Why Do Dogs Lay In The Sun | Everything You Need To Know

When you have dogs around, you will always notice a number of unfathomable behaviours like humping, howling, berserk digging, zoomies, etc. You can possibly see these behaviours as meaningless and unnecessary but to your dogs, these activities are very important.

In this article, we’ll be dissecting one of those common unfathomable behaviours and that is laying under the sun. Like why do dogs lay in the sun – what’s really special about it? 

Call it laying in the sun or sunbathing, you’ll just be describing the same scenario. There’s always more to laying in the sun than just getting warm. Most dogs spend a whole lot of time laying under the sun or gravitating towards sunny spots be it at home, parks, gardens, etc.

You obviously know they’re not there to tan. So the big question is ‘why do dogs lay in the sun?’. Primarily, dogs enjoy laying under the sun not only because it feels good to them but also because it is a good source of vitamin D.

You may be surprised that your dog has a favourite sun spot – this is usually based on the fact that your dog knows the best spot to get an optimum amount of vitamin D.

Why Do dogs lay in the Sun?

Laying under the sun is always a good feeling for our dogs as it helps them regulate their body temperature, they also enjoy extra warmth when laying out there and it’s all comfy and pleasing to them. It’s quite familiar to us that the sun is a good source of vitamin D. Dogs also enjoy the production of vitamin D in their body while laying under the sun.

For dogs, Vitamin D also serves as a pro-hormone and without it (Vitamin D), it is difficult for the dog to absorb calcium. After Vitamin D is generated, it is stored in the hair and in fatty tissues.

Although a majority of the vitamin is gotten through diet, direct sunlight also provides a significant amount of the needed vitamin D in the dog’s body. Some benefits of Vitamin D include;

  • It assists to regulate the phosphorus and calcium balance of the body. 
  • It helps with bone formation. 
  • It helps in controlling the nerves and the muscles.
  • It helps keep the minerals in the body balanced.

Dogs and humans have various processing methods for vitamin D. Vitamin D3 does not get absorbed directly into the body but remains on the dog’s fur. It only gets into the body when the dog orally licks it off its fur while grooming.

Too much sunbathing will be harmful to your dog as this may lead to too much heat or heat-related injuries on exposed areas such as the mouth, ears, or footpads.

How Hot is Too Hot for Dogs?

It is always advisable to moderate the amount of time your dog spends under the sun in order to curb sunburn or related injuries. They’ll instinctively seek shade when the sun becomes too intense. Dogs can get overheated when exposed to the sun without the provision of cool or shady places – this is because dogs lack sweat glands.

The recommended temperature for your dog according to the American Humane Society is 104 degrees Celsius. One way to help moderate your dog’s temperature is by making sure that it takes plenty of water. During high-temperature periods or in high-temperature regions, you may want to limit your dog’s sun exposure by;

  • Restricting them from going in their dog house because house will amplify the heat.
  • Providing shade and cold water.
  • Limiting exercise time to early mornings or late evenings.
  • Providing ways for your dog to cool down in a pool or wrapping them in a cooling body wrap.
How Long Should I Let My Dog Lay in the Sun?

Some dogs instinctively seek shade when the sun becomes too intense. When letting your dog out in the sun, especially in the summer months, be sure to provide shade. If there isn’t shade in the yard, your dog can risk getting:

  • Heat Stroke & Dehydration
  • Sunburn & Skin Cancer (from repeat exposure)
Heat Stroke & Dehydration

When exposed to the hot sun for too long, it could lead to heatstroke and dehydration.

Some breeds are particularly exposed to heatstroke and dehydration because of their heavy or thick coats. Be sure to monitor your dog closely if it is:

  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Labrador
  • Saint Bernard
  • Newfoundland
  • Siberian Husky
Sunburn & Skin Cancer

Too much exposure to the sun can also lead to Sunburn and skin cancer. 

Some breeds are more vulnerable to sunburns and cancer than others. Some vulnerable breeds include:

  • Short or Thin Coat Breeds
  • Hairless Breeds
  • Light or White Fur Breeds

Dogs typically burn on their belly, nose, and ears. And some breeds can burn their eyelids or around their muzzle.

In addition to shade, you can get dog sunscreen that is safe for your dog and will protect its skin.

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