Dogs

Dog and Teddy Go for a Float

With spring so near and summer just around the corner, this video had me wishing it was time to bust out the bathing suit and sunblock. This dog has the right idea, bringing a teddy bear with to float around and bask in the sun. Everything’s better with a friend, especially when your friend doubles as a pillow.

Dogs, like humans, produce that valuable vitamin D by being exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D helps to make our bones and teeth strong, same with our canine friends. When we are out in the sunlight our skin produces an oil, which is then absorbed by our bodies and goes into our bloodstream as vitamin D. Dogs produce this same oil when they sunbathe, but their fur prevents it from being absorbed into their skin. Instead, when they lick their fur after being in the sun, they ingest the oil which then turns into vitamin D. Most brands of dog food have sufficient vitamin D for your dog, so unless you make your own dog food they don’t really need extra vitamin D from the sun.

Vitamin D isn’t the only benefit of sunlight for your doggie, though. Since dogs belong in the mammal group and all mammals need sunlight in order to naturally produce serotonin, it’s important for your dog to get those UV rays. Serotonin is what elevates our moods, making us feel lighter and happier. When we, as mammals, sit in the sun it acts as a natural anti-depressant. It’s recommended that we get 10 hours of sunlight every day to stay healthy and happy.

Going further into the science of sunlight and mammals, we can talk about melatonin and all the great many things it does for your health. Melatonin is produced in the dark of night while we sleep, but it’s stimulated by sunlight. Melatonin affects almost every aspect of our bodies; our muscles, brains, immune systems and so much more. But it only works properly when you give your body the absolute darkness it needs, combined with adequate sunlight. Our dogs are no different. They can suffer from thyroid imbalances, reproductive issues and of course depression.

Sunlight is so very important, but remember to protect your pooch because it can also be harmful. Dogs that are lighter in color tend to be more prone to sunburns. Applying the right type of sunblock to the tops of their noses and that sensitive belly area near the back legs should prevent that from happening. Be sure to find a sunblock that is free of zinc oxide, because it’s toxic to pets.

The weather is changing and soon there will be little room for excuses to stay inside. Get out and enjoy the sunlight and take your furry friend with you. The benefits are worth it!

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Julie Antonson

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