When you care for a precious pooch, you aren’t entirely able to bask in the comforts of a nice rain. You instead have to worry about how often you should be letting your dog out of the house. That concern, of course, leads to a whole new set of anxieties, like: Are there dangers to letting my dog walk in the rain? What’s going to happen if my dog doesn’t get his daily walk? If you’re reading this as a concerned dog parent, know that you’re not alone in having these panicked thoughts. To give you some peace of mind, I’m going to break down the key facts you need to know about dog walking on a rainy day.
Do dogs like walking in the rain?
Like us humans, each dog is going to have a different opinion on the rain. While some will be reminded of their dreaded bath times with the water pouring down on them and the ground slipping underneath their feet, others will enjoy playing around and feeling the wet mud between their toes.
So for those of you with finicky dogs, you must ask yourself, do you cut back on their outdoor time during frightful weather, or do you try to train them into enjoying rainy walks? Ultimately, the decision is up to you. Just make sure you watch his body language before deciding what course of action will be best for your furry friend.
Can a dog get sick from walking in the rain?
The real danger your dog faces when walking in the rain does not come from the place you might expect. The rain itself is not truly harmful. What you need to watch out for when accompanying your faithful sidekick on his walk is a puddle. Puddles contain microorganisms and germs due to the spread of nearby fecal matter. They may also be host to dangerous chemicals that have run off from other locations.
If your dog is anything like mine, he will likely want to drink from any body of water that crosses his path. When you are unfamiliar with a water source, it is best to play on the safe side and veer your pup in the opposite direction to avoid potential harm or infection. It is equally important to remember that these rain puddles can persist long after the storm itself has passed, so continue to be mindful of your dog’s outdoor behavior no matter the current weather conditions.
How do you walk your dog when it’s raining?
There are multiple ways to handle outside time on days where the rain doesn’t seem to stop, including:
Finding suitable protection: Since the water on the ground poses far more of a threat to your dog’s health than the actual rain, one option that should be considered when trying to help your doggy is the use of accessories. Yes, dog boots and raincoats are incredibly cute and will make for perfect Instagram posts, but they also have a practical purpose. Boots will protect your dog’s feet from unseen dangers, and coats would do the same by shielding his fur from any splashback.
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However, if you’re worried that your dog may be susceptible to hypothermia on account of his short hair or single-layer coat, a fleece-lined jacket will do wonders to keep him warm. Or, if you don’t want the hassle of dressing up your pooch, a clear umbrella that attaches to his leash would also do the trick.
Maximizing comfort: As I previously mentioned, it is possible to train your dog to make the best of walks in the rain. Just as you trained him to follow basic commands, you can teach your dog to associate the rain with positive experiences through reward-based training. When your timid pup builds the courage to venture out into the great storm, make sure you consistently reward him with treats and praise. You should especially reward him when he goes to the bathroom.
Additionally, if you’d like to dress your dog to the nines for his rainy day stroll, rewarding him whenever he successfully wears his raincoat and boots is essential. However, above any training, the number one action you can take to maximize your dog’s comfort when facing the rain is to thoroughly dry him after every walk. If you keep a towel by the door, you can easily wipe his feet, face, and body, which will immediately warm him up and rid him of any discomfort.
What if my dog won’t go out in the rain?
Your dog cannot avoid going outside forever. If training him to enjoy the rain doesn’t work out in your favor, you can always try to teach him a “hurry” command so that he will know to do his business before quickly jumping back inside. Alternatively, you can create a space inside with pee pads to provide a safe spot where he can relieve himself during stormy weather.
Is it okay to skip a dog walk?
Of course, it is! While your vet may prefer that you walk your dog every day, life will sometimes interrupt your plans, which does not make you any less of a good parent for your fur baby. That being said, you should never forget that walks are incredibly important in providing your dog with exercise and a healthier lifestyle. Walks also provide your dog with a way to alleviate his boredom and a means to spend quality time with you.
But if your dog prefers to avoid being soaked or you aren’t feeling up for the task of a walk, there are plenty of supplementary options you can pursue. Here are a few easy options to entertain and exercise your dog while keeping him inside.
How can I exercise my dog indoors?
Food puzzle toys
Nothing motivates dogs like food! If you give them a puzzle toy, I can assure you they will be occupied both mentally and physically for hours to come.
If you have a treadmill at home, you can easily get your dog running indoors. Give him treats to keep him motivated, and he will surely burn off a lot of excess energy.
With a large house, playing fetch inside is a simple task. However, if you live in a smaller house or apartment, try to find your longest hallway, sit at one end, and watch your dog excitedly run back and forth.
Training classes or daycare
This one may feel like a cop-out since it’s not going to be happening in your own home, but it still applies. You can take your dog to meet up with his friends for a fun day out if you can’t play with him on your own.
And remember, if you can’t walk your dog on a certain day, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, try to find a way to supplement the walk with indoor exercise!