Starting out the window at a driving rain can be a forlorn experience. That can be doubly true if your dog is sitting expectantly by the door. It is time for your dog’s walk, and no amount of rain is going to change that. Some people try to avoid walking their dogs in the rain by telling themselves that dogs don’t like walking in the rain anyways. But is that true? Do dogs like the rain or not? The answer to those questions can be complicated. Some dogs don’t mind the rain, some dogs love the rain, and other dogs absolutely hate the rain.
Here is everything you need to know about dogs and rain and whether you can or should walk them when it is pouring outside.
Why Some Dogs Like the Rain
Some people are surprised to find that when they go to take their dogs outside while it is raining, their dogs seem to get overly excited. The dogs pull at the leash, seem energized, and don’t mind the rain at all. This behavior can seem strange. Do dogs like the rain? The answer to that question is yes. Some dogs do, in fact, like the rain quite a bit.
The reason that some dogs like the rain is that rain stirs up a bunch of scents that normally lie dormant. If you have ever walked outside after a rainstorm and smelled that unique scent in the air, you can get a taste of what your dog is smelling. Rain washes some scents out of the atmosphere and brings other scents out of the ground. Dogs that are keen smellers or who enjoy tracking things will thoroughly enjoy this experience.
It is not that dogs enjoy the sensation of being rained on. They are enjoying the way that some animals are more active (like frogs and toads), and they like the new blend of smells that emerge during and after the rain.
Why Other Dogs Hate the Rain
Not all dogs like the rain. If your dog is not keen on using their nose, they will likely not enjoy the rain. Some dogs hate the rain for the same reasons that people hate the rain. They don’t like the sensation. They don’t like being wet. They don’t like feeling cold. They don’t like the feeling of wet earth or slippery concrete on their paws. These reasons are all very relatable, and they apply to dogs as well.
But some dogs go beyond not liking the rain. Some dogs are absolutely terrified of the rain, and there are some interesting reasons for why that is.
Why Are Dogs Scared of Rain?
Some dogs don’t like being outside in the rain because they don’t like how it feels. Other dogs seem absolutely petrified of the rain. There is a difference. Some dogs don’t like the rain, but some dogs are terrified by it. There are a couple of reasons that can cause dogs to act scared of the rain, and both of them are tied to thunderstorm anxiety.
Barometric Pressure Changes
Many animals are far more sensitive to the weather and the state of the atmosphere than people are. Dogs can feel the change in barometric pressure that comes with an approaching storm. The stronger the storm, the larger the change in atmospheric pressure. Dogs can react negatively to this sensation. Whether they don’t like the feeling or if they instinctively know that it means a storm is coming, some dogs get scared before the rain even starts falling. That is due to the change in barometric pressure.
Another thing that often accompanies rainstorms is loud noises. Whether that is from thunder or wind or driving rain, these noises absolutely terrify some dogs. Anyone that has had a dog with storm anxiety knows how crippling it can be. When dogs hear (or feel) the rain starting up, they can automatically start anticipating the noises that they find so terrifying. This can cause some dogs to act scared of the rain even if it is not actively thundering outside.
Dogs’ ears are far more sensitive than human ears, so they are hearing things that we might not necessarily pick up on. That could be the tree branches banging together outside. It could be the whistling of the wind. Dogs that don’t like loud noises have something called canine noise aversion.
Can You Walk Your Dog in the Rain?
Yes. You can walk your dog in the rain. Unless your dog has severe storm anxiety that makes them unable to function, your dog is perfectly capable of walking in the rain. Your dog might not be comfortable, and they might try to go home as soon as they are done relieving themselves, but they will not be harmed by getting a little wet.
Other dogs, as we mentioned, will absolutely love walking in the rain due to the change in the environment. These dogs will enjoy the new smells and different animals that are out and about in the rain.
Whether your dog likes the rain, hates the rain, or is scared of the rain, you can absolutely walk them in the weather. Sometimes, due to prolonged rain events, you will need to take your dog outside to stretch their legs and use the bathroom, even if it is wet outside. Do not be afraid to do this if your dog needs to go outside.
It is a mixed bag when it comes to dogs and rain. Some dogs love the rain. Other dogs are terrified of the rain. Some dogs are indifferent. Your dog might have completely different opinions about the rain than other dogs. Many dogs that like the rain are either very upbeat in general or like using their noses while they are outside. No matter whether your dog likes the rain or not, you can always walk your dog in the rain if you need to.
Featured Image Credit: Radha bhavikatti, Shutterstock