Does your dog adore running around in the middle of a rainstorm, or shudder at the thought of stepping a paw out at the first sign of moisture? Whichever category your dog falls under, going for a walk in either of these cases can be a stressful experience. For starters, rain can make otherwise well behaved dogs extra skittish or overexcited. Then there’s the matter of mud and rainwater getting all over your dog, your car and house. And, of course, who could forget that distinct wet dog smell that seems to stick around for ages. This is why, when most people are faced with the prospect of taking their dog out for a walk in the rain, would rather do just about anything else.
But for many people, that simply isn’t an option. If, for example, you get caught out in a sudden downpour, or live in a particularly wet area that sees moisture for days on end, you don’t necessarily have a choice of whether or not to go out. After all, your dog needs and deserves daily exercise. Don’t worry, there are plenty of ways you can prevent the rain from ruining your dog’s favorite time. Follow these tips to keep your dog dry and comfortable in the upcoming rainy season.
Have a Strategy
Let’s say you don’t mind a bit of rain – more power to you! If staying at home isn’t an option or even a though for you and your dog, you’ll still need a solid plan to prevent some common mishaps. Take these tips and you’ll be enjoying rainy strolls together in no time!
- Create a Positive Experience: For some dogs, rain is a fun addition to their daily walk; but for others, not so much. If you sense your dog has some anxiety about going out in the rain, don’t feed into it by mirroring their energy. Instead, try to set a positive vibe around your adventures in the rain and lead by example! That means getting out there and showing your dog just how much fun raindrops and puddles can be. Be sure to stay supportive and empathetic to your dog’s sensitivities to ease them into this new routine.
- Stay Away From Busy Streets: Even if your dog is otherwise perfectly behaved during walks, rainy weather – specifically splashing cars – can pose a new set of challenges. The last thing you want to risk is your dog possibly overreacting and jumping into traffic or getting soaked or startled by dirty rainwater. To prevent this, stick with smaller residential streets where there’s little to no traffic.
- Keep Your Dog On a Leash: Going along with the point mentioned above, you need to make sure your dog is secure on a leash each time you take them out in the rain. Even if you’re normally used to walking your dog off leash, rain can bring up sudden triggers for animals that wouldn’t necessarily be present otherwise. If, for instance, a sudden thunderclap or splash of water from a car takes your dog out of its secure mindset, you can end up having a dangerous chase. So take the extra precaution and security – it’s a small step that can make a world of difference for your and your dog’s safety.
- Teach Them To “Hurry”: Depending on your dog’s affinity for the rain, you can instill a sense of “hurry” during the rain to make your time outside quicker and relatively free of distractions. Make it apparent that you’re just outside to do the dog’s business and get home as quickly as possible. You would be surprised how intuitively your dog responds to your energy.
Now we’re getting to the most important aspect of your strategy: the proper rain gear for your dog (and yourself, of course). After all, dogs are family, and just like you wouldn’t send your children out to play in the rain without the right attire, you shouldn’t do it to your dog either.
- Raincoats: The number one rain accessory your can get for your dog is a high-quality raincoat. Most dogs dislike going out in the rain simply because they hate getting wet, and that shouldn’t come a surprise. Just like you need comfortable rain gear to venture out in the rain, so does your dog. Luckily these raincoats are as comfortable for your dog as they are stylish. You’ll not only save your dog from getting drenched in the rain, but also save yourself a ton of clean up and drying time after the walk! Without a doubt this will be the single most life-changing piece of gear you can get for your dog during rain season.
- Get reflective: There’s no question that the decreased visibility during a rainstorm can make it dangerous for pedestrians – that includes dogs. It’s imperative that your dog is easily visible when going out in the rain, so make sure you stock up on light-reflective gear. A DIY reflective tape job could technically do the trick, but we really recommend something more durable such as this light-reflective sports harness, which fits your dog snugly and comfortably.
- Skip the Umbrella: It may be tempting, but don’t try to walk your dog with an umbrella in your hand. There are simply too many unfavorable scenarios that can arise from this situation. For example, a sudden gust of wind can turn your umbrella inside out and threaten to drag you and your dog off of a safe walking path. It’s also advantageous to keep both of your hands free and available, just in case you run into some trouble on the leash. Trust us, a simple rain poncho or a raincoat will do the job of keeping you dry, while also keeping you mobile and ready for any situation.
Prep For the Return Home:
Despite your best intentions and efforts, you’ll likely have to deal with a bit (or a lot) of mud at the end of your walk. That is why it’s especially important to have a foolproof strategy for your return home. Luckily, a little bit of foresight and some cleaning supplies that you probably already have around the house will make the clean up simple and easy.
- Designate a Space: The last thing you want when you return home is to have your muddy, wet dog running through your clean house. To make sure this doesn’t happen, designate a space (preferably close to the entrance of your home) where the cleanup is going to take place. It doesn’t have to be a large area, but enough to make the process comfortable for both of you. Think about adding a bench and some extra storage for wet, muddy gear and any cleaning and drying supplies you’ll be using.
- Ready the Right Tools: The first thing you’ll need to do when you get home is to clean and dry your dog off as quickly as possible. Think about all of the tools you’ll need to get this done efficiently, and have them ready in your designated area for when you return home. These may include: a bucket of water, mild liquid soap, cleaning wipes, absorbent towels, brushes or even a hair dryer. Having everything ready in one spot can turn a seemingly impossible task into a surprisingly manageable one. Plus, when your dog realizes getting wet doesn’t have to last forever, it’ll be much more likely to want to join you for more walks in the rain.
We hope these tips get you ready, if not excited, for the rainy spring season! Of course, if you can and want to avoid walking your dog in the rain, there are plenty of alternatives that make it possible to stay dry and skip the whole process. But a little bit of wet weather shouldn’t ruin your plans. Turn rainy walks into a fun experience that doesn’t leave your dog, your car and your house covered in mud and rainwater. With a little bit of strategy, the right gear and some positive attitude, you can turn the rainy days into a fun opportunity for outdoor adventure.