Dog Sunbathing: Everything You Should Know About Bathing

Do you have a dog who likes to lay down in the sun during the summer? Like humans, dogs also love sunbathing and it’s very common.

They mainly enjoy the heat of the sun on their skin and fur, as it keeps their mood relaxed. They enjoy this feeling and also get vitamin D from the sun. But, does too much sunbathing have any side effects? Which benefits does a dog get from sunbathing? In this article, everything is discussed in detail.


Why Do Dogs Lay In The Sun?

Almost all dogs love to lay in the sun because it feels good and they enjoy it so much. The sun’s rays are the source of vitamin D, which is very beneficial for dogs’ health. Is your puppy lounging in the sunlight on sunny days?

Actually, he feels very comfortable when the sun’s rays fall on his skin and fur. It makes him relax and improves his overall mood. Sunbathing also helps to regulate your dog’s temperature and provides calcium and phosphorus as well.

Dog Sunbathing
Dog Sunbathing

The Importance of Vitamin D:

Vitamin D is considered more of a hormone than a vitamin when it enters the body because our puppies manufacture it in response to direct sunlight. Since our furry friends cannot absorb calcium without vitamin D, it’s also considered to be a vitamin.

It is usually formed in the fatty tissues of the body and liver and plays an important role in maintaining the balance of calcium and phosphorus in dogs’ bodies. It also regulates insulin levels that support diabetes management.

Vitamin D is necessary for both humans and dogs because it helps bone formation, muscles, and nerve control. It also metabolizes body fats and oils. Though vitamin D is easily absorbed in humans’ bodies, it is formed in the fur of dogs where oil and fat usually accumulate.

Due to which it cannot be easily absorbed into their body. So, after sunbathing, dogs lick their fur through which they take this vitamin orally and it enters their body properly.

Can Dogs Need too Much Vitamin D:

Although vitamin D is very beneficial for dogs’ health, having too much is very harmful. Excessive amounts of this vitamin entering the body can be life-threatening.

It drastically increases the production of calcium and phosphorus, which makes your dog physically ill. Hypercalcemia is a major consequence of excessive amounts of it. Symptoms of overdose of this vitamin are:

  • Depression
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Limping
  • Erratic heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Bleeding
  • Muscle weakness
  • Confusion
  • Frequent urination
  • Poor appetite
  • Kidney failure

Generally, the amount of vitamin D in the body is less likely to be excessive, unless your puppy takes supplements. Somehow, when its levels are high in the body, it hardens and coagulates in the kidneys, arteries, and heart. Renal failure is more likely to occur if treatment is not given early. So, contact with your veterinarian if see any of these symptoms in your dog’s body.

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Other Benefits of Dog Sunbathing:

Here are given other benefits of dog sunbathing:

Sun improves dog’s mood:

When the sun shines on your dog’s body, it produces a type of neurotransmitter called serotonin. It is a natural antidote. It stabilizes his mood and stimulates the brain parts which control waking and sleeping. Serotonin also stabilizes the feelings of their well-being and happiness and they enjoy it so much.

Sun helps improve rest:

In addition to serotonin, sunlight also helps to produce a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin regulates your pup’s sleep cycle by which he will be able to increase the quality of his hours of sleep and can rest in peace.

Sun warms their body:

The sun is the source of all heat. Our beloved puppies benefit more from the heat of the sun, especially in winter. In winter, they can keep their body warm by the sun’s heat, which keeps them free from various diseases. Besides, older dogs can avoid their rheumatic problems through sunbathing in this season. Keep in mind, excessive heat from the sun can cause heatstroke. So always be careful.

The Science Behind Dogs Sunbathing:

When we sunbathe, UV rays react with the natural oils on our skin to break down the chemical bonds that make vitamin D3. Then it is absorbed into our body and bloodstream directly. The process takes 15-20 minutes to complete.

Similarly, it also occurs in the body of dogs. UV rays break down the chemical bonds of their skin oils to make vitamin D3. However, it is not directly absorbed into their bodies like humans but is formed in their fur.

So, they lick their fur while grooming and take this vitamin orally. Therefore, when they are grooming themselves, they not only keep themselves clean but also ingest vitamin D(though they get most of vitamin D from their diet).

Can Too Much Sun be Harmful to Dogs?

Dogs have the following problems if they are exposed to the sun for a long time:

●     Heatstroke

●     Sunburn

●     Skin cancer

Dogs who are short haired or hairless, have thin coats, or white or light-colored fur are usually at higher risk of sunburn. So, be sure to use dog-safe sunscreen before your puppy is exposed to the sun. But never give him human sunscreen because it contains zinc oxide which is very dangerous for dogs.

Excessive sunlight on the skin is more likely to cause skin cancer. During your pup’s sunbathing or when you go out with him, be sure to check whether he has access to shade and use dog-safe sunscreen.


How long should dogs sunbathe?

Actually, there is no limit to sunbathing. It totally depends on your dog’s age and physical activities for how much he should sunbathe. If you and your beloved puppy sunbathe together-when you feel like it’s enough for you, that means it also enough for him. Then both of you can take a break and sit in a shady place for a while. Always keep him hydrated, keep plenty of water on hand, and you must use sunscreen.

Is it OK for my dog to sit in the sun:

Sunlight is good for dogs but not too much. Through the sun’s rays, your dog gets lots of benefits, and most importantly he gets lots of vitamin D. The need for this vitamin in the body of the dog is immense. Even through sunlight, he can also keep his brain calm which gives him mental peace. It is absolutely ok for him to sit in the sun but do so in moderation.

Is it bad for dogs to sunbathe:

Although sunbathing is not bad for dogs and they get lots of benefits from sunlight, too much sunbathing is very bad for them. It causes various problems like sunburn, skin cancer, etc. Then they go through a very turbulent life. So, it will be good if you use dog-safe sunscreen before sunbathing and make sure they have access to shade.

What does sunburn look like on a dog:

Here’s what a dog looks like because of sunburn or some signs of dogs sunburn:

  • Redness appears on the skin
  • Cracked skin, curled edges of the ear
  • Skin dryness and tenderness
  • Hair loss
  • Skin infection or skin cancer
  • Blisters

What vitamin do dogs get from the sun?

Dogs get vitamin D from the sun. The sun’s UV rays react with their skin oil and break the chemical bonds to produce vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is formed in their fur. After sunbathing, they lick their fur and take this vitamin orally which helps them in the absorption of calcium.

What kind of vitamins can I give my dog?

Vitamin A, B, C, D, E, K, all are essential for dogs. However, water-soluble vitamins are safe for the dogs’ bodies and you can give your puppy these vitamins. Vitamin D is needed for them because without it calcium and phosphorus cannot be absorbed. Most of the vitamin D they get from the sun, though they can also get this vitamin from their diet.

Does the sun make dogs tired?

Yes, the sun makes dogs tired. Dogs love to sunbathe and the sunlight produces melatonin in their body which regulates their sleep cycle. So, many times the dog gets tired and falls asleep during the sunbathing session.

Is sunlight good for dogs?

Yes, sunlight is good for dogs. While the sun rays fall on their body, they enjoy it very much because it gives them peace and keeps them calm. The sun produces serotonin in their body that stabilizes their mood.

They also get vitamin D from the sun, which is very beneficial for them. However, it is important to remember that excessive sunlight is harmful to the skin of dogs. It causes various diseases including skin cancer, blisters, and sunburn.

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