The 9 Best Dog Sunscreens of 2023 (Because Pups Need SPF Too)

And no, it can’t be the human stuff

PureWow editors select every item that appears on this page, and the company may earn compensation through affiliate links within the story. All prices are accurate upon date of publish. You can learn more about the affiliate process here.

Best Dog Sunscreens - A chocolate lab lays at the foot of a lounge chair that it's sharing with a young woman.
Justin Paget/Getty Images

Dogs need sunscreen just like humans do. Even though canine skin may be covered in fluffy fur, the sun’s sneaky UV rays can still cause damage—the sun doesn’t care what species you are! Dogs can develop harmful (and painful) conditions like skin cancer and reddened, peeling skin. The National Canine Cancer Foundation says one type of cancer found in dogs, squamous cell carcinoma, is associated with prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation (aka, sunshine). Dr. Wendy Hauser and Dr. Preston Turano say the key to doggy sunscreen lies in the ingredients. Here are the 9 best dog sunscreens of 2023.

The 9 Best Dog Sunscreens of 2023 At-A-Glance


Best Overall

SIT STAY. FOREVER. Organic Sunscreen & Moisturizer

read more


Best Bare Essentials

My Dog Nose It! Sun Protection Balm

read more


Best for Adventures

Petkin Doggy Sun Wipes

read more


Best for Sensitive Skin

Warren London Dog Sunscreen Spray

read more


Best for Beach Bums

Beach & Dog Co Canine Sunscreen

read more

Show More

Meet the Experts

Is Dog Sunscreen Safe?

Dr. Hauser told us that yes, in general, dog sunscreen is safe. As long as you choose formulas with dog-friendly ingredients and follow the instructions, you and your pup will be happy campers. According to Dr. Hauser, ingredients you should avoid include:

  • Zinc oxide
  • Salicylates
  • Homomenthyl salicylate (homosalate)
  • Ethylhexyl salicylate (octyl salicylate)
  • Trolamine salicylate

Zinc oxide, a common ingredient in human sunscreen, can cause zinc toxicity and red blood cell damage in dogs if absorbed through their skin.

“When ingested, [zinc oxide] can cause an allergic reaction with facial swelling and hives,” Dr. Hauser added. “Salicylates are in the same class of drugs as aspirin; they can cause redness and irritation of the skin. If ingested by self-grooming, large amounts can cause stomach ulcers [and] liver damage.”

Titanium dioxide is also potentially toxic to canines; if your dog is a big licker or doesn’t handle topical creams well, avoid anything with titanium dioxide.

What Sunscreen Can I Use on My Dog?

Always use products formulated specifically for dogs. If it doesn’t say it was made for canines, don’t use it. Choose from sprays, salves or sticks you can rub directly onto your pup. Sprays can be tricky because they get into your dog’s eyes more easily but can still be effective. Salves and sticks are easy to transport, though your dog may try to lick off anything that doesn’t dry quickly.

How to Choose Sunscreen for My Dog

First and foremost, check the ingredient list! Next, consider application. Will your dog let you rub a stick on his belly or is a spray easier? Finally, allow yourself (and your dog) some trial and error. It may take a while to find the best sunscreen for your dog. 

Dr. Hauser noted sometimes, certain breeds may need their humans to go the extra mile. “A viable alternative to sunscreen, especially for white, lightly color coated or hairless breeds, is dog-specific protective clothing like dog sun shirts,” she said.

What Risks Should Dog Parents Watch Out For?

As with any new topical product, there’s a chance your dog will have an allergic reaction. “Signs of this would be redness, itching and/or bumps in the area,” said Dr. Hauser. “Pet owners should test a small area first.”

Don’t assume dog sunscreen labels will look familiar. The ASPCA says pet sunscreens are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, like people sunscreens are. There won’t be an SPF rating (if there is, it’s an approximation).

Another risk is simply being out in the sun too long. Beyond getting burned, dogs can suffer from heat-related illnesses. If you can, limit outdoor exposure during peak sun hours (10:00 am to 4:00 pm). On very hot days, this helps prevent heatstroke and dehydration.

Can I Use Baby Sunscreen on My Dog?

Any human sunscreen—even gentle versions made for babies—is likely toxic to dogs. However, Dr. Preston Turano, DVM, a spokesperson for AKC Pet Insurance, says if you have baby sunscreen free of harmful ingredients (like zinc oxide) and no fragrance, it may be safe for your pup. Again, we advise sticking to dog-specific brands.

“Before using any over-the-counter sunscreen product, it is best to inquire with your local veterinarian, as ingestion is highly likely and you want to avoid any toxin exposure,” Dr. Turano said.   

How to Apply Sunscreen to Your Dog

Similar to bath time, applying sunscreen to your dog takes patience and practice. Similar to humans, sunscreen should be applied at least 15 to 20 minutes before heading outside.

Dr. Hauser advised focusing on the nose, ears, belly and groin area (and anywhere else your pet’s skin is particularly exposed—which will vary based on breed). Steer clear of the eyes!

Apply sunscreen every two to four hours or so when outdoors for longer periods of time. If your dog is a swimmer (or likes to roll around in puddles), dry them off and reapply afterwards. Spray sunscreens can be applied directly to your dog’s body, but spray onto your hand first to apply manually to the ears and nose, so your dog doesn’t inhale any of the product. Simply brush through after spraying on the coat for fuller coverage.

It’s always a good idea to do a patch test on your dog’s skin before applying fully. The ASPCA warns that even if a product is made for dogs, they can still have an allergic or negative reaction to a new substance. If possible, test a small spot at least 24 hours before you plan on applying more. Anything resembling a rash or causes your dog to itch should be rinsed off and exchanged for a different product.

What You Need to Know to Choose the Best Dog DNA Test for Your Pet

Best Overall

1. SIT. STAY. FOREVER. Organic Sunscreen & Moisturizer


  • Pros: All-natural, water-resistant, easy to carry
  • Cons: Will melt if left in hot car, small amount for price
  • Star Ingredient: Raspberry Seed (sun protection), carrot seed (sun protection)
  • SPF: 30-50

Applying this salve (made in Maine) to your dog’s nose, ears, snout and paws will help keep the sun away. Ideal for hairless breeds, this salve can also be liberally applied all over and in fact, works best if used every day as it keeps skin hydrated. Reviewers say the formula works well on cats, too.   

Best Bare Essentials

2. My Dog Nose It! Sun Protection Balm

My Dog Nose It!

  • Pros: Hydrates, dries quickly, water-resistant
  • Cons: Not meant for full-body coverage
  • Star Ingredient: Octinoxate, Oxbenzone
  • SPF: N/A

This is a paraben-free sunscreen made with natural ingredients like coconut oil and carnauba wax. Not only does it protect the nose and ears from UVA and UVB rays, but it also moisturizes! Perfect for dogs who don’t need full body coverage—just the bare essentials. Be sure to re-apply every two hours to ensure consistent coverage.

Best for Adventures

3. Petkin Doggy Sun Wipes


  • Pros: Easy application, packable 
  • Cons: Contains 1% Titanium Dioxide which can be toxic if ingested, so don’t let your pup chew on these wipes or ingest them
  • Star Ingredient: Benzophenone-3
  • SPF: N/A

These sunscreen-laden wipes make it super simple to apply while outdoors hiking, playing, biking or participating in any activity that requires an on-the-go style application. Huge bonus: They are veterinarian-tested and approved and are especially handy for dogs who resist spray applications. Rub on ears, nose and exposed skin.

Best for Sensitive Skin

4. Warren London Dog Sunscreen Spray

Warren London

  • Pros: Dries quickly, hydrates and soothes
  • Cons: Sticky on human hands
  • Star Ingredient: Aloe vera, Benzophenone-4
  • SPF: N/A

Full of soothing aloe vera, this product is great to use both before and after sun exposure. It can prevent dog skin from drying out after being in heat and sunshine. Users say it doesn’t build up or discolor white fur. Others note it leaves a sticky residue on human hands if you apply via rubbing, so just be prepared to wash up afterwards.

Best for Beach Bums

5. Beach & Dog Co Canine Sunscreen

Beach & Dog Co

  • Pros: All-natural and organic ingredients
  • Cons: Clay may dry out skin (but coconut oil is there to balance it out)
  • Star Ingredient: Bentonite clay, coconut oil
  • SPF: N/A

Another sunscreen developed with all-natural ingredients like beeswax and bentonite clay, this product also protects from salt damage. This is good news for pups who love salty ocean water! It’s free of chemicals and should be applied well before heading outside. Beach & Dog Co has rave reviews - especially for dogs who’ve had skin reactions to other products in the past. 

Best Non-Aerosol Spray

6. Emmy's Best Dog Sun Skin Protector Spray

Emmy's Best Pet Products

  • Pros: Non-greasy, scent-free
  • Cons: Difficult to spray
  • Star Ingredient: Octinoxate, coconut oil
  • SPF: 30

This unique spray is non-aerosol, which means it’s less likely your dog will inhale chemicals and it’s better for the environment. Emmy’s is also one of Amazon’s Choices—along with Epi-Pet—and has conditioning ingredients like coconut oil and shea butter. Some reviewers say the physical spray bottle makes it hard to apply because the spray mechanism doesn’t always work well.

Best for Noses Only

7. Handy Hound Snout Screen

Handy Hound

  • Pros: All-natural, organic
  • Cons: Need to apply several layers to be effective, pricey
  • Star Ingredient: Raspberry Seed (sun protection), carrot seed (sun protection)
  • SPF: 30-50

We like that this stick is made with organic, all-natural ingredients. Sure, it will take a few more applications to achieve full protection, but it seems worth it for a chemical-free product. This is ideal for dogs who can’t help but lick their noses or suffer from chronic dry nose. Coconut and lavender help hydrate and are anti-inflammatory.

Best Hydrating

8. Bodhi Dog Hydrating Sun Spray

Bodhi Dog

  • Pros: Non-aerosol, clean ingredients, non-greasy
  • Cons: Some reviewers say it doesn’t dry well 
  • Star Ingredient: Octinoxate (for UV protection) and shea butter
  • SPF: 30

Ideal for dogs with white fur, this hydrating spray prevents skin irritation and dry fur after a day at the beach. Bodhi Dog is a family-owned company that prides itself on clean ingredients and eco-friendly products (hence the non-aerosol spray bottle). It’s advised to apply 15 minutes before sun exposure.

Best SPF Shirt

9. PlayaPup Dog Sun Shirt


  • Pros: Full torso protection without sprays or salves, chemical-free
  • Cons: Leaves nose, ears and paws exposed
  • Star Ingredient: Nylon and spandex
  • SPF: 50

Instead of relying on sprays or salves, toss one of these lightweight, breathable shirts on your dog to protect them from the sun! While it may be too hot on dogs with thick fur, it can block out 98 percent of UV rays on hairless or short-coated breeds. Sizes available range from XXS to 4XL!

Dog Breeds Most Susceptible to UV Damage

There are some breeds that are super susceptible to UV damage. Hairless, short-coated, thin-haired and unpigmented dogs, regardless of breed, are most at risk. Think: hairless Xoloitzcuintlis, short-coated Whippets and white-hued French bulldogs. The American Kennel Club says any dogs with light-colored noses, ears or eyelids are at greater risk for sun damage. Plus, if your dog likes to lay in the sun belly up, this exposes a lot of vulnerable skin, even in the furriest breed. Other breeds to watch closely and slather with sunscreen include Dalmatians, collies, Australian sheepdogs, bulldogs, boxers, German shorthaired pointers and pit bulls.

Conditions That Might Make Your Dog Susceptible to UV Damage

Beyond hair length and pigmentation, there are some conditions that can make your dog’s skin more delicate. If your dog recently had surgery that required your vet to shave a small area of your dog’s body, direct sunlight can be particularly damaging. Owners with canines who have been diagnosed with certain health or skin issues (like dermatitis) should take extra care when outdoors for extended periods of time.

Want to know which buzzy products are *really* worth buying? Sign up for our shopping newsletter to uncover our favorite finds.

Why You Should Trust Us

Sarah Ashley is a Chicago-based freelance journalist. She has covered pets for PureWow for six years and tackles everything from dog training tips to the best litter boxes. Her cats, Foxy and Jacques, make appearances in her work, as do her own struggles with mental health and infertility. Sarah has a Certificate in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Chicago and is working towards her Masters in Journalism at NYU.

PureWow is the best friend you never had when it comes to finding the best, most useful lifestyle products online. Founded in 2010, our company’s editors and writers have spent more than a decade shopping online, digging through sales and putting our home goods, beauty finds, wellness picks and more through the wringer—all to help you determine which ones are actually worth your hard-earned cash. From our PureWow100 series, which sees each and every item we test being ranked on a 100-point scale of awesomeness, to the painstakingly curated lists our fashion, beauty, cooking, home and family editors create as vertical experts, you can trust that our recommendations include some of the greatest items you’ll find on the internet. Whether you're looking for travel-size hair dryers you can take on-the-go or women’s walking shoes that won’t hurt your feet, we’ve got you covered.

The Dos and Don'ts of Dog Bark Etiquette, According to Experts and Pet Parents

SAshley Headshot PureWow

Freelance Writer

Sarah Ashley is a Chicago-based freelance journalist. She has covered pets for PureWow for six years and tackles everything from dog training tips to the best litter boxes. Her...

dana dickey

Senior Editor

Dana Dickey is a PureWow Senior Editor, and during more than a decade in digital media, she has scoped out and tested top products and services across the lifestyle space...