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You are watching: Why do dogs like to lay in the sun

About 30 minutes of sunlight twice per day is a healthy amount for your pup

How Long Should I Let My Dog Lie in the Sun?

Just as it’s important to make sure that your dog gets enough sunlight, you should also make sure that he isn’t getting too much.

Too much sun can cause health problems for your dog. As a general rule, if you’d had enough of sitting out in the sun, you can bet your dog has had enough too.

However, most dogs will instinctively know when it’s good for them to lay in the sun. So, as long as he isn’t lying in the sun for the whole day, there’s usually nothing to worry about.

Potential Dangers of Too Much Sunlight

Since being in the sun for too long can cause health problems for your dog, it’s important to understand what those health problems are and how to avoid them.

Heat Exhaustion

When humans get hot our bodies sweat to help us regulate our body temperatures.

Dogs, on the other hand, don’t sweat. Instead, they pant. But even though panting will help your dog regulate his body temperature, that doesn’t mean he’s immune from overheating.

The signs of heat exhaustion are pretty easy to spot. Your dog might start panting excessively, be extremely thirsty, drool, be lethargic, dizzy, experience muscle tremors, or start vomiting or having diarrhea.

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to get your dog out of the heat right away, and give him some clean water to drink.

To avoid heat exhaustion, make sure your dog doesn’t stay outside for too long, especially on hot days.

Never leave your dog inside of a parked car! And try not to walk him during the hottest parts of the day.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is a very dangerous condition that occurs when your dog’s body temperature reaches 106°F (41°C) or over. At this point, your dog’s internal cooling system will start to fail because it’s been so overwhelmed by the heat.

Once this goes, other parts of your dog’s internal system start to fail too. This includes your dog’s circulation and neurologic systems.

If your dog has heat stroke, he might start vomiting or having diarrhea, which might have blood in it. He might start walking unevenly, or collapse completely, and be unresponsive to you. Heat stroke can also cause seizures.

Heat stroke is usually the next step after heat exhaustion. That’s why it’s incredibly important to get your dog indoors or over to some shade as soon as he starts showing any signs of being overheated!

Once your dog reaches heat stroke, and his internal circulation and neurologic systems start to fail, it can be hard for your dog to recover.

If your dog shows signs of heat stroke, don’t worry about any at-home remedies. At this point, you need to get to your vet straight away!

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Skin Cancer

Just like humans, excessive sunlight can cause skin cancer in dogs. Even though your dog is covered in fur, that fur doesn’t protect him completely from the sun’s rays.

There are several different types of skin cancer that might affect your dog. Certain breeds tend to be more at risk of skin cancer too. Dobermans, Miniature Schnauzers, and Scottish Terriers tend to be mostly affected by benign melanomas.

On the other hand, the more aggressive squamous cell carcinoma mostly affects Collies, Basset Hounds, and Beagles.

If you spot any abnormal patches on your dog’s skin, that’s a sign he might have skin cancer. Depending on the type of cancer, these patches might be raised and colored red, brown, black, or grey. They might also appear like warts, or appear as inflamed patches.

If you think your dog might have skin cancer, it’s important to take him to the vet right away to get a diagnosis. Remember, the earlier you can catch skin cancer, the easier it will be to treat it!


Lying in the sun is a totally normal, healthy thing for your dog to do. It stimulates the production of serotonin, which makes your dog happy and relaxed. It keeps your dog warm, and lying in a nice sunny patch is incredibly relaxing and restful.

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At the same time, it’s important to watch your dog, and make sure he doesn’t get too much sun. This can lead to heat exhaustion and, at worst, heat stroke, which is incredibly dangerous and possibly fatal. You should also make sure your dog doesn’t show any signs of skin cancer.

When your dog is outside, always remember to provide him with clean, fresh water to stay hydrated, and shady areas for when he gets too hot.

And remember to spend some time out there yourself—the sun is good for you and your dog!