Nothing is better than a little fun in the sun. A half dozen times a day I have the opportunity to take in the rays. It doesn’t matter whether it’s to let the pups outside to go potty, our daily park excursions, or simply sitting on the back porch in my favorite chair. For me, I’ll use any excuse I can to go outside in the sun. Even with the extreme humidity during the summertime in the South, I still prefer the heat of the sun over being inside behind a desk or the cold of winter.

I have learned over the years that my dogs follow my lead and often exceed my desire to bask in the sun each day. I have observed that the dogs spend a little extra time sniffing and exploring when it is a sunny day. The urgency to go potty or stay focused on their walk seems to be secondary. Instead, a little extra lounging in our sunny backyard seems to take precedence over any other reason we’re outside. When at the park, they would much prefer to run along the open fields in the sun than to follow the shady path through the woods. Even while resting on our back porch, they will find the exact spot the sun is shining through the screens and choose to stretch out as far as they can. And, as the patch of sun moves, they relocate themselves to continue taking full advantage of laying in the sunshine.

It’s not uncommon for the dogs to attempt to pull a fast one over on me throughout the day. They will wake up out of a long nap, stretch, come to the corner of my office chair and act excited. This is usually a strong indicator that they need to go outside to potty. We go downstairs, gather the leashes and make our way outside to our backyard. At first, the dogs will sniff a spot for a while and lead me to think they’re going to go potty. But, before I know it, they are lying sprawled out on the ground for some sunbathing instead.

Kramer, my liver-tan Miniature Schnauzer, will stretch out with front legs and paws fully extended forward and back legs and paws fully extended backwards. As for my white toy Schnauzer, Dusty, she will roll over and lay flat on her back with a stick or leaf in her mouth and begin rolling around side to side. For this reason, we have nicknamed her “June Bug.” It’s as if she wants to make sure she receives some sun on her belly while scratching an itch on her back. As for me, I’m left holding the leash and having been fooled again.

We have all heard that it is good for the mind, body and spirit to spend a few moments each day in the sunshine. The resulting vitamin D that the sun provides can be good for you in moderation. I figure that if it’s good for me then it very well should be beneficial for the dogs. So, it seems like a win–win for both me and the pups. We enjoy it and our bodies seem to as well. However, I wanted to know more about the health risks associated with my dogs spending time in the sunshine and how much time is considered too much. So, I did a little research and got some advice from the experts.

Demian Dressler is known as the “dog cancer vet” and is author of Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity. According to Dr. Dressler, you should get your dog into the sun, with a few exceptions, as it has a dramatic effect on active vitamin D levels in the blood. Allow your dog to be exposed to direct sunshine a couple of times a week, about 10 to 20 minutes each time.

You have to be aware of not overexposing your dog to sunlight, especially if they have been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma or hemangiosarcoma of the skin, which have increased risk for dogs who go in the sun. Get a full spectrum lamp for your dog instead.

Of course it goes without saying that you should always check with your dog’s veterinarian for specific treatments and your dog’s individual needs.

As I look out the window of my office, the wonderful sunshine is in full force today. I think I’ll find another excuse to get out of the office and soak in some rays. Of course, the pups will be right by my side. The joys of summertime!

Do your dogs crave sunshine? Share your stories in the comments.

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About Tim Link: All-American guy who loves to rock out to Queen while consuming pizza and Pinot Noir and prefers to associate with open-minded people who love all critters. Considers himself to be the literal voice for all animals. Author, writer, radio host, Reiki Master, Animal Communicator and consultant at Wagging Tales.