Why Do Dogs Lay In The Sun?

Dogs love to lay in the sun.

Big Sil included! Even in the winter, he always manages to find a small square of sunlight coming through the window. Why does he position himself right there in that little sun square? Why do dogs lay in the sun?  Researching this topic yielded interesting perspectives.

Do dogs synthesize Vitamin D by laying in the sun, just like humans can? According to Dr. Ken Tudor and many other sources, dogs cannot produce Vitamin D in their skin and must rely upon diet. However many on-line sources theorize differently. Humans have an oil on their skin that when exposed to sunlight, converts to Vitamin D, which is absorbed by the skin. Dogs have the same oil on their skin, but absorption is blocked by fur. On-line theorists believe dogs lick their fur after sunbathing, thereby ingesting the Vitamin D [Misc sources: Kristen Sudelko for PetSolutions; hairyandmerry.com].  Could this be the reason why dogs lay in the sun?

One thing is for sure, Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine research, published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, confirmed low blood levels of vitamin D were linked to poor survival rates in the dogs. The study demonstrated a link between low levels of Vitamin D and incidence of congestive heart failure.

The AAFCO, Association of American Feed Control Officials, recommends 500 minimum to 3,000 maximum IU per kg of bodyweight which can be found in most dog foods. However according to Healthy Pets by Karen Becker, vitamin D toxicity is actually much more common than vitamin D deficiency. She does not recommend supplements of vitamin D, but instead a fresh food diet containing food sources rich in vitamin D. What does Big Sil eat? High Vitamin D sources that are safe for dogs like salmon, beef liver, and egg yolks. Of course, he cannot resist the occasional cheese snack as well.

So is this the reason Big Sil and other dogs lay in the sun? It seems to be an instinct. We all try to pay attention to when our bodies are telling us something, but we also have tendencies to stress ourselves and ignore our bodies, running ourselves down. Big Sil seems to be much more in tune with natural healthy instincts than we are as humans. Vitamin D is such a hot topics in human health, we might learn a lot by following Big Sil’s way of living. He just may be trying to tell us something: taking a little time each day to lay in the sun is good. Whether it’s because it produces much needed Vitamin D or it is just a pleasurable, relaxing activity, either way, try it for yourself. It does feel good!

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2 comments

  • Drew
    July 9, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    I didnt know dogs cant produce vitamin D. go ahead and tan big sil. good job 😉

  • Anonymous
    July 9, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    My dog loves to lay in the sun too. When he gets too hot he just moves inside or into the shade. I do believe he does it because it is somehow “good” for him. Thanks for posting about it!