Do Dogs Need Sunscreen? – Is Sunscreen Safe for Dogs?

Overview of Topics Covered

  • Be prepared for weather conditions. (Read More)
  • Keep your dog cool & hydrated. (Read More)
  • Apply pet safe sunscreen to exposed areas. (Read More)
  • Use a dog safety vest if your not sure if your dog can swim. (Read More)
  • Don’t let your dog consume salt water. (Read More)
  • Watch current water activities for increase in wave production. (Read More)
  • Put dog booties on your dog to protect their paws from hot sand and sharp objects. (Read More)
  • Make sure your dog can be trusted off his/her leash. (Read More)

Beach Safety Tips for Your Dog

Many dog owners wonder whether they can take their dog to the beach or not. It is an important decision that should not be overlooked. When you think of the beach what comes to mind? Hot sun, sand, water, shells, and a wide open area, not so bad right? Wrong! Such environments aren’t ideal for a dog. Many environmental and safety issues should be considered prior to bringing your dog to the beach. The following article will cover the various issues and considerations to take. Next time someone asks you – “Can I bring my dog to the beach?” you will have all the answers.

Keeping Your Dog Safe in the Sun

First, you need to consider the weather. Will the sky be clear with a strong sun? Will it be partly cloudy? What will weather conditions be like? Have a look at the weather forecast to get an idea of the weather. If clear skies and a hot sun is eminent, you will want to make sure your dog has water, regular breaks in shady areas, and potentially sun tan lotion depending on your dog’s coat. Certain breeds like the Bulldog and French Bulldog are more likely to overheat.

Do Dogs Need Sunscreen?

Does your dog need sunscreen? It depends on their coat as well as skin complexion. If your dog has light colored skin or a pink nose, they are more likely to develop a sunburn as well as cancer. These types of dogs should have sunscreen applied regularly. Rarely is it recommended to not apply sunscreen on your dog. Hair free areas like the stomach, ears, and face should also be applied with sunscreen.

But is Sunscreen Safe for Dogs?

Is sunscreen safe for dogs? The answer is yes and no. When shopping for sunscreen you want to make sure it is a fragrance free and pet friendly. Fragrances can cause rashes and irritation. Human sunscreen contains chemicals and ingredients that are not meant to be absorbed by dogs. A popular sunscreen that has consistently received positive reviews can be found: here.

Is the Ocean Safe for My Dog?

With proper caution, the ocean is a fun place for a dog. The first thing you’ll want to consider is if your dog can swim. Many flat nosed and barrel chested breeds like the French Bulldog or Pug, are known to struggle. If you don’t know if your dog can swim, you may want to experiment in a controlled environment such as a pool. If your dog can swim you are ready to hit up the waves with your dog right? Not just yet. There are still a few other things to consider.

Guidelines When Swimming With Your Dog in the Ocean

  1. Excessive consumption of salt water can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. Don’t let your dog consume ocean water.
  2. If you are unsure if your dog can swim make sure he/she is wearing a life vest and is supervised.
  3. Bring fresh water for your dog to keep hydrated. Have a look at our dog dehydration article.
  4. Scout water activity. Check if there are any boats or jet skis in the water. If yes, always keep your dog in calm waters. If you plan to take your dog on a boat, be sure to read our safety tips for boating with your dog.

Hot Sand

Playing fetch and digging may be fun beach activities for your dog, but they could be burning their paws on the sand. Rough rocks and shells can cut their paws. It is always smart to bring strap on boots or even better, water proof dog boots to protect your dogs paws.

Open Beach Area

The beach is completely open. This would be ideal for a dog if there weren’t tons of people, birds, and wildlife. If you are not sure your dog can behave off his/her leash, keep your dog leashed. If your positive they will behave off leash, supervise them at all times. Historically, some unleashed dogs have chased down and harmed birds, baby seals, and other wildlife. This is more common with dogs bred to hunt. Specifically gun-dog breeds. Retrievers, Setters, & Pointers are examples of hunting bird dogs.

Can I Bring My Dog to the Beach?

So, can I bring my dog to the beach? As long as you take precautions and ensure you have everything you need for your dog to be comfortable, he/she will be just fine. Keep them cool, hydrated, out of the sun for extended periods of time, protected by sun tan lotion, supervised, and protect their paws. You will also want to make sure the beach you bring your dog to is dog-friendly. Many beaches have a no-dog policy. This is to prevent any unfriendly children/dog encounters, as well as to prevent dogs from relieving themselves on the beach where people lay. The next time a new dog owner asks you, “Can I bring my dog to the beach?” – tell them YES!

Written by John Mattar
March 16th, 2015
Updated on May 20th, 2019