7 Best Dog Sunscreen Brands That Are Safe and Effective

Sun damage can do things like that to your dog. Although a dog’s coat acts as a natural barrier between their sensitive skin and harmful UV rays, extended periods of time spent outdoors can cause sunburn in dogs. Some dogs are more at risk of sunburn than others, but when the sun is out most of the day, pet owners need to buy and apply a good dog sunscreen that's safe and effective.

Moreover, not all areas of your dog's body are covered in thick, protective fur. Some particularly sensitive areas include the dog's nose, tips of the ears and the underbelly. Dogs with white coats and/or pink skin are especially vulnerable to sun damage if not protected by a dog sunscreen or always kept in shade, away from the sun.

Our pets are also susceptible to developing skin cancer which is an even bigger reason to consider putting a good pet friendly sunscreen on your canine companion before going for a long walk or hike on a sunny day. On cloudy days, UV rays can be even stronger thus sun protection is important if you plan to spend a lot of time outside with your dog.

There are several products in the pet care market specifically designed to safeguard dogs from sun's ultraviolet damage (and subsequently from solar dermatitis and related issues) that are both efficient and safe. After testing and reviewing a number of these over a few years, we've picked out the best dog sunscreen brands that you can currently buy.

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When Should You Use Dog Sunscreen on Your Pet?

It's recommended to use a dog friendly sunscreen instead of human ones. Most sunscreens made for people contain zinc oxide, which is toxic to dogs. Pet-friendly sunscreens are completely safe if the dog licks it. In certain conditions and at certain times, sunscreen is absolutely essential to prevent dogs from getting sunburned.

(1) Long walks, hikes, camping. When you're going for a quick 15-30 minute walk around the block, your dog likely doesn't need to have sunscreen on. However, if you plan to spend at least a few hours or more in the sun, especially in the middle of afternoon, it's highly recommended to lather up your pooch in some sun protection cream.

(2) Dogs that love sun. While most pets will seek out shade, there are some who can only be labeled as sunbathing enthusiasts – they will enjoy lying in the open area right under the sun, letting their body consume harmful UV rays. If that's your pooch and he has open access to your backyard in summer, put on some sunscreen in the morning.

(3) Short hair, white fur, pink skin. These types of dogs are most vulnerable to sun damage, so if you have a short hair breed, a white fur dog or one with pink skin (or worse, a combination of all three), you'll have to use pet sunscreen constantly in summer to avoid UV damage.

(4) Hair loss. If your pooch is losing some hair due to age, and especially if he's losing a lot of hair due to some skin condition, you'll need to protect the skin with sunscreen. Note, however, that some conditions may be aggravated with sunscreen ingredients, even if it's pet-friendly brand, so consult with a veterinarian beforehand.

How to Apply Sunscreen on a Dog

Applying dog sunscreen on your pet is the same as applying it on a person. Do not cover all of your dog's body; instead, simply squirt a little bit on your finger tips and gently massage it over the area. It has to be particularly applied to your dog's ear tips, his nose and underbelly (as well as any other areas where the skin is exposed).

After you picked the right sunscreen for dogs that doesn't contain any zinc oxide, remember to first run a test. While pet sunscreens are safe for dogs, it's better to check first. So put a very small amount on the tip of your finger, and apply it to your dog's skin. Wait at least an hour, observing if there is any reaction. In most cases, your dog will be fine, but some pets had adverse reactions even to pet friendly sunscreen brands.

If sunscreen is not an option, or you need even more protection (going to a desert?) you can protect your pooch with sun protective clothing. Most of these are either cooling or well-ventilated so as not to get your dog hot, but at the same time provide better sun protection all over the dog's body.

The Best Dog Sunscreen Brands

1. Handy Hound Snout Screen for Dogs

A plastic tube applicator makes it easy for you to apply a protective layer of this organic, all-natural sunscreen to your dog’s nose (as well as other areas). Organic ingredients, such as lavender, raspberry, and carrot juice make this product safe if ingested by the dog.

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Handy Hound Snout Screen is also a natural bug repellent as well as a skin moisturizer, so you can rest easy during a sunny afternoon, knowing your dog is protected from all outdoor elements. Many owners even use this Snout Screen solely as a moisturizer, helping heal a dry, cracking nose. The Handy Hound brand prides itself on vegan and natural ingredients and also develops a popular product called Paw Butter for dogs with dry or cracked paw pads.


2. Petkin Doggy Sunstick Sun Protection for Dogs

Since the 1980’s the Petkin brand has been formulating and selling merchandise for household pets. Recently, they’ve launched initiatives to add and improve their organic product line by utilizing more organic ingredients.

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The Petkin Doggy Sunstick comes in a convenient tube applicator so application is easy and stress-free. Some of the ingredients include beeswax and mineral oil, however this is not a solely natural-ingredient product. Owners appreciate the Sunstick because of its non-oily texture and that it roughly equates to 15 SPF.

The petite packaging makes it easy to take along with you during outdoor excursions but may also be too small for owners of dogs who need large portions on a daily routine (such as canines with white coats and/or pink skin).


3. Petkin Dog Sunwipes

Another Petkin product that dog-owners love is their Doggy Sunwipes. However, it is not recommended for owners of double, thick, or long coated-dogs as the wipes can make it difficult to reach and treat the skin.

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It’s also not suggested for dogs with open sores or healing injuries as the ingredients of the wipes can sting or, worse, irritate and disrupt the healing process. The package comes with twenty wipes and the non-greasy formula means you can easily apply sunscreen to your pet without necessary or time-consuming clean up. While this is not a 100% organic product, ingredients include aloe and chamomile extract which are natural hydrants and offer a pleasing scent.


4. My Dog Nose It! Moisturizing Sun Balm for Dogs

The My Dog Nose It! brand specializes in canine-safe sunscreens and is owned and operated in the United States. This product is available as both a balm and a non-aerosol spray; however, the balm doubles as a moisturizer for your dog’s skin, nose, and paws.

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An active ingredient is cinnamon oil, with parabens and zinc not being present at all. The Sun Protection Balm is also quick-drying and water-proof, allowing any beach-loving dog to enjoy a full day of play without a worrisome owner. However, veterinarians recommend reapplying sunscreen immediately following time spend in water.


5. Epi-Pet Dog Sun Protector Spray

Epi-Pet is best known for its ability to boast raw materials all sourced within the United States not only for their canine and equine skincare line but also for their Omega Fatty Acids oral supplements.

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Epi-Pet’s sunscreen comes in a spray can and comes out as a light mist, allowing it to form a protective, quick-drying protective blanket over the dog’s coat and skin. When applied every two to four hours, your canine companion can enjoy a full afternoon of outdoor adventuring or a lengthy backyard nap without you worrying. This product is FDA-approved, veterinarian recommended, and safe for consumption should your dog choose to lick at their snout or groom themselves after application.


6. Beach and Dog Company Dog Sunscreen

The Beach and Dog Company is a non-corporate business owned and ran by a former veterinary professional. The U.S.-based company also sells pet accessories, such as baskets, leashes and collars as well as paw healing salves, hot spot relief items, as well as sunscreen.

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All ingredients are wholly organic plainly listed on the packaging with full transparency which helps a pet-owner feel confident in their ability to provide their pet with a safe, non-toxic sunscreen. Beach and Dog Co.’s sunscreen comes in a four-ounce container as a balm. With the main ingredients being coconut oil and shea butter, this product is also a natural salve for your dog’s skin, nose, and paws.


7. Sun Worshipper Dog Sunscreen

The Sun Worshipper brand is known for its commitment to cruelty-free, quality-ingredient products. Originally selling sunscreen to humans, this company now also has sunscreen specifically created for canines.

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The main ingredients include shea butter and olive oil which also naturally moisturize your pet’s sensitive nose. This product also contains zinc, and while some zinc is present in the typical dog’s diet, it can be toxic if they consume a large amount. To ensure this doesn’t occur, keep household products, including some of your pet’s accessories, in drawers or up high where they’re out of reach.  Alternatively, many animal-care professionals recommend crating your dog while you’re not home to better ensure they don’t get into potentially toxic items.

READ NEXT: How to Cool Down a Dog – 12 Good and 5 Bad Ways

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