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Why Does My Dog Stay Out in the Rain? 6 Reasons Why & Safety Tips

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 11, 2024 by Dogster Team

Rain happy puppy corgi cute pet

Why Does My Dog Stay Out in the Rain? 6 Reasons Why & Safety Tips

As pet owners, we often assume that our canine companions prefer to stay warm and dry indoors during rainy weather. However, have you ever noticed your dog’s eagerness to go outside and play in the rain? It may seem counterintuitive, but many dogs actually enjoy getting wet and muddy. In fact, there are several reasons why your pup may prefer to stay out in the rain. From their natural instincts as hunters to the sensory stimulation of raindrops on their fur, dogs have unique reasons for their love of rainy weather. So, keep reading as we explore some of the reasons why your dog can’t resist the call of the rain.

The 6 Reasons Why Dogs Like to Stay Out in the Rain

1. It’s In Their Genes

Dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years, but they still retain some of their wild instincts for the most part. One of these instincts is their love for water. Many wild canids, such as wolves and coyotes, are natural swimmers and enjoy playing in the rain. This behavior can be traced back to their ancestors (wolves), that would hunt for food in wet conditions. Rain can make it easier for prey to track, and the scent of animals can be more easily detected in humid air.

Aside from their natural instincts, dogs may also prefer rain for its cooling effects. Dogs don’t sweat like humans do, and they can easily overheat in warm weather. Rain can provide a welcome relief from the heat, allowing your dog to stay cool and comfortable. Additionally, rain can help to reduce the amount of pollen and other allergens in the air, which can be beneficial for dogs with allergies.

Dog Running on Rain
Image By: Alex Zotov, Shutterstock

2. It Provides Physical and Mental Stimulation

In addition to its cooling effects, rain can also provide several physical and mental benefits for dogs. For example, playing in the rain can help to improve your dog’s physical fitness. Running and jumping in the rain requires more energy than doing so on dry ground, which can help to improve your dog’s endurance and muscle tone.

Rain can also be a great mental stimulation for dogs. The sound of raindrops hitting the ground and the scent of rain can be very appealing to dogs that have a keen sense of smell. Additionally, the sensation of raindrops on their fur can be a novel and exciting experience, providing mental stimulation and enrichment.

3. It Can Be a Sensory Experience for Dogs

For dogs, rain is a multi-sensory experience. The sound of raindrops hitting the ground, the scent of rain, and the sensation of raindrops on their fur can all be very appealing to dogs. Additionally, the sight of rain can be very stimulating, as dogs are visually oriented animals.

As a pet owner, you can even help to enhance your dog’s sensory experience of rain by providing them with toys and other objects to play with in the rain. For example, a ball or frisbee can be a great way to engage your dog in play while also providing them with mental and physical stimulation.

Close up of Dog in Rain
Image By: Tonia Kraakman, Pexels

4. They Simply Love the ” Fresh Rain” Smell

Canines have an incredible olfactory sense due to the fact that they possess over 300 million scent receptors in comparison to humans’ 5 to 6 million. So as a result, the strength of a dog’s sense of smell is estimated to be anywhere from 50,000 or more than that of humans.

The strength and movement of a scent can be affected by rain, strong winds, and other physical objects. After a rainstorm passes, your pup might want to stay outside to experience all the alterations in the air’s aromatic qualities (like some people do).

5. The Dog Isn’t Feeling Well

Believe it or not, staying out in the rain may also be because of an injury or a medical issue and your dog feels more comfortable out in cooler or wet weather. For example, if your dog is having issues with skin irritation they may opt for spending time outdoors where they can roll around on the grass to soothe themselves until they feel up to returning indoors – this means even when it’s raining. A dog suffering from gastrointestinal issues may also feel more comfort being outside in cooler weather that’s more humid than the inside of your home. And if you think a medical problem could be the reason your dog stayed out in the rain for so long, it would be wise to contact your vet and get them to do an examination.

sick australian shepherd dog lying on grass
Image By: EvitaS, Pixabay

6. Your Dog Breed May Have More Propensity Towards Water

Also, some dogs are naturally going to take to water (and as a result, rain) more than others. Not only do some breeds have a greater propensity to enjoy the outdoors more than others but some may also fare better when exposed to wet weather. For example, a number of breeds like the Newfoundland are better suited for handling colder temperatures. Or, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, which actually has a top coat that is water resistant so they won’t feel the wetness of the rain as much as dogs that may have a single thin coat. Having a certain coat type makes them more comfortable while frogging out in the rain.

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How to Prepare Your Dog for Rain

If you live in an area with frequent rain, it’s important to prepare your dog for wet weather. This can include investing in rain gear, such as a waterproof coat or boots (which can be purchased on Amazon or Petco), to help keep your dog dry and comfortable. Additionally, you can train your dog to enjoy rain by providing positive reinforcement and rewards for good behavior in wet conditions.

When training your dog to enjoy rain, it’s important to start slowly and gradually expose them to wet conditions. For example, you can start by taking your dog for short walks in light rain for about 5 to 10 minutes, gradually increasing the intensity and duration of the rain exposure over time.

Person in Yellow Coat Holding White Dog
Image By: Yaroslav Shuraev, Pexels

Will Dogs Catch a Cold From Being Out in the Rain?

Despite the many benefits of rain for dogs, there are still several common misconceptions about dogs and wet weather. One of the most common misconceptions is that dogs can catch a cold from being out in the rain. In reality, dogs can’t catch a cold from wet weather, but they can develop other health issues, such as hypothermia or pneumonia, if they are not properly protected from the rain.

dogster paw dividerThe 6 Tips for Taking Care of Your Dog’s Hygiene in Rainy Weather

Rainy weather can be a challenge for pet owners when it comes to taking care of their dog’s hygiene. Many dogs love to play in the rain, but it can also make them vulnerable to skin infections, fungal growth, and other health issues. To ensure your dog stays healthy during rainy weather, here are a few tips you can follow to maintain good hygiene.

1. Pay Attention to Their Paws

Pay special attention to your dog’s paws during rainy weather. Wet and muddy paws can lead to an accumulation of bacteria and fungus, which can cause skin infections. To prevent this, you should wipe your dog’s paws with a damp cloth after every walk or playtime in the rain. You can also trim the hair around their paws to prevent mud and debris from getting stuck between their toes.

2. Brush Their Coat Afterward

And don’t forget to maintain your dog’s grooming routine during rainy weather. Regular grooming helps remove dead skin cells and keeps your dog’s coat healthy and shiny. Brushing your dog’s coat after a rainy outing can also help prevent matting, which can trap moisture and lead to skin problems.

australian shepherd dog gets brushed by owner
Image By: Jennie Book, Shutterstock

3. Keep Their “Doggie Area” Clean and Dry

Be sure to keep your dog’s living area clean and dry during rainy weather. Make sure that their bedding is dry and clean to prevent any bacterial or fungal issues. You can also use a pet-friendly disinfectant to sanitize their living area. And don’t neglect consulting with your vet if you notice any signs of skin irritation or infection in your dog during rainy weather. They can prescribe medication or recommend a specific shampoo for your dog’s skin condition.

4. Have Dry Shelter Spaces

Always make sure that your dog has access to shelter. If your dog spends most of their time outdoors, ensure that there is a covered area where they can stay dry. If your dog is primarily an indoor pet, make sure that they have a warm and dry place to sleep. This could be a cozy bed or crate with blankets that will keep them warm and dry.

5. Avoid the Puddles

Another important precaution is to keep your dog away from puddles and standing water. Puddles can contain harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can cause infection or illness. Additionally, standing water can be a drowning hazard for dogs, especially those that are not strong swimmers. Keep your dog on a leash during walks and avoid areas with large puddles or standing water.

6. Always, Always Dry Them Thoroughly

It’s also important to dry your dog off after it has been outside in the rain. Use a towel to dry their fur thoroughly, paying special attention to their paws and ears. Wet fur can lead to a bad smelling dog (and house), skin irritation, and damp ears can lead to ear infections. Keep your dog warm and dry as much as possible during rainy weather.

corgi dog with towel after wash in the bathroom
Image By: Max4ePhoto, Shutterstock

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do dogs sleep better when it’s raining?

There is no clear-cut answer to whether dogs sleep better when it’s raining. Some dogs may find the sound of rain and the cooler temperatures soothing and calming, leading to better sleep. On the other hand, some dogs may become anxious or restless during a storm, causing them to have disrupted sleep patterns. Each dog is different and may have its own unique preferences when it comes to sleeping conditions, and in some cases, this may vary by breed as well. It’s also worth considering the individual dog’s breed, age, and health status, as these factors can all impact their sleep quality. For example, some dogs may prefer a quiet and dark environment, while others may enjoy having background noise or a source of light. However, if you notice signs of anxiety or restlessness, it may be best to create a more calm and comfortable sleeping environment for your furry friend.

Which dog breeds like water the most?

One of the most popular water-loving breeds is the Labrador Retriever. These dogs are excellent swimmers and love to retrieve objects from the water, making them a popular choice for hunting and water sports. Other breeds that love the water include the Portuguese Water Dog, which was originally bred for fishing and has a waterproof coat that allows it to swim in cold water for long periods of time. The Newfoundland is another breed that loves to swim and is often used in water rescue operations. The Irish Water Spaniel enjoys water activities and has a unique curly coat that helps keep it warm in cold water.

labrador retriever dog playing in the beach
Image By: DragoNika, Shutterstock

Can the rain worsen dog allergies?

Rain can actually have a positive effect on dog allergies. How? Well, when it rains, it helps to wash away the pollen and other allergens that are in the air. However, if your pup is allergic to mold, rain can actually make their allergies worse. Note that mold thrives in damp environments, and after a rainstorm, the moisture can create the perfect environment for mold growth. If your dog is allergic to mold, it’s important to keep them away from areas in your home where mold and fungus commonly grow, such as damp or humid basements or areas with poor ventilation. It’s also a good idea to keep your home dry and well-ventilated during rainy weather to prevent mold growth.

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While rain may not be our favorite weather condition, it can be a positive and enriching experience for our furry friends. From their natural instincts as hunters to the sensory stimulation of raindrops on their fur, dogs have unique reasons for their love of rainy weather. But remember that it’s crucial to keep your dog clean and dry during rainy weather. After every walk or playtime in the rain, you should wipe down your dog with a towel to remove any excess water and mud from their fur.

And when possible, provide them with rain gear to help them stay warm and dry in cooler weather. This will help you prevent having a house that smells like a wet dog and it can also help prevent a lot of skin and ear issues that your dog may have from being overly damp for an extended period of time. So, in short, if your dog loves playing in the rain, let them. It’s natural.

Featured Image Credit: Radha bhavikatti, Shutterstock

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