Walking a Dog in Rainy Weather

Whether your dog eyes the water puddles as a playful pleasure, or cowers when he sees you go for the leash, there are a few tools and tips for making the rainy weather less intimidating…

On rainy days, my dog prefers playing fetch inside, curling up on my feet while I read a book and snooze to the sound of the pitter patter, dibble dibble dop. He ‘holds it’ as long as he can and then un-willingly goes out for a potty break. However, many dog owners spend rainy days comforting a pet with storm anxiety, or dragging their furry friend outside very reluctantly for a walk or potty break.

Whether your dog eyes the water puddles as a playful pleasure, or cowers when he sees you go for the leash, there are a few tools and tips for making the rainy weather less intimidating and perhaps even inviting for your furry friend.

Pre-Walk: Suit up
Rain gear is an essential part of the rainy weather walk with or without your pet. You reach for your raincoat and umbrella, so please give your dog the same courtesy. In fact, I have even seen people who wear less rain gear than their pets, or hold the umbrella only above their dog. A raincoat and boots along with a rain hat for your dog can go a long way toward protecting your hound from the elements and making him feel more comfortable in his fur (which would have been a very wet mess without all that outerwear).

If your dog won’t tolerate a raincoat, he may be a candidate for a covered dog stroller. This setup allows for fresh air while protected from those annoying rain clouds. As long as the rainy weather is safe to walk in, your dog and you will benefit from the exercise. If your rainy day is combined with bitter cold or lightening then your walks should probably be limited to potty breaks rather than exercise efforts. But in many cases, an umbrella and the proper rain gear for Fido and his human can be just what is needed to conquer the storm.

Walk: Selecting a route in the rain
Some dogs will reluctantly follow their owners out for some exercise, other pups will act like the drizzle is no big deal, and still other hounds will romp excitedly at every puddle. Regardless of your dog’s rainy weather personality, there are a couple of safety considerations to take during the walk itself.

First, make sure you select a safe route clear of dangers like drowning hazards. It is a good practice to keep your dog close by unsteady weather. An unleashed dog is free to jump in what may look like a fun puddle but could be faster moving or deeper than he expected.

Second, just because there is water everywhere, does not mean there is a drop to drink. Those puddles are not water bowls. Skip the rainwater runoff and bring your dog a bottle of water to keep hydrated.

Post-Walk: Remember to rinse
It may seem odd to get your dog wet again once you arrive back home from your walk, but rinsing him off gets rid of all the other things he picked up besides the rainwater while he was on his rainy day excursion. For example, dogs can develop skin irritations from the wet grass. Water also washes chemicals and debris into areas they may not have been previously. Your dog’s paws (especially without rain boots on) may be subjected to objects and irritants that are collecting in those puddles under paw.

Once rinsed, dry off your pup and cuddle inside to enjoy belly rubs and the pitter-patter, dibble dibble dop of the rainy day outside.

Susan Wright DMV is a dog expert, a vet and a freelance writer often sharing affordable ways to raise dogs