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The Ultimate Guide for Surviving the Rainy Season with Your Dog
April showers bring May flowers. But they also bring the unmistakable smell of wet dog and less-than-optimal walking conditions.
What’s a devoted dog owner to do?
You can’t skip your dog’s walks entirely. He still needs exercise—regardless of what the weather is doing. Thankfully, there are ways to make walking in the rain more tolerable for you and your pooch.
Armed with the right tools and a bit of preparation, you can make a stroll in the rain something you both look forward to. (or at the very least, something you don’t loathe.)
Here’s our top advice for helping your water-averse dog cope when the weather report calls for rain.
Potential dangers of rainy weather for dogs
The rainy season brings with it a unique set of challenges for dog walkers, from diminished visibility to freezing winds. Be mindful of the following hazards when staying indoors isn’t an option.
1. Poor visibility
When it’s raining cats and dogs (see what I did there?) low visibility becomes a serious issue. If drivers can’t see your dog, he could be in harm’s way. Minimize this risk with bright clothing or reflective gear. This Blazin’ Safety LED collar makes it possible to spot your dog from 350 yards away.
2. Contaminated puddles
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Much to our dismay, most dogs love themselves a good puddle. Aside from having a muddy dog to contend with, the problem with standing water is that it’s a potential breeding ground for all sorts of bacteria. If your curious pup throws back a few glugs, he could come in contact with leptospirosis, an infectious disease that affects both animals and humans. There’s also the risk that the water has been contaminated by motor oil or lawn chemicals.
Even if your dog doesn’t actually drink the water, he could still be at risk if his paws get wet and he licks them later on.
Combat your dog’s inclination to view puddles as giant drinking fountains by keeping him well hydrated before, during, and after your walk. Raining or not, your pooch needs plenty of water to feel his best.
3. Cold temps
Typically, rainy weather comes with a drop in temperature, which poses a threat to your dog. If left exposed to the cold for too long, a dog can develop pneumonia. According to PetMD, dogs most at risk are senior dogs and puppies, as well as dogs with a weaker immune system.
As soon as you come indoors, thaw your poor pup with a good towel dry. Then get your cozy on with a blanket-filled cuddle sesh. (Honestly, this part makes a rainy walk well worth the effort.)
It’s true that the odds of being struck by lightning are pretty low (ok, REALLY low). But it’s still wise to avoid walking your dog during a lightning storm. The biggest danger here is your dog’s reaction: if he’s especially jumpy, thunder and lightning could spook him enough to make him bolt.
7 Tips for walking your dog in the rain
Rain can be a major bummer, but you needn’t skip your daily walks just because of a little water. Here are some tips to keep your dog safe and maintain your own sanity during the next few soggy months.
1. If the forecast calls for rain, dress accordingly
Live in a region that sees a lot of rain? It’s not a bad idea to spring for some waterproof clothing—for you and your dog.
Here are some rainproof must-haves:
- A doggy raincoat: A quality rain jacket will keep your dog warm and dry. PushPushi offers a range of clear-hooded jackets, which are fabulous because they don’t obstruct your dog’s vision. (Plus, oh my goodness, they’re so cute!)
- Doggy rain boots: If your dog will tolerate them, booties can help keep his paws from getting drenched.
- Hands-free umbrella: These handy contraptions make walking your dog in the rain a piece of cake. Trust us—you won’t miss juggling your old umbrella with your keys/phone/dog leash.
3. Remain visible at all times
Anytime a driver’s visibility is compromised, your dog is at risk. Consider purchasing safety items like reflective vests, blinking lights, or flashlights to ensure that you and your dog are always visible.
Another option is a flashing LED dog collar and brightly colored clothes.
4. Keep things short and sweet
Some dogs will never love the water. If your dog falls in this camp, it’s ok! While rain isn’t always avoidable, you can minimize the amount of time your dog needs to spend in it. Keep rainy day walks on the short side, and your dog will thank you.
5. Use positive reinforcement
For dogs who aren’t fans of walking in the rain, take the edge off with a treat or two. A little reward can make the whole process less painful. For optimal results, continue praising your dog throughout the walk and anytime he goes potty.
6. Teach your dog a potty command
We all recognize this scene: it’s 3 AM, and your puppy decides it’s the perfect time to take a quick tinkle. Except that it’s not quick, and now you’re stuck outside in the miserable rain for what feels like forever, waiting for your dog to just do his business already.
The solution? Teach your dog a “go potty” cue. Once he learns to go on command, you’ll both be spending less time in the rain. (Win!)
7. Be patient
We get it—walking your dog in the rain isn’t high on your list of favorites. But chances are, it’s not high on his list either. Instead of scolding or yanking your uncooperative dog, try to stay calm and positive. Odds are your dog will pick up on your upbeat tone, and he’ll relax enough to tolerate the weather. He may even learn to like it!
How to protect your home in the rainy season
From muddy paws to drenched carpets, our homes can take a real beating during the rainy season. Keep things as dry and clean as possible with these tips.
1. Always dry your dog after a walk in the rain
If you’d rather not deal with muddy water being tracked all over your living room, don’t neglect to dry your dog after a soggy run. A specially-designated towel can usually do the trick. Or you can speed up the process with a blow dryer on a low setting.
Pro tip: keep a cordless hairdryer in your home’s entryway to minimize the hassle of having to find an outlet. Easy-peasy.
2. Set boundaries (and make sure your dog knows them!)
Protect your bed linens and couches by establishing clear boundaries about where your dog can roam when he’s wet. Barricade rooms that are off-limits, shut bedroom doors, and train your dog to stay off the furniture until you give the all-clear.
3. Think ahead
Sometimes a preemptive approach is your best bet. Invest in a waterproof dog seat cover for those mucky drives back from the dog park. Stash the car with towels and pet wipes, so you’ll always have them when you need them.
4. Say “NO” to wet dog smell (yuck!)
Odors are nothing new to seasoned dog lovers, and typically, wet dog smell is something we just learn to live with. But when you’ve reached your breaking point, there are ways to minimize the assault on your nostrils.
First, dry your dog as soon as possible. A hairdryer can help in this regard, or you may want to trim your dog’s coat to decrease the amount of time it takes for him to air dry. Follow-up with all-natural pet grooming wipes or a deodorizing spray to keep the stink at bay.
As you can see, walking your dog in the rain doesn’t need to be a dreaded chore. With a little effort (and a fair amount of common sense), you and your dog can enjoy walking in any kind of weather.