The Best Dog Sunscreens You Can Buy To Protect Your Pup From The Sun

Dogs need sun protection, too!

dog sunscreen spray and balm

Wearing sunscreen is super important to protect yourself from sunburns, but did you know that dogs need sunscreen, too?

It might not seem necessary for dogs, since most pups are covered in fur, but dogs can get sunburnt in areas that don’t have a lot of hair, like their bellies.

We reached out to Dr. Jacqueline Brister, a veterinarian and consultant for Embrace Pet Insurance, to find out what to look for in dog sunscreen and how to apply it to your pup.

According to Dr. Brister, the best sunscreens for dogs have an SPF equivalent of 15 or above, don’t contain any toxic ingredients, and ideally protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Try out some of these options below.

Do all dogs need sunscreen?

All dogs can benefit from sunscreen, but there are certain pups who need it more than others.

“Dogs that need sunscreen the most are those that have areas of hairless skin or short fur and less pigmentation [color] in their skin,” Dr. Brister told The Dodo. “Dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors are also in higher need of sunscreen than primarily indoor dogs.”

Dog sunscreen helps prevent sunburn (yes, dogs can get sunburnt) and issues that can be caused by sun exposure, like skin cancer, so it’s definitely a good idea to use it on your pup, even if he has thick fur.

What to look for in sunscreen for dogs

When looking for sunscreen for dogs, pick one that’s made specifically for dogs.

“Brands that are fragrance-free and contain both UVA and UVB protection are ideal,” Dr. Brister said. “SPF 15 to 30 should be sufficient.”

If you’re in a pinch, some sunscreens for babies are OK to use on your dog. “However, avoid using any sunscreens that have warnings about accidental ingestion, even those that are baby-safe,” Dr. Brister said. “Dogs are notorious for licking sunscreen right off once it is applied, and we don’t want them to ingest something toxic.” Some ingredients in sunscreens that can be toxic to dogs include zinc oxide and para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA).

And if your pup has sensitive skin that can get irritated by sunscreen, UV-protective dog clothing can be useful to cover his body.

How to use dog sunscreen

You should apply sunscreen any time your dog is outside for a long period of time. And you may have to reapply after a few hours or after swimming, just like you do with regular sunscreen.

Test the sunscreen on a small area of skin first so you can make sure your pup doesn’t get irritated by it.

Once you confirm that your dog does fine with the sunscreen, you can apply it to all the areas that are most exposed to the sun. The main places you should apply sunscreen are any spots without hair and especially white or pink skin, which can get more easily burned.

“The belly, ears, nose and around the mouth are areas that might need sunscreen the most,” Dr. Brister said. “In general, apply sunscreen anywhere you see exposed skin. Be careful to not get any sunscreen in the eyes.”

According to Dr. Brister, for areas like the nose where your pup can easily lick or rub the sunscreen off, lip balm with SPF can be used to last longer.

Best dog sunscreen

Best overall dog sunscreen: Epi-Pet K-9 Care Sunscreen

This is the only FDA-compliant dog sunscreen you can buy. It’s a non-greasy formula, and it has an SPF equivalent of 30 that protects against UVA and UVB rays.

Best natural dog sunscreen: My Dog Nose It Moisturizing Sun Protection Balm for Dogs’ Noses

This balm is easy to apply to your dog’s paws and nose. It’s made with all-natural and moisturizing ingredients, like coconut oil, to protect your pup and soothe dry skin. Plus, it’s water resistant.

Best dog sunscreen stick: Petkin SPF 15 Doggy Sun Stick

This sunscreen stick is convenient for reapplications and to carry with you on walks. The non-greasy formula contains the mineral titanium dioxide to safely protect your pup.

Best dog sunscreen wipes: Petkin SPF 15 Doggy Sun Wipes

These wipes are perfect for quick applications. They come in a resealable package to keep them moist, and they’re made with a non-sticky and non-greasy formula.

Protecting your pup’s skin from the sun is just as important as protecting yourself, so be sure to apply dog sunscreen when you’re out in the sun all day.

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