Should I Walk My Dog in the Rain?

Walking is necessary for our canine friends to control their weight, help their mental health, and do their business! However, there is nothing worse than a lingering wet dog smell in the house, especially if your dog friend has long fur.

As it turns out, the smell isn’t the only bad thing that the rain can bring to our dogs. Excessive exposure to the rain can also be quite dangerous for their health, their mental state, and your’s and your dog’s safety.

No one likes cold weather, and walking in it can be an absolute nightmare. All pet parents have had to ask themselves at some point: Should I walk my dog in the rain?

Whether you plan on walking to the local dog park, going on a shorter walk, or even going for a hike, we suggest you follow these top tips to make your rain walking as safe and pleasant as possible.

Walking Your Dog in The Rain 

Ultimately, most of us have to walk our dogs in the rain at some point. For many of us, this is a recurring thing during the colder, wetter months. Dog walks get colder, wetter, and our pups start to get a bit fussy.

Some dogs do seem to enjoy the downpour and are simply happy to get out and enjoy the fresh air. You may have seen the odd dog in the rain that adores getting absolutely drenched!

On the other hand, some do not appear to appreciate the rain quite so much. This could be because they do not like the different smells in the air, that they are afraid of stormy conditions, or simply because they do not like getting wet. 

Some dogs’ fears are correct to a degree in that should they stay outside in the cold and wet for too long, with a thin layer of fur as their only protection, your little pup could catch a nasty cold. It’s all the more reason to invest in a dog umbrella or dog rain jacket.

What if Your Dog Hates Getting Wet?

Some dogs hate getting damp, which can make life quite difficult for many dog owners! 

Thankfully, there are a few things that you can do to help your perfect pet or daft dog feel a little more comfortable about going out into the rain. 

  • Wear appropriate clothing for wet weather: Dog raincoats are available for purchase in many pet shops and are widely available from dog suppliers on Amazon. They may not all be Haute-fashion, but they are efficient in keeping your dog dry and warm. 
  • Walk your dog in a covered area or sheltered area: If you can, always walk your dog in a sheltered spot when it rains. This will help prevent them from getting a cold and help your dog feel a little more confident about going out. 
  • Avoid busy streets with splashing cars: If it’s the water that your dog hates, then being next to a splash zone is definitely not a good idea! The noisiness of the area could also add to their discomfort, especially if they are already stressed out. 

Breeds That Don’t Like the Rain

A few pets and dog breeds out there really can’t stand walking in the rain.

Chihuahua:

These little dogs have very thin fur and are prone to shivering naturally. These nervous nellies are very sensitive to bad weather – sunshine too, actually!

French Bulldog:

French Bulldogs are covered with a very thin layer of coat. The little barkers will definitely need covering up, and an extra coat will do the trick just fine.

Pug:

Pugs resembling French Bulldogs in their type of coat and even in their faces. The rain could make it more difficult for them to breathe, so do be careful. 

Bassett Hound: 

The Basset Hound is a dog that needs a perfectly comfortable lifestyle. That, of course, means that they do not like any extreme conditions. Be it too hot or too cold, rain or snow – they won’t enjoy it!

Boston Terrier:

Boston Terriers are pretty well-known for being picky. One of the things that they hate the most is definitely rain! They are not keen on getting damp at all, but cold and wet is a definite no-no. 

Yorkshire Terrier:

These little pups have a very fine coat and do not enjoy dealing with the cold and the damp, especially the senior ones.  

Miniature Pinscher:

Miniature Pinschers get cold very easily and, on most days, do well with an added extra layer. It is definitely worse for them on rainy days. 

Chinese Crested:

Now, these dogs definitely need some layers! Taking them out in a downpour is an easy way to help them catch a cold. This dog needs some warmth and support.

When Not to Walk Your Pup in the Rain

Although sometimes walking a dog in the rain is inevitable, you should not take your dogs on wet trundles in some cases. Here are a few situations in which you should not be walking your dog in the rain: 

  • Young puppies: Like human babies, young puppies are more susceptible to catching colds, infections, and other ailments that should be avoided at all costs. Letting them out quickly to do their business is necessary, but do not linger with them while it’s raining.
  • Senior dogs: Senior dogs are more likely to have arthritis and joint problems, so taking them out in the damp could make them feel very sore and worsen their condition. Not all water is bad for them, and taking them swimming could do them a lot of good, but rain should be avoided. 
  • Thunderstorms and flooding: This one seems evident as no one should go for a walk in thunderstorms or flooding! But should you decide to, taking your dog could be a reckless mistake? Out of fear, your dog could get away from you in search of a safe area and get lost in the storm. 

6 Tips for Pet Owners who Walk Their Dogs in The Rain 

Invest in a dog raincoat or dog rain boots 

Nowadays, you can buy a waterproof coat for most breeds. A dog raincoat will make a significant difference and are a must for any dog owner who lives in a particularly rainy region.

They make your dog stay dry and help them to relax more over time in the rain. As a bonus, they are also cute and funny to look at! 

Some coats even come with a dog umbrella to cover their heads. Would you rather have a wet pet?

Make sure you are visible. 

On any walk with a dog, it is vital to be visible on busy streets and town centres. Heavy rainfall can seriously obstruct a driver’s vision, and you and your dog could be in significant danger if you are not well-seen from all sides.

When buying a dog coat, invest in a reflective one as well as a reflective jacket for yourself to better ensure both of your safeties. 

Keep it short 

Even dogs who seem to do well under the rain should not be left out in it for too long. The longer your dog is under the rain, the more likely they are to, at the very least, catch a cold. Exercise is essential, but it would be silly to risk catching a cold in the name of staying healthy! 

Use positive reinforcement 

Some dogs are naturally afraid of heavy rain. It could be due to a previous bad experience or an embedded fear. Either way, sometimes getting them out is a nightmare. That’s why it’s a good idea to use positive reinforcement. Have them follow you into the rain and reward them with a treat.

Start by taking them on a short walk in a little rain, then gradually increase the length or number of strolls. Starting walking when it’s raining with your dog at a young age is more beneficial than starting later in life.

Also, when you tie velcro straps on their raincoat, make it something fun that they get excited about (like every time you pick up the lead). 

Don’t let Fido drink from puddles. 

It is always essential to bring a water bottle and a bowl with you on every dog walk. We tend to forget these items during rain showers, and it doesn’t seem as much of a problem as it is when it is hot. This is entirely false!

Your dog is still exercising and will quickly get thirsty. When that happens, they will go to the nearest water source: puddles. These puddles could be filled with all sorts of chemicals from the road, rubbish, and faecal matter from other animals. 

Dry your dog thoroughly 

Once you get home from a walk in the rain, switch on the hairdryer, get a fluffy towel – dog drying coats are a cool idea, too.  Helping them air-dry is another way to make your dog sick and will prolong their discomfort.

Drying them directly and letting them settle by the radiator or the fire is the best way to ensure their comfort and health. It’s more important for pets with long hair to dry quickly, as their moist fur will naturally keep them colder for longer, as opposed to other dogs who could air-dry relatively fast.

Plus, do you really want to come back from soggy walks for your dog to start shaking themselves all over the house? Probably not.

Conclusion 

Keeping you and your dog safe on walks should always be priority number one. Most dogs and their owners will have to spend some time walking in the rain together at some point – but walking in the rain doesn’t have to be a dreaded occasion.

Keep Fido dry by getting the right doggy rain gear: a pair of snazzy dog boots for dry paws and a brightly coloured dog raincoat to keep their short or thick coat nice and dry.

Making sure that your dog gets enough exercise on their daily walks is imperative, but just as you wouldn’t go for a jog in a storm wearing nothing, neither should your furry friend!

Many dogs hate the rain, and you have a chance to make it something that both you and your dogs love with only a small additional cost.

Rainy walks are nice and romantic for couples – but walking your dog when the rain is pouring down? Maybe not so much – your dog might not see it that way, anyway! Treat them to some top-line dog food and they’ll get over it soon!

John Devlin

Blogger and owner of George and Henry. Two gorgeous goldens that couldn’t be more different. One is a dream loving and caring, and his sibling is as naughty as can be. When I am not blogging about dogs, I love watching sport and travelling with the family.
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