Taking your dog for a walk is a fundamental part of your dog’s routine. Walks are important for health and wellbeing, but for a dog, walking goes beyond just exercise. Dogs explore their environment by sniffing everything, and we mean everything, around.
A dog’s sense of smell gives him an idea of what makes up the neighborhood he lives in, from discovering other dogs, to all manner of other animals that might be sharing the block with him. Long walks reduce anxiety and provide a fun, healthy outlet for your pup’s energy.
But what happens if you and your dog are faced with less-than-ideal weather? Are there any safety concerns you should consider about walking your dog in the rain? If you’re wondering “should I walk my dog in the rain”, this guide will give you the facts and keep your walks fun, exciting, and safe!
Is There Really Anything to Worry About?
Dogs will have very varied opinions on walking in the rain. Some will love any excuse to get wet, and others will absolutely dread every moment of it. There’s some debate on if this aversion to wet weather is based on breed or just personality differences between our furry friends.
Some long-haired dogs seem to have a more natural aversion to heavy rain. It’s thought that this might be due to an evolutionary dislike of water. Dogs such as the Rough Collie, for example, generally dislike water, as their lustrous and long fur coat will become too heavy when it’s soaking wet.
Strictly speaking, in terms of health and safety concerns, there are a few things you should keep in mind when walking your dog in the rain.
Should I Walk My Dog in the Rain, Cold, and Snow?
Of course, cold weather and icy rain are bad news for any dog. A dog’s fur is great at keeping him warm, but there’s a limit to how much cold weather he can deal with. Like humans, dogs are susceptible to hypothermia, and can catch a cold from staying out too long in freezing weather.
Without proper doggy rain gear for their paws, dogs can face a litany of potential injuries to their delicate paw pads. If you absolutely have to take your dog out in very cold and rainy weather, make sure to have proper protection for their paws, and try to keep the walk short.
While dogs might lament missing out on their daily exercise, it’s not worth risking injury to their paws. If you live in a warmer climate, however, there’s much less risk of walking in the rain. By using a simple doggy raincoat, you can mitigate most of the downsides of taking their daily walk in the rain.
The real dangers of walking in the rain, especially warm rain, are much less obvious than you’d think. Puddles of water contain the biggest risk to your dog, whether you’re walking in the rain or after a storm. Standing water, in general, should be avoided, as it’s a perfect habitat for bacteria to grow and thrive.
Most dogs don’t have much in the way of dietary discretion. They will usually eat and drink whatever they can get their paws on. Puddles caused by rainwater are usually teeming with dirt, bacteria, molds, and possibly even chemicals in densely-populated urban areas.
Standing puddles are absolutely off-limits for your dog to drink or play in. If your dog splashes around, they could accidentally get some of the dirty water in their eyes or mouth. Make sure to bring a bottle of water for your pup to drink if they usually get thirsty during walks.
Rainy weather makes for an accident-prone environment for both dogs and humans. The real threat to dogs, however, is from human driving errors when driving carelessly in the rain. Driving accidents increase considerably in rainy weather, and unfortunately, this can mean danger for you and your dog.
Rainy weather usually brings with it a decrease in visibility and the possibility of drivers having to deal with their headlights reflected by large puddles. On top of the reduction in surface stability, drivers may simply just not see you or your dog in low visibility conditions, increasing the dangers even further.
While less of an issue in sparsely-populated areas, most suburban and urban pet owners will come across a number of drivers during their daily walks. If you’re out walking in the rain, you need to pay extra attention to make sure that a driver’s negligence won’t bring harm to you or your dog.
Reducing the Risks
While walking your dog in the rain, except for extremely cold rain, is generally regarded as safe, there are a few things you can do as a responsible pet owner to ensure your dog’s safety. Purchase rain protection for your dog in the form of:
- Rain jackets
- Doggie boots
- Reflective strips
- Water bottles
By investing in proper gear, you can make sure that your dog’s walks are fun, safe, and enjoyable in almost any kind of weather.
Walking in the Rain
There’s nothing that should automatically cause you to stop taking your dog on walks in the rain unless, of course, they simply don’t like being wet. As long as your dog doesn’t mind getting wet, they’ll be ok to go for rainy walks. However, walking in the rain does carry a little risk that you should do your best to mitigate.
By investing in proper rain protection gear for your dog, making sure they don’t drink from any rain puddles, and keeping an eye out for drivers who might be having a tough time in the rain, you can make sure that your dog is safe and happy, even in wet conditions.
So, if you’re asking, “should I walk my dog in the rain,” as long as they like the water, and you’ve taken a few easy protective steps, you’re all ready to go!