If you have ever wondered why your Pug seems to spend so much time resting by your window when it’s sunny out, you’re not alone. If you wonder whether it’s good for your Pug to be sunbathing so much, you’re not alone there, either. These dogs love lying in the sun, even when they start panting like crazy.
So, Why Do Pugs Like To Sunbathe So Much?
Basically, because it feels really good. A Pug’s body temperature is 100.5-102 Degrees Fahrenheit. Lying in the sun helps to regulate their basal body temperature.
Our Pugs may not need sunglasses and can use a dog-safe sunscreen. A towel or shirt is nice if they’re going to lie on concrete or sand, to keep them comfortable while laying on a hard surface.
However, like with humans, dogs can also get sunburn or even skin cancer if their sunbathing isn’t kept in moderation.
Never leave your Pug in the sun unsupervised, especially in the summer. They don’t sweat as we do and your Pug can easily overheat quickly.
As a Pug owner, you’ll want to know how to keep your Pug cool, especially, if they overheat.
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The Benefits of Sunbathing for Pugs
Like humans, Pugs need Vitamin D as well. However, they process it differently than you do.
Instead of using it as a vitamin, your Pug’s body processes Vitamin D as a hormone. Your Pug processes it as a direct response to sunlight. It can’t absorb calcium without it.
Calcium isn’t the only thing that sunlight helps to regulate. Your Pug also stores Vitamin D in the fatty tissues of the body and liver. It assists in the regulation of the bone structure, muscle and nerve strength as well as phosphorus regulation.
The difference between your Pug and you is that you absorb sunlight directly when it breaks down your chemical bonds. I know that this is going to sound a little gross but your Pug doesn’t absorb the Vitamin D until it licks itself. This is due to the fact that they have so much hair, their skin can’t absorb the Vitamin.
So the next time you catch your Pug licking itself, remember that it’s also doing so as a part of its diet.
The Risks of Too Much Sunbathing
As mentioned above, dogs can also get sunburn and skin cancer. If you regularly take your Pug outside for a good part of the day, please invest in a sunscreen for dogs. I’ll go into more details about those in a minute.
The most common cancer in Pugs is squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). It usually shows up on the muzzle only. It occurs when an ulcerated plaque bursts and then bleeds or oozes a strawberry-colored liquid.
The second most common sun-related cancer in Pugs is hemangiosarcoma (HA). It’s the malignant form of a mass on the blood vessels. Hemangiosarcoma (HAS) is the benign form of the blood vessel mass.
Dogs can also form actinic keratosis (AK’s). Those are the gross-looking thickened skin crusts that can easily turn into cancer. Humans are vulnerable to it as well.
Dogs with barely-there, very thin, or light-colored coats are at the highest risk for sunburn.
Dog Safe Sunscreens
Never try to put your human sunscreen on your Pug. A lot of the ingredients, such as zinc and oxide, are toxic to Pugs.
Dog safe sunscreens contain more natural ingredients. They include a lot of natural oils such as raspberry and carrot seed. Coconut oil is another popular ingredient as well.
Some natural butters, such as Shea, are very helpful to dogs as well. The best ones, such as Chris Christensen Ice, also help to keep your dog’s coat detangled and conditioned.
Again, always invest in sunscreen if you and your dog are outside a good bit of the day on a regular basis. If you’re really not sure which one would be best for your Pug, you can always check with a local veterinarian.
My Pug Loves to Lie in the Sun, Too
Chances are, your Pug probably has its favorite spot, such as a window or a sliding glass door. Chances are, that’s the spot that feels the warmest to it.
My Pug loves to lie next to my sliding glass door so much that I have to set a timer. I always make sure that she never does so for more than 20 minutes. Letting your Pug lie in their favorite sun spot for more than 20 minutes without a shirt and/or sunscreen puts it at risk for sunburn and the cancers described above.
However, if you consistently limit your Pug’s time in the sun, chances are, it will eventually learn to adapt. Mine now walks away from the glass door as soon as the timer goes off. Believe me, it makes a difference for your Pug’s health and prevents expensive veterinarian treatments or worse.
Final Word on Your Pug’s Sunbathing
When it comes your Pug’s sunbathing, the key is to help it maintain it’s health and safety. Do everything you can to train your Pug to cooperate as well.
If you do spot any lesions or any other spots that look suspicious, contact a local veterinarian as soon as possible. Your Pug will thank you.
References And Further Reading
Whole Dog Journal – CJ Puotinen – Vitamin D for Dogs