Who doesn’t get in a good mood on sunny days? The truth is that dogs and humans are not so different, to feel the light and heat on the skin; we love it. Regardless of the season of the year, if a ray of sunlight enters through the window of the house, surely your dog will come flying. But why do dogs like lying in the sun?
Sitting in sunlight is rewarding, and dogs know it very well; they do it whenever they can. Beyond being pleasant for the animal, it intuits that it is good for its body. It also stimulates the creation of serotonin, known as the hormone of happiness.
Keep reading this post and discover why do dogs like to sunbathe. We already anticipate that they are much more intelligent than us in this matter; there are compelling reasons behind it. It is nothing like they are under the sun tanning.
Why Do Dogs Like Laying In The Sun?
Absorb Vitamin D from the sun
Vitamin D is part of the group of fat-soluble vitamins. They are those that dissolve in fats and oils. And they are stored in the body’s adipose tissues and remain retained in the body for a season. But how do dogs get vitamin D? Through sunlight.
If your dog sunbathes daily, it will not be necessary to provide vitamin D supplements. Or even you don’t need loads of foods enriched with it since his body maintains it for a while.
Dogs know perfectly how positive it is for them to enjoy their solar dose. They are clearer than us that it is the best way to obtain vitamin D.
Sunlight is essential for the proper functioning of the body. It favors the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. These two help the perfect development of your pet’s bones and prevents diseases related to the bone system (osteoporosis).
The rays of the sun also play an important role in the development of the muscles. It enhances the nervous system and promoting muscle contractions. This greatly benefits certain large dog breeds. Vitamin D also benefits your dog’s immune system.
When people sunbathe, the skin directly assimilates the benefits of the sun. In dogs’ case, as the hair covers their entire body, it does not happen in the same way. The oil transformed into vitamin D stays in its fur, and it is afterward, when licking it, that it absorbs it.
Encourage the production of serotonin: The happy hormone
Vitamin D has more benefits for the body. Sunlight helps make more serotonin. This chemical acts as a neurotransmitter to keep the mood stable. Let’s say it is the closest thing to a natural antidepressant and is very effective.
When your pet lies in the sun, it favors the production of serotonin. The sunlight also promotes the feeling of happiness and, consequently, improves its mood. For this reason, we can say that your dog loves to sunbathe; it literally makes them like going to the movies.
Improve sleep and rest
Did you think that we had already finished with the advantages of sunbathing? Well, keep reading. Sunlight also favors the secretion of melatonin, which is the hormone responsible for regulating animals’ sleep cycle.
When your dog secretes more of this hormone, it increases the quality of the hours of sleep. It means the sunlight regulates them to achieve a more placid rest.
Relieve joint pain in elderly dogs
Vitamin D has an analgesic effect, as you hear it. If you live with an older pet, we recommend that each day has its dose of the sun; it will benefit them in many ways.
The fur of older dogs is weaker than that of young ones. They are more prone to cold and to notice increased pain in the joints if they suffer from rheumatic diseases. One of the reasons your dog loves sunbathing is because it relieves pain and makes him feel less discomfort.
If your dog suffers from osteoarthritis, we guarantee that his ration of relaxation will come from sunbathing.
Provide warmth when it’s cold
In cold weather, we can’t think of anything better than sunbathing. It is the best source of heat on days with low temperatures. In this way, in addition to exposing themselves, getting vitamin D, they will be able to combat the winter cold.
There are dogs that withstand the cold better. But for the most vulnerable and sensitive ones will need to spend more time enjoying their solar ration. For example, short-haired breeds or the smallest ones (such as Chihuahuas).
The Star of Life
As we well know, the sun is the main agent that causes life on the planet, even before water itself. Its solar rays bombard the Earth’s atmosphere all the time. It allows the creation of different molecules and particles beneficial to ecosystems.
This is why plants make the most of sunlight and create oxygen, a vital component to sustain life on the planet. This is a fact that all people should know by heart. But, did you know that not only plants take advantage of this star?
All animals do it in one way or another, and dogs are no exception. In fact, it is a very important component in the development of an animal’s life. So when you see dogs in the sun, remember that it does so because it is beneficial for them.
The Sun Is Good, But With Caution
We have captured the 6 main advantages of sunbathing. And although we could say that it is more than positive, you have to be cautious. We recommend that your dog do it but without overdoing it.
Here are some dangers of over sunbathing:
- Excess of calcium
When the dog is in the growth phase, spending time in sunlight could cause it to assimilate more vitamin D than necessary. It would trigger an excess of calcium that could cause a malformation of the jaw and teeth. And it can even alter the nervous, muscular and osseous.
This does not mean that you do not let him enjoy the sun, but you must be aware that he spends many hours.
You also have to be very careful with the heatstroke or sunstroke that white, short, or very short-haired dogs can suffer. If they take too much sun, they can suffer from dehydration too. These dogs do not have a coat as resistant as others. Therefore, you must be careful so that their dose of sunlight is not dangerous.
Although this phenomenon is less common than in people. The acute appearance of red and irritated areas is the cause of itching, stinging, and secondary skin infections. It is produced by a thermal burn in any area of the animal’s body.
- Pigmentation changes
Exposure to the sun can cause dark areas or spots to appear on the skin. Initially, they do not cause any damage, can evolve in a dangerous way.
- Solar dermatitis
It is the most common and most serious consequence of the sun’s rays. It is caused by repeated exposure to the sun throughout the life of the dog. These are injuries that may go unnoticed at first but can evolve in a worrying way if control measures are not taken.
It usually affects areas of the skin with little pigmentation and little hair, such as
- The armpits,
- The belly,
- The area of the muzzle and
- The contour of the eyes.
Some dog breeds have a greater predisposition to suffer from this disease due to the type of coat they have.
- Skin neoplasms
These are skin tumors caused by the malignant transformation of keratinocytes due to chronic damage.
Tips to keep in mind
If your dog spends many hours sunbathing without protection and you detect any area of dark, red, irritated, hairless, scabbed, inflamed, or bulging skin … do not hesitate, go to the vet.
Precautions for Your Pet to Sunbathe
First of all, now that the good weather is approaching, follow these tips to cool your dog in the summer:
- Always have fresh water at your fingertips.
- Refresh your dog by moistening his head and back.
- Use sun protection, especially for dogs with short or hairless hair. Check with your vet for options.
- Avoid spending a lot of time in the sun or during the hottest hours.
- Do not overcut their fur, as it will be more vulnerable to ultraviolet rays.
- Be very careful with the symptoms of heatstroke or heat stroke.
- If you see symptoms of stroke, make sure to have no light for dogs.
Sun Creams For Dogs: An Important Thing While Your Dog Sunbathing
Did you know that dogs also need to apply the cream to protect themselves from the sun’s rays? Like humans, dogs also suffer from the dangers of summer. They can get burns and get skin cancer from sunbathing without protection.
What areas of the dog’s body are the most delicate in the sun?
What are the most delicate canine areas to sun exposure and, therefore, those that will need sun cream? The muzzle, the tips of the ears, and the area around the mouth are some of the most delicate regions.
The reason? The skin in these parts of the body is less pigmented and, therefore, less protected from the incidence of the sun.
But the risk zones for dogs do not end here. The groin, the legs’ inner area, and the abdomen are other delicate parts that will need protective sunscreen.
What dogs need sunscreen in summer?
Dogs with fair skin and light, short and smooth hair are the most vulnerable to the sun’s rays’ risks. Among them, skin burns, skin cancer and other skin diseases that dogs suffer as a result of unprotected sun exposure.
But also dogs with haircuts during the summer need sunscreen. Especially if they have been shaved, they are even more defenseless against the harmful effects of rays. Creams are also essential for dogs with hair loss due to an allergy or a recent operation.
However, when it comes to caring for four-legged friends, protection is better than cure. For this reason, experts recommend that all dogs, like people, use sunscreen when they are exposed to the sun’s rays. At least in the most vulnerable areas, such as the muzzle, tips of the ears, and around the mouth.
I hope this article on ‘why do dogs like laying in the sun’ has been useful to you. So, if you are wondering, ‘do dogs need sunlight,’ our answer is yes.
But do not forget that it is merely informative. I ask that you go with your dog to the vet for professional advice for this type of issue.
Be wary of both conditions, as they could lead to the death of your dog. If your furry companion shows symptoms of heatstroke or heatstroke after sunbathing for many hours, act quickly. Keep him away from the heat; moisten his head and entire body with cloths of water.