Dear Daisy Dog
My pitbull, Aggie, is mostly white, and her nose is pink. Should I apply sunscreen when I walk her? If so, what brand is best for dogs?
Yes, she needs sunscreen, just like most humans.
Light-colored dogs and those with short or sparse hair are especially vulnerable to sun damage. Without sunscreen, we get sunburned and may develop skin cancer.
Sunscreens made for humans can be toxic if we ingest them – and besides, many leave a greasy film – so you and Aggie will be happier with a sunscreen formulated especially for pets.
Check your favorite pet supply store, Internet site or catalogue. Popular brands are Epi-Pet Sun Protector spray, Nutri-Vet Sun Defense spray or lotion, and Doggles spray.
Pet sunscreens don’t carry SPF ratings, because the Food and Drug Administration hasn’t decided on a valid test to determine sun protection factor in pets.
However, manufacturers may promote products as comparable to certain SPF ratings, based on the concentrations of the ingredients.
Regardless of the product you choose, use plenty and re-apply it regularly when Aggie is in the sun.
For greater protection on your walks, outfit Aggie with a T-shirt made of ultraviolet protective fabric – and, if she’ll wear it, a matching hat to protect her ears and face.