Is dog sun cream lotion necessary?

With the recent heat wave, everyone has been reaching for the sun lotion to protect against harmful UV rays – but what about your dog?  Should your dog wear sun lotion on a hot sunny day? Surely his fur will protect him, right?

Actually, there are certain breeds that would benefit from having sun lotion when the weather outside is searing.  Holidays4Dogs looks into how your dog can be protected with sun cream and which products are best.

Just like people, dogs can get sun burnt too and they can suffer from red, inflamed skin which can lead to damage and hair loss.  As with humans, constant exposure to strong sun can also lead to skin cancer in dogs.

There are quite a few breeds of dog that can feel the negative effects of sunburn and many of these breeds are typically dogs with white fur – bulldogs, whippets, greyhounds, westies and dalmatians, to name but a few.  Hairless breeds such as they Chinese crested are also highly susceptible to sunburn.

Dogs with white or pale short fur are at greater risk of the sun’s rays penetrating down to the skin underneath and this can cause sunburn.

So, indeed there is a good case for putting sun lotion on your dog, particularly if they are a white coated dog.  If the sun is scorching any dog will benefit from the application of sun cream to his nose, tips of the ears, groin and belly (where the fur is often much thinner, leaving the skin exposed).  Dogs that enjoy ‘sunbathing’ will most certainly be safer if they do so with an application of sun cream.

However, if you choose to put sun cream on your dog, it must be one that has been specifically formulated for him.  Human products often contain zinc, which is harmful to dogs if they ingest it when licking their fur or skin.  Even products that are meant for human babies still contain zinc, so do not apply these to your pet thinking they will be safer.

When you use sun lotion for your dog for the first time, apply it first to a very small area to make sure his skin has no reaction to it.

There are, of course, other ways to make sure your dog is protected from the sun and remember that dogs suffer from heatstroke just like we do too.  Limit exposure to strong sun during the day by keeping him indoors, or making sure he is in the shade.  Provide plenty of water to keep him hydrated and keep vigorous exercise to a minimum during the hottest part of the day.  Many dogs enjoy splashing around in a paddling pool and a plastic kiddies paddling pool may be much appreciated in warm weather!

A couple of products we found available readily either on-line from UK companies are; Petkin Doggy Sunmist Spray and Hound Hemp skin, nose and paw balm with sun protection.  Both of these products are inexpensive and can be purchased from