Protecting your dog is loving your dog!
On National Dog Day, let’s talk about the best way to love our dear four-legged pets— It begins with protecting them!
When you’re at the beach or on a walk with your furry friend, have you ever thought to yourself, “Hmmm, am I the only one being affected by the sun here or…?” Yeah, that’s crossed our mind too!
Just like humans, dogs are at risk of sunburn, especially in areas where there’s less fur covering their skin. Their ears, nose, belly, eyelids, and mouth are most vulnerable, ouch!
We know that people who experience frequent sunburns are at greater risk of illness, like cancer, and the same goes for dogs. In fact, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer among dogs. Let’s prevent that.
actually need sunscreen?
YES! It’s not just an old wives' tail.
Quick question—Did you know that dogs have built-in protection from the unique elements that make up their furry coat? How cool is that! Sadly, even fur can’t protect our beloved dogs from the powerful sun rays as just about 30 minutes of direct sun exposure can lead to sunburn for some.
Now you probably have a vivid memory of a time your skin went without protection a little too long in the summer sun, and hot take—we can probably assume you wouldn’t wish that upon anyone, human or canine.
Just like us, dogs can get a severe sunburn when spending time running around outside without protection. Their sunburn looks a whole lot like ours. When burnt, the pigment of a dog’s skin appears pink or red, notably on the areas with less fur. Their skin may even develop a tenderness to it that could also appear a bit itchy.
Dr. Tess House, DVM, chief veterinary officer for Heidi's Village , an animal rescue organization in Phoenix, Arizona, backs this by saying “Sun protection is a good idea for all pets whenever spending time outdoors.”
Now that we’ve covered the importance of SPF for our doggos, let’s talk about the best sunscreen for pups.
What kind of sunscreen is okay to use for my dog?
Before you reach for just any sunscreen in your cabinet, it’s important to note that many sunscreens made for humans contain ingredients that are toxic for dogs, such as zinc oxide.
When looking for dog-friendly SPF, you want them to keep an eye out for a few things...
1. The highest level of protection
We want to make sure our dogs are as protected as possible!
Snag a sunscreen that’s formulated without any fragrances as scents can upset your dog’s skin and nose.
If your dog is anything like our SoCal COOLA dogs, then we bet they’re constantly running in and out of the water. We want to help your dog to stay protected even when they decide to chase down a ball in the ocean or cannonball into the pool.
(Moose Mitchell in Baja California)
4. UVA and UVB protection
As a caring dog owner, look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen that provides both UVA and UVB sun protection to combat all the sun’s UV rays.
We recommend COOLA’s Classic Body Organic Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 - Fragrance Free as it embodies all the above! This outstanding organic sunscreen lotion offers advanced broad-spectrum protection in a water-resistant formula. It’s truly great for your tail-wagging pal in the sun and water.
When it’s time to apply the sunscreen on my dog, uh, how do I do that?
Okay, now that we’re squared away what to look for in dog-friendly SPF, let’s quickly break down how to apply it.
Before grabbing any SPF, it’s important to note that sunscreen is tested on humans and not on dogs, but here’s what we’ve learned from experts in the field.
When you begin to apply, start small. Dr. Millie Rosales DVM, DACVD, of Miami Veterinary Dermatology recommends a spot test, sharing that “Pet owners may want to apply the sunscreen to a small area on the body first to see if it causes a reaction before using it all over the body.”
While applying, be intentional around the less furry, exposed areas of your dog by fully covering the sensitive areas with sunscreen, i.e. the nose, ears, belly, etc. Be sure to take extra care around the face—dogs don’t like sunscreen in their eyes any more than we do.
After applying the sunscreen, take a few minutes for the lotion to completely soak in, and keep a close eye on your dog to make sure they aren’t irritated or attempting to lick the SPF.
Remember that you want to reapply sunscreen regularly if your dog is outside for extended periods to ensure they stay protected and safe.
Ultimately, be a good hooman to your pupper.
The risk of sunburn is real, but no dog wants to stay inside on the couch forever! By applying dog-friendly SPF during peak sunshine hours, and providing some shade, your dog can stay playful, curious, and protected … just the way we like it!
(Tessa Hart in Lake Havasu)