Do you ever wonder why dogs like to sunbathe? Or perhaps you’re unsure if the benefits outweigh the risks for pups. Keep reading to learn if sunbathing is good for dogs and if they absorb vitamin D the same way humans do.
Let’s get into it!
Why Do Dogs Like to Sunbathe?
There are various reasons why dogs like to sunbathe. The warm sun feels good on their bodies and helps them regulate body temperature. It’s also a way for them to relax. Sunbathing can be a very calming experience for dogs.
The sun can also be a natural pain reliever for dogs. It can help their joints feel good and temporarily relieve arthritis and rheumatism. So, if your dog likes to lay in the sun for long periods, it may be that it’s making its sore body feel good.
Similar to humans, dogs need vitamin D. It contributes to their health, and sunbathing is a natural way for them to get it. However, it works a little differently for dogs.
Do Dogs Absorb Vitamin D the Same Way Humans Do?
Dogs don’t absorb vitamin D the same way humans do. While humans absorb the nutrient via UV rays through the skin, dogs obtain it through grooming. Dogs get vitamin D by licking their fur.
Since dogs’ fur blocks most sunlight from going directly to their skin, some vitamin D remains on their fur. So, the dog consumes it by licking and grooming itself.
Is Sunbathing Good for Dogs?
Sunbathing can be good for dogs in moderation. It helps them get vitamin D, which is vital for bone, muscle health, and immune system functioning. However, it’s important to keep dogs out of the sun during the hottest part of the day and to provide them with shade and plenty of water. Dogs with light-colored fur or thin coats are more susceptible to sunburn.
Benefits of Sunbathing for Dogs
There are several additional benefits for dogs that like to sunbathe. Sunlight exposure can also stimulate the release of serotonin to make a dog feel good, similar to how the sun relaxes humans. Many dogs simply enjoy lying in the sun and find it comforting and relaxing. It can contribute to their overall sense of well-being and contentment.
Moderate sun exposure can help alleviate certain skin conditions in dogs. It can have a drying effect on the skin, which can be beneficial for dogs with moist dermatitis or hot spots. However, it’s crucial not to overexpose dogs with sensitive or fair skin, as it can lead to sunburn or other skin problems.
Sunbathing also helps dogs with certain types of arthritis or joint stiffness. The sun’s warmth can temporarily relieve and relax achy muscles and joints.
Risks of Sunbathing for Dogs
It’s important to note that sunbathing should be done cautiously, especially in dogs with light-colored or thin fur, as they are more prone to sunburn. Overexposure to the sun can also lead to dehydration or heatstroke, particularly in hot weather.
Dogs can get sunburnt. So, it’s important to monitor the amount of time they’re in the sun and apply sunscreen as needed. Dogs can also get skin cancer. However, between 60 to 80 percent of skin tumors on canines are benign.
Always provide access to shade and fresh water, and monitor your dog closely during sunbathing sessions to prevent any negative effects. In addition, if your dog has a particular health condition, it’s always a good idea to ask your veterinarian how much sun exposure they recommend.
Do Dogs Need Sunscreen?
Dogs need sunscreen if they’re outside and exposed to the sun for long periods. The best sunscreen is a formula that’s safe and effective for dogs. There are several on the market. Epi-Pet K-9 Sunscreen is an example of a pet-friendly sunscreen. However, if you don’t have a dog-specific product available, use broad-spectrum sunscreen for children with an SPF of 15 or higher.
Apply sunscreen to your dog’s face. You can apply it all over, but be sure to get areas where the skin is exposed. Monitor your dog to keep it from licking the sunscreen.
Do Dogs Need Sunglasses?
Like humans, dogs’ eyes can be sensitive to bright sunlight, UV rays, and glare. Dogs with certain eye conditions, such as cataracts, may be more sensitive to sunlight. Sunglasses can help protect their eyes from harmful UV rays and reduce discomfort.
You may want to consider sunglasses for dogs that are outdoors frequently or suffer from an eye condition. It may take a while for it to get used to wearing something on its face. But with practice, some dogs don’t mind wearing them.
Fun Fact: Dogs like to sunbathe and they also like to watch TV! Find out why they do this and what their favorite TV shows are.
How Long Should You Let Your Dog Lay in the Sun?
Veterinarians recommend letting your dog lay in direct sunlight outdoors for no longer than 40 minutes at a time per day. But keep in mind that different breeds have varying levels of tolerance to sunlight and heat. Dogs with thin fur or exposed skin areas are generally more susceptible to sunburn and heat-related issues. Breeds with short muzzles, such as Bulldogs or Pugs, can also be more prone to heat exhaustion.
Color also matters. For example, black dogs absorb heat faster and are at greater risk of overheating when sunbathing for too long. The absorption of sunlight by a dog’s coat is also influenced by factors such as coat density, length, and texture. So, those with thick or dense coats, regardless of color, may be more prone to overheating because their fur can trap heat close to their bodies.
Ultimately, it’s crucial to strike a balance between allowing your dog to enjoy some sunlight and ensuring their safety and well-being.
How Do You Know If a Dog Is Too Hot?
You’ll know if a dog is too hot if it begins panting heavily, drooling excessively, becomes very tired, or has labored breathing. If a dog has been in the sun for too long, it may vomit or have diarrhea. At worst, it could become unconscious or die from heat stroke.
If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to cool your dog down immediately. You can do this by moving it to a cooler location, putting a cool towel on its body, giving it small amounts of cool water to drink, and fanning it. If your dog has heat stroke or severe health issues, contact your vet or take it to the emergency animal hospital.
Is Your Dog a Sun Worshipper?
Our dogs love to lay in the sun. If your dog is a sun worshipper too, it’s in good company. It’s so nice to sit in the morning sun with our pups and we can tell they enjoy soaking it in as much as we do.
Where does your dog like to sunbathe? Leave a comment below.
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