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Hello guys,

Do dogs needs sunlight? Internet is wishy washy on the subject.

Do you expose your dogs to sunlight? How much of it and when?

Cheers
 

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In what capacity? For Vitamin D?
Yes. Some sites said if the food is not fortified with D, then a supplement is necessary. Mine eats raw, which I guess has D via daw meat bones. Some said the dogs needs a total of an hour or so spread throughout the day and that they get the D off the fur when they groom themselves....
 

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It's a little bit more complicated than just getting vitamins off of their fur.

There's a precursor to Vitamin D that exists on the skin of the animal. Exposure to UV light allows the body to convert it into Vitamin D. Commercial dog foods are fortified with Vitamin D - Canines don't synthesize it as efficiently as humans do, and they don't need as much, but it's still a natural physical process.

I'd probably focus on the dietary numbers and make sure the food itself it isn't deficient in D.
 

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I have never heard of this before. Most of my dogs rarely lick or groom themselves and lots of mammals live in the far north where sunlight is virtually or even completely absent for several months.

Seems like something of a myth perhaps?

I experience mild seasonal affective disorder and one of the ways I combat it is to make sure to get my dogs out for a long hike/run in the full daylight at lunch break, particularly in the winter. This has done wonders for my mood and energy at the end of the day, and the dogs love it, too. But us humans are almost completely diurnal in our habits, unlike dogs.

Leaving any animal locked away in a dark room without sensory stimulation or access to the outdoors is very bad for their mental status. I'm not entirely sure, however, that sunlight has anything to do with it. Plenty of wild canids are mostly nocturnal, including our dog's cousins the coy-wolf-dog, and seem to be coping just fine.
 

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Well, I am not a scientist, a doctor or even particularly bright but here is what I can tell you from personal experience.
I own a dog that has bad skin. She itches incessantly in the winter, though much improved after our move. I am in Canada so long winters. And the province we previously resided in is notorious for crazy, unpredictable weather. Think 37 above to 17 below with 15 inches of snow within a few days. Just some background for you.

In any weather that permitted I made a point of getting her outside just to soak up the sun for at least an hour. Coat would improve, bald spots from scratching healed and grew in within days, she slept better, her eyes brightened up and her appetite improved. This is aside from her regular exercise and outside time, this was time I freed up during the sunniest part of the day to simply let her lounge in the sun, in all 12 months of the year.

To state that wild canids are nocturnal is misleading. Wolves and coyotes are frequently out and about during the day, hunting or just touring about, and have been seen sunning themselves. Dingoes are also active during the day, as are African wild dogs.

Hunting takes place when prey are about, it has little to do with time of day.
 

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Another can of worms is if too much sunlight reflecting off of clean white snow can be bad for their eyes. As with all things, some sunlight and fresh air has got to be good for all of us. Extremes in temperature, light or darkness, can't be optimal.
 

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SmilinSue.... Looks like she has a couple degrees in science, but none in veterinary science and wrote a book on vitamin D deficiency in people. But a credible source? mmmm.... I'm guessing that one person somewhere published this theory on vitamin D in the oils on a dog's fur and everyone else with links saying similar kind of ran with it without researching it further. If I have time later, I'll see if there is any actual science behind this.

My understanding is, as far as Vitamin D goes, dogs get it through diet, not sunlight.
 

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My degree is a Bachelor of Science as well. It's in mechanical design. :) Other than her self learning on vitamin D deficiencies, I don't see anything credible about her "knowledge" of dogs and I can't find a single other source that states anything about the fur thing.

But I do find credible, academic backed, articles stating dogs get very little from sunlight and their requirements are met by food.

Side Note: I also suffer from severe vitamin D deficiency if I don't take 5000 iu daily. It affects many things in people.
 

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Her BS is in foreign language/literature (she came up in a convo elsewhere).

Doesn’t necessarily mean her writings are inaccurate, but those credentials don’t give her any automatic veterinary/animal husbandry clout with me. JMO.
 

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This seems like a reliable source:

https://avmajournals.avma.org/doi/abs/10.2460/javma.250.11.1259?journalCode=javma

In short, dogs and cats to not synthesize vitamin D in their skin, and require dietary supplementation. I'm surprised a person who researched vitamin D deficiency in humans wouldn't have done some basic research to get her facts straight on this matter. Vitamin D deficiency is a real issue in humans and dogs, particularly those of us in northern climates. Which why people used to do things like drink cod liver oil.
 
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