Did You Know Dogs Need Sunlight?

Izzy (Photo by D. Williams)

D. Williams

Sunlight is vital to our wellbeing as well as our pets. It is essential that dogs get sunlight at different times of the day. We are talking raw sunlight from early morning through mid-day and into the evening.

Raw Sunlight has a natural spectrum of light from infrared (IR) right through to ultra-violet (UV). Dogs should be exposed to raw sunlight in the early morning (sunrise), again in the middle of the day (in Arizona about 12:30 p.m.), and in the late afternoon just before sunset. Sunlight coming through a window or glass, the UV light is absorbed and will not reach your dog.

1. Early morning light has no UV light. It has blue, green, and red light. This pattern of light kick-starts your dog’s metabolism, wakes everything up, and gets it moving for the day.

2. In the mid-day (about 12:30 p.m. Arizona time) as the sun shines through less of the atmosphere, we are exposed to the full spectrum. From IR right through to UV, with the highest levels of UVB and overexposure results in sunburn.

3. In the sunset/evening or late afternoon the spectrum of light from the sun shifts to red and IR, without any blue light present at all.

Circadian Rhythm is the natural, internal process that regulates the sleep–wake cycle, which repeats roughly every 24 hours. We also know the circadian rhythm is greatly affected by types of light we are exposed to. A healthy circadian rhythm is critical for good health. It controls patterns of brainwave activity, hormone production, cell regeneration, and many other biological/biochemical activities over the day/night cycle. Melatonin is the most important of these hormones for regulating a healthy circadian rhythm. Melatonin levels increase in the late afternoon and evening from the influence of red light and darkness and calm your dog. They make her sleepy and ready for bed. However, this rhythm is very sensitive and is easily disrupted by artificial light.

What about artificial light? Artificial light has a much different spectrum than natural raw sunlight, and it has many adverse impacts on health. Artificial lighting has a high proportion of blue light, which destroys melatonin and upsets a healthy circadian rhythm. The strongest sources of blue light are flat-screen televisions and LED-powered devices, like smartphones, tablets, and computers. This affects our pets as well.

Increase Sunlight, Decrease Artificial Lighting. Make sure your dog has good exposure to raw sunlight during the important periods of the day. Use red lights after sunset. Red light has the least damaging impact on melatonin. Use incandescent bulbs that emit a yellow, orange, or red filter for nighttime lighting. By making sure your dog gets the right amount of sunlight at different times throughout the day, you help her live a healthier life.

Rover’s Rest Stop & Ranch Kids look forward to seeing you Saturday, April 9! Please call if you have questions about boarding/pet sitting or finding your new best friend!