Whether you spend your summers in Italy or Iowa, long summer days can mean sunburn. “Sunburn? My dog? But he's covered in fur!” Yup, just like your mother kept nagging you to apply your SPF 3,000 (and re-apply every 12 minutes — she only had your best interests at heart!), we can’t express strongly enough the dangers of sunburn when it comes to our fuzzy children.
Certainly, sunburn alone is enough of a reason to want to protect our pets’ skin. But, additionally, there are thought to be sun-induced skin cancers in dogs (similar to what we know happens in humans). Pets with short, white coats, light-colored skin and sparse tummy fur (e.g. Dalmatians, Bull Terriers and Greyhounds) are particularly prone to sun-induced skin disease and cancer. Also dogs who get a summer haircut are more vulnerable to the harmful effects of the sun.
To keep pets protected, I tend to recommend an SPF 40-45. Sunscreens formulated for young children or sports tend to have less perfume, which may help reduce any allergic reaction. Apply sunscreen to the bridge of the nose, ear tips, skin surrounding the lips, and any area where pigmentation is low. And don’t forget to include areas where your dog’s skin is more exposed, such as the groin, abdomen and inner leg areas.