We all enjoy the summer heat. We like to put our glasses on, smear on some sunscreen, and call it a day at the beach. Dogs love the sun as much as we do, probably even more. As a pet parent, it’s normal to have a couple of questions about why do dogs lay in the sun.

Sometimes you can’t wrap your mind around your dog’s behavior, so you want to get some insight into what it is that they are thinking about. Here, we have all the answers to your questions. This is a detailed guideline on why do dogs lay in the sun.

dog laying in the sun

Why Is My Dog Laying in the Sun?

It’s instinct. Every dog loves to sleep under the sunlight, whether that is near a particular window or a spot. The thickness or color of their fur won’t affect their need to rest in a warm environment. Besides, a day without sunshine is like a night with no sleep. Sunlight isn’t merely a tonic for proper rest, but it is also vital food. (1)

The most important reason why dogs lay in the sun is that sunlight produces serotonin – kind of like a natural antidepressant. When a dog spends time sleeping under the sun, its body increases serotonin production, thus making them feel happier. (2)

Simply put, dog sunbathing has an appreciable impact on their body. It also creates a sustained sense of relaxation. Do you want to get some behavioral insights on your canine friend? Then the Fi Series 2 Smart Collar will do the trick. It will help you track your dog’s activity and help them stay in shape.

Do Dogs Get Vitamin D From the Sun?

The sun helps dogs keep their body temperature in check. Despite being covered in fur, dogs still produce vitamin D in their body. The animal can make this vitamin under direct sunlight. Vitamin D in dogs plays a key role in calcium absorption.

The vitamin D that they do generate gets stored in their fatty tissue and hair. It helps maintain a calcium and phosphorus balance, which is important for healthy bone formation. Vitamin D in dogs can also be obtained from the food they eat.

Note: Dogs don't process vitamin D the same way we do. They have fur, which means they can't effectively absorb vitamin D3 back into their system. Instead, the vitamin remains under the fur. So, to replenish their vitamin D sources, dogs actually take it from their fur when grooming or licking the body. (3)

My pug likes to take naps where the sun hits on cold days.

Is It Ok for My Dog to Lay in the Sun?

Of course. Provided with adequate access to shade, your dog will have no trouble laying in the sun. It’s normal for your dog to want to take advantage of a chance to stretch and sleep. Whenever it gets too hot, dogs instinctively know when to back down. So, they will turn to their shade instead.

If you see your dog gravitating towards his favorite sunny spot, let them enjoy the benefits of the sun. Better yet, encourage their behavior. If the two of you spend time outside, you both can replenish your vitamin D sources and feel happy and fulfilled.

How Much Is Enough?

Are you asking yourself, "how long should I let my dog lay in the sun"? There is not enough research that talks about how long a dog should lay in the sun. What we do know is that dehydration can happen especially, if your canine friend lacks shade and water.

It’s important to be cautious about your dog’s surroundings and make sure you provide them with the necessities. For a more detailed outlook on your dog’s resting patterns, check out the Fi Sleep Tracking for Dogs. You can use it to monitor their nighttime or napping interruptions on a regular basis.

My Dog Is Panting While Laying in the Sun – Is That a Good Thing?

Dogs pant all the time, particularly after a long walk or a super playful session. Dogs pant to let their bodies cool down. Since their skin doesn't sweat (other than the paw pads), panting provides a sense of relief. Stress and anxiety can also lead to panting.

But, when panting is paired with trouble breathing, it could be a red flag for heatstroke, respiratory issues, or an allergic reaction. Heatstroke can happen in the middle of summer. Mainly when the dog is left in a car under the scorching heat.

Other heatstroke symptoms include glazed eyes, quickened heartbeat, increased body temperature, extreme thirst, and bright/red tongue. If you notice any of these tell-tale signs of heatstroke, then move the dog away from the sun and let them cool down completely. (4)

Trouble breathing, whether that is the result of an allergic reaction, obesity, or an infection, can also make the dog pant. With problems such as these, it is best to consult with a specialist. Although panting is often harmless, it’s a good idea to talk to a vet when the pet is dealing with ailments.


  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7084567/
  • https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/lifestyle/walking-in-sunshine/
  • https://www.petcarerx.com/article/why-dogs-sleep-in-the-sun/3388