Sunscreen for Your Dog?

Elizabeth Siegel, Allure magazine

By now, you know to wear sunscreen every day. But did you know that your dog may need SPF, too? Weird but, as anyone who's been unfortunate enough to deal with a sunburned dog knows, true. "There is a low incidence of squamous cell carcinoma in dogs-especially ones with short, thin, or white hair-because they don't have the same protective pigments as darker-haired dogs," says veterinarian Jim Dasbach of Greenwich Village Animal Hospital in New York City. "Hairless breeds like the Chinese crested and Mexican hairless are also more susceptible."

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The easiest way to protect your pet with sunscreen is with a fragrance-free spray formula. (I mean, unless you want to experience what chasing a greased pig at the rodeo might be like.) Mist it over the body, and use a dry washcloth or your hands to rub it onto the exposed skin of the ears.

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It's likely that your sunscreen can cross human/canine borders, but every dog is different. "Some ingredients in human sunscreens could be toxic if your dog licks them," says Dasbach. Sunscreens specifically for animals, such as Doggles Pet Sunscreen or VetOne UVet Sunscreen Spray, are your best bet.

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