Why Do Dogs Like Lying in the Sun?

Dogs love the sun. There’s just no doubt about that. They’ll take any opportunity to soak up a little UV radiation and give their skin a pink glow. But besides getting an all-over tan, do dogs benefit from lying in the sun? The answer, as you might have guessed, is yes.

why do dogs like lying in the sun
Why do dogs like lying in the sun?

Canines are active creatures, but they don’t always get the exercise they need to stay healthy. Sure, dogs love going on walks – but it’s not enough to keep them fit. And since most people work during the day and sleep at night, their dogs have a lot of spare time on their paws.

That’s where the backyard comes in. With enough space to run or lay around in, your dog can soak up the benefits of the sun.

Good Relaxation

Laying in the sun is a great way to relax. A 15-minute walk can tire out any dog, so there’s no shame in taking it easy after exercise – dogs need their rest just like humans do. When your dog lays down in the sun for a little while, it can help to recharge all of its cells and get the blood pumping again.

Vitamin D

Dogs need to go out in the sun because it helps to produce vitamin D. Vitamin D is necessary for strong bones and teeth but can also help prevent rickets. That’s why you’ll see your dog laying down outside every day – even in winter snow. Be mindful, too much vitamin D is toxic for dogs.


Dogs who live in colder climates need all the sunbathing they can get. That’s because sunlight helps strengthen their bones, which are under constant pressure from snow and ice.

dog sitting in the sun
Happy dog sitting in the sun

Better Brain Function

Spending time in the sun is good for the canine brain. That’s because the sun helps to regulate the pineal gland. When this gland is working correctly, it can help to improve your dog’s memory, lower its anxiety levels and increase mental awareness – all of which are great for playing fetch or training tricks.


Every dog needs their beauty sleep, and a nice dose of sunlight can help them get it. When a dog lays in the sun for a little while, it’ll become lethargic – which might be what you want when your pup has been running around all day. For this reason, it’s normal for dogs to be a little lazier in summer.

Of course, this phenomenon doesn’t always work how it’s supposed to. If your dog has been sleeping outside all day, it might not want to sleep inside later.


Because sunlight helps produce serotonin, your dog will become happier when they spend time outside. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter linked to feelings of happiness and well-being. So you should try taking your pup out for an extra-long walk on days where it’s sunny.

Does Your Dog Require Special Treatment in the Sun?

Not every dog can handle the sun. If your dog has thick hair covering most of its skin, it could have trouble staying cool in the sun. Make sure that you check to see if your dog is overheating while it’s outside.

If it’s a cloudy day, then your dog probably isn’t getting any sun – but he’ll still need lots of love and attention. And don’t forget that dogs can quickly become dehydrated from being outside all day long. Always make sure that your dog has access to clean water.

sun drenched dog
Beautiful sun-drenched dog

Microbial Effect of Sunlight

Sunlight helps to kill off some microorganisms on your dog’s body. Fleas eggs and larvae will dry out in the sun. Lying in the sun can kill any yeast and germs that might develop in wounds if your dog has an open wound or cut.

Your older dog can benefit from sunlight if it suffers from arthritis, rheumatism, and other similar diseases. Dogs that suffer from arthritis can benefit from sunlight because it helps to reduce inflammation and relax the muscles surrounding their joints. A short sunbathing session could help your dog to sit down and stand more easily.

How Much Sun Does a Dog Need?

Sunlight is good for your dog’s health, but too much of it can be dangerous. Don’t bathe your dog in the sun because it will cause your pet to overheat.

And if your dog’s skin is thin, then you should limit their time outside – especially during the summer months. If possible, don’t let your dog out when the sun is at its highest point in the sky (between 11 a.m and 4 p.m.), and make sure that they have access to shade at all times.

What is the Ideal Temperature for Dogs in the Sun?

As a general rule, if it’s too hot for you, then it’s probably too hot for your dog as well. If the sun feels scorching and you can’t leave your hand out in it without feeling pain, then your dog can’t either.

The Risks of too Much Sunlight

It’s easy to assume that too much sun is a good thing, but it can be dangerous for your dog. When it’s too sunny, then your pup can become dehydrated or sunburned.

Puppies also need to be watched more closely than adult dogs because their skin is thinner and less resistant.

Signs of Heat Stroke in a Dog

Dogs can get heat exhaustion and heat stroke just like humans. Look for these signs in your dog:

  • Heavy panting
  • Drooling and vomiting
  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Red or pale gums

Always check your dog’s skin for redness, heat, blisters, or pain after spending time in the sun – if there are signs of any of these problems, then get your pet inside immediately. If you can’t get your pup out of the sun right away, then keep your dog out of the direct sunlight and offer them plenty of water to drink.

cavapoo in the sun
A Cavapoo shines in the sun. So cute!

Vitamin D Toxicity

Too much vitamin D is toxic for dogs. It can become harmful for your dog when it spends too much time in the sun – especially if it gets a sunburn.

If you notice any of these signs, get to a vet immediately:

  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Loose stools or diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Increased thirstiness
  • Decreased urine production or decreased urination frequency
  • Rapid breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Worsening of any sunburns and blisters on the skin

If caught early enough, you can treat this condition. But if too much vitamin D builds up in your dog’s blood, then it can cause severe problems and even death. However, monitoring your dog’s exposure to sunlight can help prevent these problems.

Final Thoughts

Essentially, dogs like to spend time in the sun because it’s good for their health. They love the warmth and enjoy spending their days outside. It makes them happy, and it’s good for their skin, coats, and muscles.