Some owners question whether we should be walking our canine friends even when the rain is pouring?
Dr Karlien Heyrman, Head of Pets at Pets at Home, explained: “It’s completely safe to walk dogs of all breeds and sizes in the rain. It’s actually important we make sure our pets are still getting their daily exercise, even in wet weather.
“But there are some things we should watch out for and extra steps we can take to help keep them happy and safe when it is raining outdoors.”
Here are her tips for walking your dog in the rain.
Protect them from getting wet through
While it’s fine to walk your dog in the rain, you should try to avoid getting them completely drenched.
Just like we’d put on our coats for a walk in the rain, you might want to consider a doggy raincoat to protect dogs from the weather and prevent them from getting soaked through.
Remember that although doggy rain gear looks cute, some dogs won’t appreciate a raincoat even on the wettest of days, so only put them in clothing if they are happy to wear it and always make sure they are comfortable before you set off.
If the rain is particularly heavy, consider shortening the walk and replacing it with some stimulating indoor fun – and don’t forget to remove any wet coats or clothing as soon as you’re inside so your dog can dry off and warm up.
Watch out for puddles
They might be fun to splash in, but large puddles can also be dangerous on dog walks.
While you won’t be able to avoid them completely, it’s best to be wary of large, deep puddles as it’s difficult to know what’s below the surface, potentially leading to injured paws if there’s anything sharp hiding at the bottom.
With wet weather also bringing out slugs and snails, dog owners should be mindful of lungworm larvae which can sometimes be found in their slimy coating – it can be life-threatening to dogs if they eat it.
Be cautious around puddles, but also make sure to bring any water bowls, food bowls and toys inside overnight. Slugs and snails love crawling over these items and could contaminate them with parasite larvae.
Regular worming treatments is the best way to protect your dog from lungworm.
Dry your dog thoroughly
While they might have a good shake to dry off, it’s important to thoroughly dry your dog when you get home from a rainy walk.
Use a towel to dry off their fur and be sure to squeeze excess water out, rather than rub, to avoid any matting.
Although a standard towel is fine to use, special dog towels made from super absorbent microfibre can help to speed up the drying process.
It’s also safe to use a hairdryer on a cool or warm setting if your dog enjoys it – just make sure to avoid their face, especially their eyes.
Don’t forget the feet!
We all know to wipe mucky paws after outdoor adventures, but it’s important to make sure they are completely dry too. Pay special attention to the fur between their toes and paw pads as leaving these wet can actually lead to issues such as dermatitis.
Dog booties can be a great way to keep paws warm and dry in wet weather and can also be a good option to protect any medical dressings from the rain.
As with all dog clothing, booties should only be worn if your dog is happy to wear them. If your dog tries to bite or shake off any clothing it may be a sign that they are uncomfortable, and you should remove them as soon as possible.
Stimulate them indoors
If your dog really isn’t a fan of wet weather, or if it’s particularly bad rain, you can consider shortening their walk and replacing it with indoor fun to keep them active and stimulate their brains.
There are lots of ways to entertain your dog at home such as interactive games and puzzles that stimulate them physically and mentally.
You could also try your hand at dog training.