Walking your dog is one of the easiest and most practical ways to give them the exercise that they need. While playtime can be substituted for daily walks for certain breeds of dogs like small ones, most of our canine friends will require at least 30 minutes of casual walking every single day. Unfortunately, if it is raining you start to wonder if it would be a good idea to walk your pet.
Should You or Should You Not Walk Your Dog in the Rain?
Most pet owners will have no issues walking their dogs in the rain as long as it is done properly. Besides, they really have to go when it’s time to go, unless of course you don’t mind your dog turning your house into its personal commode.
Walking your dog in the rain is not really a matter of whether it is good or not since everyone knows and understands the benefits of walking as a form of exercise for dogs. The problem lies in the risks inherent not in the rain itself, but rather the environment that is produced by rain. Understanding these issues can help pave the way towards the determination whether it’s a good idea to walk your dog in the rain or not.
Why Some Pet Parents Don’t Think it’s a Good Idea to Walk Dogs in the Rain
Rain itself will not cause dogs to get sick by catching a virus or bacteria. Instead, it’s the puddles of accumulated rain water that can potentially make your dog sick especially if there are animal droppings that have been spread all around by the rain. These animal droppings may contain a variety of microorganisms that can burrow through your dog’s skin or attach onto their coats and get licked in the process. Germs like Leptospira and Giardia can infect our pets.
Antifreeze and other chemicals that may have leached into the ground can also pose a threat to our dogs when they walk in the rain. These chemicals can find their way into rainwater puddles when rainwater washes garages and other similar systems.
Some parents are also concerned about their pets getting hypothermic. Rainwater is typically cold which can be quite a problem for short-haired, single-coated hounds as they don’t have the necessary protection of a dense coat to keep their body warm.
Walking Your Dog in the Rain the Proper Way
With the concerns we mentioned above it is best to observe two very important things in case you decide to take your dog out for a walk even though it’s raining.
First, protection is a must. Since one of the major concerns of pet parents is for their dogs to get exposed to a variety of microorganisms, chemicals, and other potentially harmful substances while walking in the rain, it is often wise to invest in a number of dog accessories that can protect them from such things.
Not all dogs may like the idea of walking on doggie boots, but these can offer protection for your pet’s paws as it walks over wet terrain and through puddles of water. The difference between walking on dry land and on wet surfaces is that water on the ground surface can obscure visualization of potentially harmful objects on the ground.
In addition to dog boots, you may also want to get your furry pal a dog raincoat which should help minimize the effects of the cold rain on your pet’s body temperature. To a certain extent, doggie raincoats can also serve as protection against debris that may fly on your dog’s way.
Alternatively, you can also purchase a dog umbrella, preferably one that is transparent so you can see what your dog is doing underneath the canopy. A dog umbrella comes with an attachment allowing you to connect your dog’s leash so you will still have control of its activities when walking in the rain.
Second, you have to think about your pet’s comfort. Not all dogs like walking in the rain just as not all dogs like taking a bath. However, you can actually train your dog to love this particular activity by incorporating some of the principles of rewards-based, positive reinforcement-focused training. The idea is if you can get your dog to associate walking in the rain with pleasant experiences, then it would not be especially averse to the splash of rainwater on its face or its body.
Training your dog to learn to like having a dog umbrella providing cover or even wearing a dog raincoat over its back should go a long way towards keeping your pet comfortable when outside in the rain. The dog umbrella can be an invaluable tool in minimizing rainwater exposure while the dog raincoat can actually double as a windbreaker. Cold wind blowing against wet or damp hair can surely lower a dog’s body temperature even more.
You might also want to include a dog sweater under your pet’s raincoat to help provide warmth against the steely coldness of rain. A dog sweater can also work with a dog umbrella; just be sure the umbrella provides enough coverage for your pet with plenty of room to move about without getting wet.
Dog rain boots also work to provide a more comfortable walk for your pet over wet, slippery, and muddy terrain; although there are dogs that absolutely love the feel of such type of ground surface. The important thing to understand here is to train your pooch to learn to use these pet accessories. Do that and you’d be gifted with a pet that actually enjoys walking in the rain.
Now, if your pet still gets wet despite all of these precautionary measures, then make sure to dry your pet thoroughly after the activity to help avoid nasty pet odors emanating from damp hair.
Walking your dog in the rain is actually a good idea since you’re getting your pet to experience something that only happens during such weather phenomena. It also gets its daily exercise and helps facilitate fecal elimination.