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. Having dogs or kids or both with rain is practically a recipe for disaster. The preparation of going out for a walk becomes a pain.
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.
Do dogs like to walk in the rain?
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.
Most dogs don’t like to walk or go out in the rain. They don’t like having cold, wet rain constantly landing on their coats, and they certainly don’t like it when the water splashes their underbelly and ears. It’s a pretty miserable affair for them.
Well, can you blame them? Would you 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.
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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?
Taking your dog out in the rain isn’t a simple yes or no question. It depends on several reasons and more importantly your dog. 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.
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.
How to prepare your dog for a rainy walk
If you’re like Sandra and you live in an area which gets perpetual rain then the best course of action is to accept your lot and prepare for the inevitable rain. Here are some handy tips to make the rain easier to handle
Invest in waterproof coats
A waterproof coat for both you and your hound can increase the time you can spend out in the rain without getting soaked. For you, the coat can pretty much completely cover you but for the dog, there’s always going to be somebody part sticking out so by no means will a waterproof coat make them immune to the water.
Check the forecast
Check the weather forecast for the day and pick a time where the rain is likely to have subsided or stopped completely. There’s no need to go out when it’s at its worst.
Go during the day
Go for the walk when visibility is at its highest. Rainy days can be grey days which can reduce visibility making spotting dangers harder. If your walk is in more rural areas this is more important.
Plan your route
Avoid busy roads where you and your dog can get splashed and avoid roads and footpaths are susceptible to flooding. Keep your rainy walk as safe and dry as possible.
We’d also recommend aiming to get to the spot where they can do their ‘business’ and then decide if it’s worth continuing the rest of the walk.
Keep them on the lead
It’s best practice in adverse weather to keep your dog on the lead so they can’t get into trouble. This is especially true if they’re going out in rural areas or in natural parks where there could be mudslides, rivers which have broken their banks with strong currents and other sorts of dangers.
To keep them on the lead look for waterproof harnesses which can work with the waterproof coat. If you’re going on a hike-style walk then pack a dog tracker in case they wander off too much or escape somehow from the lead. A dog whistle could also be handy if they’re trained with it.
What to do when you’ve been hit with sudden rain/flash rain?
Sometimes you may be out on a walk and then bam! flash rain strikes and you and your furry friend are in serious danger of being drenched. There’s not an awful lot you can do but try and seek shelter immediately and try and wait for it out. Flash rain rarely keeps going for too long so wait until it’s clear and then make a dart for home as soon as you can.
It’s important to stay calm and not try and tough it out unless you’re really close to home. Getting soaked wet through is something to really avoid especially if you’ve got a dog without a waterproof coat and a lack of meat on the bone.
What to do once your home?
If you and your drenched pal have made it home, whack on the heating and get a towel to dry your dog off. This will help get their body temperature back to normal and cheer them up a bit. What we’d also recommend is to actually give them a bath as well to get rid of the nasty rainwater and other such undesirables from their coat.
Your dog will also probably feel a little bit down so cheer them up by moving their dog bed next to the heater, give them a dog treat for being so brave as well as a good meal of wet food and dry dog food to get some hearty in their bellies. This is similar to us eating chicken soup when we have a cold!