The Doggy Sunscreen I Fell In Love With

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Spending time outside is a big part of the summer experience — for you and your dog. Whether you are walking, playing catch or just relaxing in the backyard, having fun in the sun is what makes summer an amazing time of year. Yet, while we enjoy the outdoor season, it is important to stay protected from the sun’s rays. Your dog is no exception

When I was recently in Annapolis, Maryland, I brought my 7-year-old white-haired Chihuahua mix, Loli. With her ancestry from Mexico, it wasn’t too surprising to see her basking in the sun. But what was shocking is I noticed her ears were turning a very deep pink. Eek! She was getting sunburnt right before my eyes.

Image Credit: Angela Helfrich
Image Credit: Angela Helfrich

While the pink was something new to me, her sun-worshipping skills were not. In fact, she is in the sun every day.  In our New York City apartment she acts like a sundial, moving around the room with the sun rays to stay in its warmth. I would soon learn, even inside, she runs the risk of getting sun burnt.

When I began researching protecting my dog from the sun, I learned that sunscreen is important for dogs Indeed, more than 90 percent  of veterinarian dermatologists recommend using dog sunscreen to protect our four-legged friends. Yes, you heard that right. Not only can the sun’s powerful rays cause your dog to overheat, but they can also play a role in sun burns and skin tumors — and could lead to cancer. Your dog can be at risk outside and inside.

Image Credit: Angela Helfrich
Image Credit: Angela Helfrich

Related: Yes, Your Dog Needs Sunscreen

Once I discovered this, I had to act. Loli MUST have sunscreen.  Not just because she is a mini sun goddess, but she also has a predisposition to sun issues. Loli has all of the physical characters of dogs that are most susceptible to skin cancer and tumors — white, short hair and a lot of skin exposure.

Finding the perfect sunscreen.

It was time to take action. Through my research, I found that Sunderdog! Natural seemed like it was a great fit for our needs. It is a spray sunscreen, easy to use and can be applied quickly. Loli is a squirmer, so it is important that I can get her protected fast and without having to hold her down to apply.

Image Credit: Angela Helfrich
Image Credit: Angela Helfrich

Another reason I chose Sunderdog! Natural it because it has some great ingredients, like coconut oil, lavender and olive oil to condition and protect her coat. I eat clean and care about the products I put on my skin, so it is only natural that I apply the same wellness criteria for Loli.

Also, it is zinc-oxide free, a toxic ingredient to dogs that is found in most human sunscreens, and protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Another thing people may love is that it is water resistant, which is great but not a must for me — Loli is no water dog.

Applying the Sunscreen

I was concerned about how she would react to the spray sunscreen.  So I started by applying her back coat to ease her into the process. It was much easier than I had anticipated. She was a little surprised at first, but then ignored it.

Image Credit: Angela Helfrich
Image Credit: Angela Helfrich

After her back, I moved to her tail, legs and feet.  he next part was going to be a little tricky: her belly. I first tried rolling her on her back, but she wasn’t having any of that. I decided the best course of action would be to hold her vertical with her front paws up.  

The only truly challenging area to apply the sunscreen was her face.  Because it’s a spray, it is hard to control and make precise applications around her eyes, ears and nose (areas we do not want sunscreen to enter).  I ended up spraying my hand and then rubbing it on those sensitive spots.

Image Credit: Angela Helfrich
Image Credit: Angela Helfrich

Related: Does Ruffwear’s Jet Stream Vest Really Cool Off Your Dog?

I do recommend testing a small area first to see how the sunscreen reacts on your pup’s skin before rubbing it all over.

Moving forward, I am going to use a dog sunscreen balm for her face, ears and nose. It will be easier to apply, and I want to make certain that these areas are 100 percent covered because the skin is always exposed and vulnerable to the sun. One, This Dog’s Life loves is Beach & Dog Co.

All in all it took less than three minutes — much faster than lathering myself up before a hike.

What We Think

I was very happy with the sunscreen experience!  Sunderdog! Natural wasn’t greasy, conditioned her coat and made it shine, while protecting her. No more pink.

I was concerned that the sunscreen may discolor her coat, but it blended in seamlessly, without a trace, except for the moisturizing sheen.

Image Credit: Angela Helfrich
Image Credit: Angela Helfrich

After it was all said and done, Loli carried on as if nothing had happened. I thought she would lick all over, roll around and be curious about this new substance that she had all over her body.  But no, she was my happy little girl and having fun in the sun, while being safe.

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Related: Super Easy ‘Pup Pops’ Recipe That Your Dogs Will Absolutely Love

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