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What to do if your dog hates going out in the rain

Young golden retriever with rain boots and an umbrella advice

Dogs don't like rain because they don't enjoy feeling wet or cold

© Shutterstock

Few things can come between a pooch and their walkies, but rain is definitely one of them. In fact, some dogs hate rain and will refuse to leave the house if it's pouring outside. But why do dogs hate the rain? Is it OK to walk a dog in the rain? And how can you make sure your dog still gets enough exercise? And is it ever OK to skip a dog walk?

 

By Ashley Murphy

Published on the 31/08/2020, 14:00

Why dogs do not like to go out in the rain?

Dogs don't enjoy feeling wet or cold, which is why many of them hate the rain. But there's also another important reason why they avoid lousy weather. If a dog gets stuck in heavy rain for a long time, they could develop hypothermia. Subsequently, dogs have evolved to avoid harsh weather conditions and dry off as soon as possible. This is why your pooch does the 'wet-dog shake' when they come home from a rainy walk or get out of the bath.

Why do dogs hate wet grass? 

We don't really know why dogs dislike wet grass. Some dogs are allergic to it. So there's a chance the rain stirs up grass pollen, which then aggravates their symptoms. A more straightforward theory is that dog's don't like getting their paws wet. One answer to that problem is dog booties! They can help dogs overcome their wet grass-phobia, and they also look pretty cute!

Why does my dog freak out when it rains?

Getting their paws wet isn't the only thing a dog in the rain has to worry about. Rain can be an early sign of storms, and we all know how much pooches hate those. Their superhuman hearing amplifies the sound of thunder, and they're also sensitive to pressure changes. Sudden changes in weather pressure can make a dog feel anxious and may cause uncomfortable physical symptoms, like headaches.

What helps dogs with storm anxiety?

Distraction therapy can relieve canine anxiety during a storm. And it's really simple. Just play music or keep your fluffy friend occupied with their favourite toys. And this is one of the few times when you can really spoil them with treats.

Can a dog get sick from being out in the rain?

There are some health risks to walking a dog in the rain. Thankfully, they're easy to avoid. Firstly, don't let your dog drink from puddles. Standing water can host harmful bacteria and other possible contaminants.

The other risks are hypothermia and pneumonia. These are caused by overexposure to rain and cold water, so it might be an idea to cut rainy walks short.

Dogs are great at drying themselves off. Research shows that the wet-dog shake removes 70% of the water in four seconds. This is impressive, but you should still lend a helping paw by drying your dog off with a towel after they've had a good shake.

Is it OK to take dogs out in the rain?

The vast majority of dogs are fine with walking in light rain.  Most will be to busy enjoying their daily adventure or hanging out with other pooches to notice a bit of water falling from the sky. And some breeds like the Poodle love frolicking in the rain.

Should you walk dogs in heavy rain?

Heavy rain is a different matter, especially for delicate dogs like the Chihuahua. It's best to keep these dogs indoors until the worst weather passes. Tough breeds like the German Shepherd are generally OK in heavy rain, but that doesn't mean they like it. For once, they might not be too enthusiastic when they hear the magic 'walkies' word. 

Is it OK to skip a dog walk?

It's hard to overestimate how important daily walks are for a dog's wellbeing. But skipping the odd walk is OK, especially if it's in the dog's best interest. Just make sure it never becomes a habit.

What can I do with my dog on a rainy day?

Some dogs like wearing a little raincoat and are happy to go for a stroll in any weather. Others aren't so keen. But if you've got a fair-weather pooch, there's no reason why you can't exercise them indoors. Tug of war, hide the treats game, and indoor playdates with other dogs will help keep your pet physically and mentally stimulated.

Tips to teach your dog to go out in the rain

If your dog hates rain, there are a few things you can do to help them get used to it. As with any dog training, start small. Just a few minutes in the garden is enough, and remember to give them lots of praise. When you praise your dog for their behaviour, they're far more likely to do it again. It's called positive re-enforcement, and it's one of the best dog training tips.

There are plenty of reasons why a pooch would prefer to stay indoors on a rainy day! Thankfully, swapping the occasional walk for an afternoon snuggling on the sofa won't do any harm. It might even be necessary if you've got a delicate dog who wasn't built for the rugged outdoors. But always remember the golden rule: skipping walks is acceptable if the dog has a good excuse. Otherwise, the only other advice we can offer is this: but a large umbrella!

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