Why do dogs like to lie in the sun?


 Are dogs happiest in the sun?

As it happens to us humans, one of the main reasons why dogs want to sunbathe is the contribution of vitamin D. Dogs never cease to surprise us with actions very similar to our own, a fact that leads us to think that in certain situations or circumstances we can feel the same emotions. A perfect example is a passion we share in feeling the warmth of the sun on our skin, and who isn't happy with the light of a beautiful day?

No matter what season of the year we find ourselves in, you will notice that whenever a ray of sunlight appears through the window, your dog runs to occupy the illuminated space to spend many hours lying in the sun. Although we also love lying in the sun or exposing ourselves to it to tan our skin, the truth is that they are much smarter in this aspect and they do so for compelling reasons that we detail below. Keep reading dog57's article and find out why dogs love basking in the sun. 

Benefits of sunbathing for dogs

Yes, dogs enjoy the sunlight for all the benefits that sunlight brings. Do you want to meet them and learn more about dog behavior? Here are the main benefits of sunbathing for dogs:

The sun is a natural source of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is part of the group of fat-soluble vitamins, that is, those that dissolve in fats and oils, and are stored primarily in the fatty tissues of the body, and therefore, remain in the body for a longer time. In this way, the dog does not need to be provided with vitamin D supplements daily, or foods rich in them, because his body can maintain them for some time. In addition to obtaining it through the previously mentioned means, dogs learn that the best way to provide their bodies with the amount of Vitamin D they need is through sunlight, so the main reason that answers the question of why dogs like the sun are, without a doubt.

In the same way that Vitamin D is essential to the proper functioning of our bodies, it is also essential for dogs. In this sense, this fat-soluble vitamin helps the absorption of calcium and phosphorous, which is why it helps in the correct development of the dog's bones and prevents the appearance of diseases related to the bone system, such as osteoporosis. On the other hand, vitamin D plays an essential role in animal muscle development, favors the nervous system, and enhances muscle contractions, a fact that is especially beneficial for large dog breeds such as the American Staffordshire Terrier. Likewise, this vitamin also benefits the immune system of the animal.

In our case, when we sunbathe, the vitamin D is directly absorbed by the skin, however, when it comes to animals, the hair that covers their entire body prevents it from reaching the dermis, so the oil that turns into vitamin D remains in the dog. fur. Therefore, after a long period of lying in the sun, dogs lick their paws and the rest of their bodies to suck. 

Boosts serotonin production

If you thought that the benefits of the sun for dogs decreased the absorption of vitamin D, then you are very wrong, because sunlight also helps to produce more serotonin. This chemical produced by the body acts as a neurotransmitter to maintain a stable mood, so we can say that it is one of the most effective natural antidepressants. In this way, when lying in the sun, the dog prefers the production of this substance, which enhances the feeling of happiness that it conveys, and thus improves its mood. Therefore, we can say that another reason why dogs love the sun so much is that it simply makes them happy.

 improve dog sleep

In addition to all of the above, exposure to sunlight helps the secretion of melatonin, a hormone responsible for regulating the sleep cycle in animals. This way, by releasing more of this hormone, the dog can increase the quality as well as regulate the hours of sleep and rest peacefully.

 Provides warmth in cold weather

Of course, sunbathing provides warmth to dogs on cold days. This way, in addition to exposing yourself to the sun to get vitamin D, you will feel better psychologically and physically, as you do so to combat the cold winter temperatures. Likewise, some dogs are more cold-resistant than others, so the most vulnerable, such as Chihuahuas and other short-haired breeds, tend to spend more time basking in the sun.

 Relieves joint pain in elderly dogs

The coat of older dogs is much weaker than that of young dogs, so they are more likely to feel cold and notice increased pain in their joints in case of rheumatic diseases. In this sense, sunbathing relieve this sensation and helps them not feel too much discomfort.  

Is the sun good for dogs?

After reviewing the main benefits of sunbathing for dogs, it is necessary to clarify whether or not it is beneficial for them. Well, although it may seem to us that after knowing the previous data, the answer should be a resounding "yes", the truth is, "yes without going over". In those dogs in the growing period, excessive sunbathing can result in the absorption of more vitamin D than necessary, which can lead to excess calcium which may lead to improper formation of the jaw and teeth and changes in the nervous system, muscles, and bones. With this, we do not mean that we should not let our puppy lie in the sun, but we must be vigilant to prevent him from doing so for several hours a day.

On the other hand, white-haired, short-haired, or very short-haired dogs can suffer from burns, heatstroke, or heat stroke if they are exposed to sunlight for several hours at a time. These dogs do not have a resistant coat like the rest, and therefore, we must take extreme precautions if we want sunlight to become something beneficial for them and not the other way around.

Precautions to be observed

To prevent the sun from harming our dog, we advise you to observe the following pointers:

Make sure fresh water is always available.

In times of high heat, cool your dog by wetting his head.

Currently, the animal products market also offers dog sunscreens, if your dog is hairless or very short-haired, feel free to get one.

Prevent your dog from lying in the sun for many hours at a time, or during very hot daylight hours.

Do not shave your dog's hair. Dogs have two types of fur that allow them to adapt to changes in temperature. Cutting their hair shorter will make them more exposed to UV rays.

If you have symptoms of heatstroke or heat stroke, immediately remove them from the sun and cool them down with a cloth dampened in cold water. If it does not improve, go to the vet. 

Warning signs of heatstroke in dogs

Before delving into the warning signs that our dog may be suffering from heatstroke, it is necessary to differentiate this condition from heatstroke. Heatstroke occurs when a dog's body overheats for a short period, and it can occur as a result of intense exercise, hot weather, or excessive exposure to sunlight. For its part, heatstroke is more dangerous and usually appears after heat stroke if it is not treated. We must pay special attention to both cases, because failure to do so may end in the death of the animal.

The main symptoms of heatstroke in dogs are:

fast breathing

Body temperature above 42°C

increased salivation

Increased heart rate

bluish skin due to lack of oxygen

Tongue discoloration from water loss

muscle tremor


If your dog develops any of these symptoms after sunbathing for several hours in a row, act quickly, remove him from the heat and wet his head and rest of the body with a cloth dampened in cold water.

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