When you live in the UK, especially in the North West like us, rainy days are pretty common and can cause a lot of stress at the home because it’s just not enjoyable to get soaked through and cold. When you have kids and dogs this can create a very stressful day. You can’t go out for a walk easily for fear of getting wet and miserable all around.
Humans, however, have a better understanding of rain and how to prepare for it, unlike dogs. Very few people like being out in the rain and those who do would still wrap up warm and wear waterproof clothing. Humans also find the noise of the rain relaxing and calming.
A dog, however, may see rain in a completely different light to humans and very few breeds like to go outside when it’s pouring down and beating on the windows. Most dogs do not like the rain at all, they don’t like being in it and they don’t like the noise it makes either.
Do dogs like to walk in the rain?
Not really. Dogs don’t like having cold, wet rain constantly landing on their coats and they certainly don’t like it when the water splashes their underbellies and ears. It’s a pretty miserable affair to them. Would you like to go out in the rain completely naked if you had a choice? Of course not, and dogs don’t either.
Because dogs are shorter and closer to the floor, they are likely to get even wetter than their upstanding owners. Splashed from walking will get on their bellies, ears and face. This is especially true of shorter breeds such as Jack Russells, Pugs and Daschunds.
Rainwater constantly beating on their coats also creates a very uncomfortable experience for them as they get colder and they feel the damp seep through their coats and closer to the skin.
Walking the dog in rain is not something they tend to enjoy even if they’re used to water and love swimming but it’s not to say that all breeds will feel the same way. On a rainy day just observe their behaviour and you’ll find if you may have one of those kinds.
Dogs don’t like the noise of rain
Perhaps the most telling reason why a dog hates the rain is a sad dog is the noise it makes. A dog’s hearing is completely different from humans it is not just that they hear better but they hear at a completely different frequency and distance. This makes the noise of rain a constant annoyance and to some breeds a major source of anxiety.
In simple terms, dogs hear noises with higher pitches and hear noises from a greater distance – rain is a constant noise so it’s a constant annoyance to them which they can not escape from. In reality, dogs probably hate the noise of the rain hitting the windows and roof more than they do when it lands on their coat when they go outside.
Some dogs with floppy ears can block a lot of noise out and you’ll notice that most breeds will have folded their eats to protect themselves – some dogs are not so lucky such as Alsations.
Should I walk my dog in the rain?
This question is not as simple as it sounds and neither is our answer and dog owners know that. Dogs need exercise and they also need to go out to do their ‘business’ during the day or that will add even more anxiety to their day and in turn, yours.
Even when it is raining, a dog who really needs to go to the toilet will leap out into the garden to get it all done quickly before dashing back, if you’re lucky enough to have a garden or a yard then offer the option to go out from time to time but do not force and don’t just throw them out. Even those who worry that my dog won’t go out in the rain will find their pup more than eager when they are desperate to go.
From our personal experience, when our Jug Jeff doesn’t get any exercise he starts getting antsy in the house and can become a little naughty. In these situations, we will wrap him up in a waterproof dog coat so he doesn’t get wet through and take him out for a very short lap to stretch his legs and another chance to do his business. He doesn’t resist the offer of this and we would never do it in heavy rain.
When we’re back in we will help him dry him off and he will usually dry the rest of his coat off on his waterproof dog bed and make use of the radiator.
Can a dog get sick from being out in the rain?
When walking dog in rain there is a possibility that they could get sick but it is unlikely. The most likely reason would be from ingesting dirty water and the bacteria it has in it would make them unwell, you can make this impossible by avoiding dirty water and stay to concrete paths.
A dog who is exposed to a large quantity of water can suffer from water intoxication. However, it would take a lot more than getting wet from the rain for your dog to encounter this. You can read our linked article for more information if you’re curious.
Lastly, being outside in the cold and wet can make the immune system of your dog a little weaker which can then lead to catching an illness that they would have otherwise fended off. It goes without saying that a dog that may already be sick should not be taken outside when it is raining.
Tips for a rainy dog day
If you’re reading this with your dog on an actual rainy day then these quick tips may help you get through
We have more tips on taking a dog out in the rain here.
- Never force a dog to go out in the rain
- Always offer the option to your dog to go out throughout the day
- If your dog is getting antsy in the house try and gently take them out for a short walk when the rain is not to heavy
- Give your dog plenty of treats if they do venture out to let them know they’re doing great
- Invest in some waterproof dog products such as water proof coats and water proof beds.
Dogs do not tend to like the rain when they’re inside and outside – the mixture of irritating noise and the cold, damp and dirty water creates an experience they hate. Sometimes, you and your furry friend may have to venture out to get business done but with our tips, you can make it a tolerable experience for all.
Ronnie is the JugDog site editor and a dog expert who has lived and worked with dogs his entire life. Living in St. Helens, UK with his wife son and Jug Dog Jeff Ronnie spends most of time researching the answers to the burning questions of the dog community as well as reviewing the latest and greatest dog products.