Why Do Dogs Lay in the Sun? Here Is the Secret to Dog Sunbathing!

Why Do Dogs Lay in the Sun? Here Is the Secret to Dog Sunbathing!

Almost all of us embrace summer days with the warmth of our hearts. We enjoy putting our glares on, using sunscreen, and just spread out on a mat at the beachside.

Surprisingly our dogs also love stretching under the sun. Definitely, their goal is not to get a tan, then what triggers this proclivity?  

Well, pet parents notice a number of inexplicable behavior like berserk digging, spinning around a place, or even howling for no reason.

Much canine behavior may not make any sense to us, but the selfsame activities are certainly reasonable to our furry-buds. Soaking under the sun is one such habit, and fortunately, this one is not so energetic for them.  

We've all seen our dogs panting in hot weather or gulping water after exercise, sometimes even after a walk on a summer day.

If the heat exhausts them to such extent, why do dogs lay in the sun then? What's the secret behind dog sunbathing? Here is a detailed guide to explain your dog's wired behavior. Have a look.

Why Does My Dog Lay in the Sun When it's Hot?

Just like humans, dogs can also suffer from too much heat or heat-related injuries. Their exposed areas like mouth, ears, or footpads can burn if your pup stays too long under direct sunlight.

Even dog trainers and vets advise not to leave your dog in a locked car in sunlight. Because dogs lack sweat glands, they can easily get overheated if not provided with a cool or shady place. Even mild temperature has a bad impact on canine’s health.  

Then what attracts them for laying in the sun? Well, the answer is quite simple and easy to understand. Just like a human body, dogs also need to metabolize certain body fats and oils into vitamin D.

For mammals, D complex is quintessential to strengthen their bones, and keeping minerals of the body balanced. The importance of vitamin D is the same for both humans and dogs. But there is a difference; vitamin D gets formed in the human skin and quickly gets absorbed.

On the other hand, vitamin D forms on the fur of canines where the body fats and oils are deposited. It's obvious that out fur-buds can't absorb vitamin D like us, so as a result, they lick their fur after sunbathing. Basically, dogs ingest vitamin D, just like a human takes a supplement pill. 


One thing you must always remember, don't provide your dog with extra doses of vitamin D. I have seen many pet parents opting for vitamin D supplements because their dogs produce less vitamin D.

Well, it's pretty common that your pup may produce it less than the body requirement, but you should be aware that the vitamin D is oil-soluble. Thus, if you provide him with excess vitamin D, it will build up in the body. 


What you can do is, ask your vet to test the vitamin D level in your pup's blood. Only after getting the test results, ask your vet whether supplements are required or not. Generally, dogs don't need supplements as long as they get adequate sunlight.

Here is one more thing that you should adhere to- only sunlight isn't sufficient, both you and your buddy need proper exposure to the ultraviolet B radiation of the sun to form enough vitamin D in the body.

Nowadays, most of the windows with an anti-glare or multi-paned technology blocks the UVB rays, so direct exposure to the sun is better to produce vitamin D in your or your dog's body.

Can an Overdose of Sun be Harmful to My Dog?

You have got a clear idea of why do dogs lay in the sun. Now it's time to know whether an overdose of sunray can be harmful to your dog or not?


As you know, an overdose of anything can be harmful to anybody. No matter whether it's your pup or you, prolonged exposure to the sun may lead to sunburn along with skin cancer.

Moreover, if your pup is from a hairless breed or has really short, thinly coated fur, he is more likely to catch sunburn than other types. Also, if your pup has white or light-colored hair, you must keep a watch on the duration of your dog sunbathing.

If you want to prevent sunburn, ensure that he has access to shades all the time while laying in the sun. It's their instinct, which will come into play to seek shade whenever the heat becomes too intensive for them.

In case you spend a huge amount of time outside with your pup, consider picking some dog-safe sunscreen. Human sunscreen won't work because it contains zinc oxide, which is toxic to pets.

So, next time whenever you want to go out in direct sunlight with your pup, just apply some sunscreen on your pup and enjoy the sunny day. 

What If I Can't Get My Dog Enough Sunlight?

Are you unable to take your dog out for a walk in the sun? If yes, you can easily use supplements. In case the supplements aren't also your thing, fret not!

There is a way out. The folks from the extreme northern part of Canada, Alaska, Russia, and Scandinavia are using this solution since ages to render their pet enough vitamin D even in that dead winter climate. The key is a UV bulb or a full-spectrum lighting setup. 

Yes, you can purchase full-spectrum light bulbs, or fluorescent tubes from different manufacturers, even 'lightboxes' will also work.

But you must check with your vet and get a 'Yes' before opting for such a type of supplement. Also, don't leave your dog the whole day under that UV light because it may cause skin irritation or even eye damage. Again, ask for a proper advisory from your vet beforehand. 

Should I Encourage Dog Sunbathing?

Of course, you should encourage your pup for laying in the sun and ingest vitamin D orally. If you let him do it by himself, there will be no requirement of a supplement or UV lamp.

I hope I could resolve your query- 'Why does my dog lay in the sun when it's hot?' For further queries, drop a comment in the below box. Stay connected for more pet guides. Adios!

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