool compress and if it worsens or starts to become more severe, always consult your vet.   

Which sunscreen is best for your dog?

Using sunscreen is a great way to protect our puppers from the harsh rays of the sun, but we need to make sure that the formula is safe for them.

Dogs tend to lick themselves and because of this, may accidentally ingest the sunscreen. Therefore, the sunscreen you choose should not contain zinc oxide or para-aminobenzoic. These two ingredients are toxic to dogs if ingested.

The ideal sunscreen is waterproof, unscented and has an SPF of 30 or higher.

How to apply your dog’s sunscreen

There are a few steps you’ll need to take when applying sunscreen to your pup:

  • Do a patch test to make sure your pupper has no reaction.
  • Once no reaction has been detected, rub sunscreen on areas most exposed to the sun. This includes the nose, tips of ears, the skin around their lips, groin, inner thighs and any areas where your dog has sparse skin or light pigmentation.
  • Monitor your dog for 15 minutes after application – this will give the sunscreen time to absorb and you can make sure your pup hasn’t licked it off. 
  • Re-apply regularly, especially if your dog is swimming or is in the sun for a long period of time.

Lyka: nutritious whole food recipes for skin health

Formulated by our in-house Integrative Vet, Dr. Matthew Muir, our meals are complete and balanced for all life stages, and contain a mix of antioxidant-rich ingredients that can help to protect against damage caused by the sun’s harmful UV rays. These powerful ingredients include leafy greens, blueberries, chia seeds, flaxseed oil, hemp seeds and of course, carrots, with your pup’s body converting the beta carotene into Vitamin A for optimal skin health. You can find a drool-worthy mix of these ingredients across our five recipes.