Sunlight and Canine Health are very closely connected. More than often you will notice a dog enjoying a sunbath wherever it finds fit. It turns out that there is a bit more to it than just the feel good factor which is associated with sunbathing. Much like us humans dogs /to savor lying and relaxing in the sun to a great extent. It is among the lesser known facts that dogs just like human beings derive Vitamin D from the sun’s rays. It is a process where the sun’s UV ray breaks down and converts the oil in the skin into an essential Vitamin D. Bathing in the sun is one of the simple pleasures of a dog no matter how oblivious it is to the scientific aspect and benefits of the same. In the case of us humans, the Vitamin D is automatically regenerated back into the skin that consequently enters the blood stream. However, this process on a Dog functions quite differently. A few common dog breeds that simply love sunbathing are Labrador retriever, a golden retriever, Chihuahua, Bulldog, etc. A dog randomly snoozing or curling up in the sun is the most common view that one gets to see.
Firstly let’s discuss Vitamin D which is commonly referred to as the Sunshine Vitamin. The consumption of a sufficient amount of Vitamin D is of utmost importance as it contributes to the growth of teeth and bones. Moreover, it is not a vitamin but a hormone that controls the mineral metabolism in the dog’s body. So, to round it off a dog laying in the sun helps in the maintenance of its bone structure which is vital in cases of larger dog breeds.
Be it small or large breeds of dogs all canine sun-seekers require to intake a certain amount of Vitamin D. As previously mentioned furred animals do not consume Vitamin D in the same manner as humans do. The skin of dogs contains the same chemical oil that gets converted to Vitamin D3 while they lay in the sun. The difference in the absorption of the vitamin is that it doesn’t happen automatically. The vitamin enters a dog’s body orally only when they lick their fur as is seen as a common trait in any dog. The consumption of Vitamin D not only helps in maintain calcium in the bones but it also keeps a healthy heart, maintains nerves and muscles. This is the very reason why a dog should be allowed to laze around in the sunlight, in moderation as it indirectly contributes to the betterment of their health.
In the new dog’s study, similar results were found in comparison to human studies. According to the research, low levels of Vit-D leads to high rate of heart diseases and failures in dogs. The fur of dogs acts as a brilliant non-conductor against debris and elements that prevent the dermal immersion of Vitamin D into the dog’s body. However, the vitamin D that is created through sunlight is not sufficient for dogs as it does not get automatically regenerated into the internal organs of the dog. The major part of Vitamin D consumption occurs through their diet supplements since they do not continuously lick off their coat so that the vitamin seeps into the skin and mixes in the bloodstream which results in the insufficiency of the sunshine vitamin in dogs. Reproductive and thyroid problems are widespread in dogs that can also be measured with the intake of the required amount of vitamin D.
There are pros and cons to everything. As the saying too much of everything is hazardous, daily sunbathing has its harmful effects. If a dog lies in the sun for a prolonged period, it proves to be harmful. In such scenarios, they usually suffer from severe sunburns, heart strokes and also develop skin cancer. The severity of sunburn varies from one dog breed to another. Dogs with a thick coat are less prone to getting sunburns. Dogs with a thin coat and light colored fur are majorly susceptible to severe sunburns. It is by instinct that they automatically look for shade when the sun’s heat intensifies. The risk of skin cancer among dogs can also be curbed to a great extent by keeping them in the shade at regular intervals and carrying suitable sunscreen lotions that are free of zinc oxide while staying in an outdoor environment.
However, the toxicity of this vitamin also acts fatal, i.e., too much of it can also lead to illness and death. Too much of Vitamin D leads to increased levels of calcium which in turn hardens the body tissues that more than often may result in kidney and heart failures. A few preventive measures, in this case, can be abstaining from cutting the thick coat, a cool bath, protecting vigorous sunbathers and considering protective clothing in special cases. It is seen in many occurrences that a dog is left alone in a car in the parking lot while the master goes off shopping. This practice must be banned all around the globe because a dog inside a heated car can die within the span of minutes as a result of sunstroke.
Thus, it is crucial for dogs to sunbathe as it receives a daily dose of Vitamin D through the synthesis of sunlight. The expression of more than 210 genes is affected by Vitamin D composite. It can be concluded that the dogs love for bathing in the sun are nothing unnatural and not a point of concern if done within a limit. The experience is as pleasant for a dog as it is for a human. They do derive a specific amount of Vitamin D from their food supplement but, while laying in the sun, the dogs covers up the deficiency of the sunshine vitamin that is created in the system. Apart from the scientific and nutrients contribution a dog always takes delight in a sunbath as it imbibes a happy feeling very similar to human beings. Read More about Dog’s Health.