Have you ever wondered why your dog likes to lay in the sun so much?
Maybe he does it because he’s bored? Or maybe he’s trying to stay warm as he is feeling cold? Whatever the reason, his habit just might be worth noting.
After all, did you know that veterinarians recommend that spending time in the sun is good for your dog?
A dog likes to lay in the sun because it warms up his body, increases his serotonin level, which makes him feel calm and helps to generate melatonin, which regulates his sleeping pattern. It also eases his itchiness by killing any parasites present in his fur.
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Makes Him Feel Warmth (Get Vitamin D)
Sunlight is enjoyable for dogs because of its warmth. They get a chance to warm up their bodies and to dry out their coats.
Sunlight is also a natural source of vitamin D, which is an important fat-soluble vitamin that your dog needs to help prevent osteoarthritis and other bone related problems.
The easiest way to make sure your pet gets enough vitamin D is to give him some sunshine every day!
In fact, 80% of your dog’s vitamin D needs will be met by spending just 15 minutes a day in the sun.
But prolonged exposure to the sun can be dangerous for your dog.
It can cause him sunburn and even skin cancer.
Too much sun can also cause an overproduction of melanin, which can lead to hyper-pigmentation.
This is how your dog gets those unsightly dark spots on his skin.
A lot of times, your dog will be exposed to more sun than you would guess.
Just look at the bottoms of his feet. If they are pinkish or reddish, he has been out in the sun too long and need to be protected.
That’s why you should use effective sunscreen for your dog. It should be safe for your dog’s skin and provide protection for at least 2 hours.
Makes Him Feel Calm (Increase Serotonin Level)
When dogs lay in the sun, they feel some level of comfort because it helps to increase the serotonin level in their brain, which makes them feel good.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is naturally produced by the body.
It’s responsible for your dog’s mood, sleeping cycle and many other functions.
Getting enough sunlight increases the amount of serotonin that the body is producing and that will help to prevent depression or anxiety.
If possible, get him an early morning walk, so he has time to get some sunlight before it gets too hot.
Try to avoid letting him outside during the hottest part of the day.
You should also make sure that he gets enough exercise so that his body is getting the oxygen that it needs to produce more serotonin.
This is especially important during the winter months when your dog might feel extra depressed due to lack of sunlight to generate more serotonin.
Make Him Sleep Well (Generate Melatonin)
When your dog is exposed to sunlight, it helps to generate melatonin, which helps to regulate his sleeping pattern and ensure that he gets a good rest.
In fact, if he falls asleep under the sun, it could actually be harmful for his skin as he could be over exposed to sunlight.
So keep an eye on him when your dog is out in the sun for a sunbathe. Limit the session to only 15 minutes at most.
Alternatively, you can put your dog in a room with a window that gets lots of morning sunlight. Your dog can then sunbathe indoors.
Ease His Itchiness (Kill Parasites Present In His Fur)
Dogs also like to stay in the sun because it helps to keep their skin and fur healthy and ease their itchiness by killing the parasites present in their fur.
Parasites which thrive in dark, moist places can be dangerous for your dog’s health. They can live in the skin of an animal, in its fur, or even in the intestines.
One of the most common types of parasites that affects dogs is fleas.
Fleas love to live on animals that spend a lot of time outside.
Your dog is at risk when he is playing in the yard or going for a walk outside.
By simply lying in the sun, the sun’s rays will kill the fleas that are hiding in your dog’s coat.
This is why it is important for you to make sure your dog always has access to the sun daily.
This is, of course, not the only way to rid your dog of fleas.
You should also bathe your dog and groom him regularly.
Use a flea comb to remove any fleas and ticks that are hiding in his fur.
Even if your dog does not have fleas, the sun will help to keep his skin and fur free from other types of parasites.
Black Colored Dogs – Higher Risk Of Sunburn
Dark-colored dogs are often at risk from overexposure if they are under the sun for too long because of the black pigment in their skin that absorbs most of the sun’s rays.
This is in contrast to white-colored dogs who have no pigment at all and are at a lower risk of sunburn.
So keep that in mind if your dog is dark-colored and be mindful of the duration that he is sunbathed.
Having said that, what should you do to ensure your dark-colored dog gets the maximum amount of vitamin D he needs?
Just let him out in the sun for at most 10 minutes every day and make sure that you supervise him closely to prevent him from getting sunburn.
It’s also a good idea to apply an appropriate amount of sunscreen to his body, nose, ears and paws before you let him out in the sun.
You can also give your dog foods such as chicken liver, fatty fish like salmon and tuna, egg yolks and beef, which are rich in vitamin D.
However, it is difficult to get enough vitamin D from these foods alone. Therefore, it is a good idea to give your dog some vitamin D supplements as well, if your black dog is unable to be out in the sun for too long.
Overheat Symptoms To Watch Out
When a dog reaches a temperature of 101°F or higher, he will start to show signs of heat stress.
These signs are very similar to those seen in humans who are suffering from heat stroke.
The most common signs are rapid panting, usually accompanied by increased salivation, restlessness, vomiting and diarrhea.
What you should do immediately is to take whatever action you can to lower his body temperature.
Take some cool water and bathe the dog’s body with it or wrap him up in a cold bath towel. Do this for at least 10-minutes.
Make sure to keep the dog away from direct sunlight and ensure he drinks lots of cooling plain water.
Dogs who are showing signs of heat stress need to be cooled down and rehydrated as soon as possible.