Essential tips for walking pets in the rain

Monsoon may be an enjoyable time of the year for most people - the light drizzle, the snacks, the cool weather & much needed respite from heat; however, heavy downpours & thunder bring their own set of challenges for our furry buddies who need regular exercise & mental stimulation for their overall health & lifespan. Pet parents know how much their precious pets love their outdoor time & their daily walk routine. This is the only time of the day when they can explore the outdoors, sniff, frolic & stimulate themselves mentally.

There may be days when you won’t be able to take them out for long walks or play sessions. But, what does one do on such days? Does monsoon mean you just have to stop taking dogs to their daily walks? Absolutely not!

This blog covers the various aspects of monsoon, how rainy days affect your pet, what all steps to take while taking them out for walks & what all bases to cover immediately after you’ve come back from a rainy walk, and more.

Let’s take a look at some things you should take care of when taking your pet out for a walk before, during & after rain.

Check weather ahead of time

Don’t forget to check visible weather conditions & forecasts beforehand. It goes without saying that taking your pet out in the rain, storm, duststorm etc is a bad idea. Not only can the rain & dampness in the air harm your pet’s fur, skin & body; lightning & thunder can frighten your pet as well. Also consider your pet’s size & age; small & senior pets may have a tough time navigating through puddles & slippery areas.

Alter timings

Despite the fact that pets love uniformity in their routines, especially when it comes to going out, changing the time for taking them out is suggested. Going out in between downpours is always a good option as compared to going on your scheduled time and getting drenched.

Short walks

If showers are intermittent or you see the weather clearing up for some time, take a short walk with your pet. Depending on the weather you can extend it for a longer duration, but keeping it short & effective is advisable. In addition, taking a series of short walks instead of the usual one or two long walks in a day are a better option. This way your pet won’t be out in uncomfortable weather for long & will also accomplish that day’s exercise quota.

Keep them on a leash

Even if your pet is well trained, it’s best to put them on a leash while taking them out. This is also to ensure that your pet doesn’t get exposed to rainwater, puddles, unexpected creatures & behaviour & strangers who may get spooked in case you have a big breed.

Observe & acknowledge fear & anxiety

Pets, especially small or young ones can get afraid & anxious about heavy rain & thunder. Observe their behaviour in such weather & slowly teach / reassure them that it’s okay to go out in light to moderate rain & is nothing to be afraid of. However, it’s best to stay indoors & close to your pet in case of heavy rain & loud thunderstorms.

Create a safe area at home

When it isn’t possible to go out for a walk at all during heavy rains or thunderstorms, create a small space or an enclosure where your pet can hide or lie down and feel most safe. This could be a spot away from the windows & doors. If possible, create it in a way that your pet can relieve himself there too. In heavy and loud rain, this is particularly helpful for anxious dogs who avoid going outside.

“My Bozo (Labrador Retriever) would get so scared during heavy rains & especially during thunderstorms; the moment he would hear a loud rumbling he would sprint from wherever he is to our shoe cupboard and hide inside that enclosed space & would not come out for hours. It would take us a lot of time, effort & cuddles to get him out.” – Ria, pet parent

Avoid puddles

This may seem obvious to you & fun for your pet, but it’s best to keep your pet away from puddles, especially large ones. Apart from getting dirty & wet, along with an increased risk of harmful bacteria coming in contact with their coat, paws & skin, deep puddles could be hiding anything at the bottom – ranging from sharp objects, uneven surfaces & even manholes!

Invest in a dog raincoat

Raincoats may seem cute, silly, redundant & uncomfortable all at once, but don’t pets enjoy splashing around & getting wet? A good raincoat can ensure that your furry friend stays dry & warm in the rain. It can also save you excess drying-off time after coming back inside.

Pro tip: Make sure you remove the raincoat as soon as you get inside in order to prevent your pet from overheating inside or get exposed to residual rainwater for long.

Keep their paws dry with Rainboots

In addition to investing in a good raincoat, think about investing in good quality rainboots that are rubberised with non-slip bottoms & fit snugly. There is a small chance your pet may not like wearing them; regardless, wearing them will keep your pet’s paws healthy & dry. Prolonged exposure to moisture can lead to a heightened risk of cracked paws & bacterial infections. At the very least, be sure to dry your pal’s paws with a clean towel after every rainy walk. This will also help prevent muddy paw prints all over your house!

Consider investing in a pet car seat

A pet car seat not only traps excess hair of pets who shed a lot, but they can also save you the enormous effort of cleaning your seats clean of muddy paw prints. You can also use the Zoivane Odour Control Spray to remove foul odour from your car or home.

Bright & reflective colors

In addition to investing in raincoats & boots for your pet, take note of what YOU are wearing while out on walks. Bright & reflective colors are always a safer bet, especially in rainy weather. A heavy downpour automatically lowers a driver’s visibility, wearing peppy & bright colors makes you stand out from far away.

Pro tip: Wear a reflective vest or other reflective gear or colors that will stand out more easily among the gray and blue tones of rainy weather.  

 No drinking rainwater!

Especially in the case of dogs, pets tend to put anything & everything in their mouth. As enticing as rainwater or a puddle may seem, DO NOT let them take a sip. Rainwater & water in puddles is often brimming with harmful bacteria, pollutants & chemicals, especially in urban areas. To quench your pet’s thirst, bring along a water bottle & a portable bowl as you normally would.

Be wary of exposure to Insects, bacteria & larvae

Wet weather also increases the risk of exposure to slugs, snails, insects, bacteria, viruses & lungworm larvae. Exposure to rainwater in any form puts your pet at a risk of exposure to infections from the above-mentioned parasites. Additionally, make sure to keep any toys, food & water bowls inside overnight if you keep them outside. Slugs & snails can crawl in & around such objects & could contaminate them with parasitic larvae.

Pick an alternate route with less traffic

Avoid areas with heavy traffic as a fast-moving vehicle can splash your pet from a puddle. This can turn into a chaotic situation, especially if your pet isn’t a fan of getting wet. Vehicles can tend to honk more in rainy scenarios which can alleviate your pet’s discomfort. Additionally, avoid hilly, slopy & dirt-filled areas. Choosing a quieter and less busy road with good drainage & more pavement than dirt would make the walk more fun.

Keep a “Rainy Day Bag”

While taking your pet out on a rainy day, carry a small bag with essential items you may need after the walk or in case of an emergency. This bag can have dry towels, treats, clean water, an umbrella etc.

Burn off that steam indoors

If the rain is particularly heavy & going out is not an option, replace it with an indoor activity that is both engaging & stimulates them mentally & physically. You can play canine puzzles, sniffing, fetch and many other games at home to keep them active.

“It’s completely safe to walk dogs & cats 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.” - Dr Karlien Heyrman, Veterinarian.

Caring for your pet during a rainy, damp & wet walk is important but some steps need to be taken immediately after, as well. Let’s take a look at some things you need to take care of after you’ve just come back from a walk in the rain: -

Wash your pet thoroughly!

The rainy weather brings a plethora of potentially dangerous germs & bacteria; therefore, it is super important that you clean every inch of your pet after a walk. Although it may sound like too much but giving your pet a mild rinse & wipe can have many advantages.

Pro tip: After a cold, rainy stroll, rinse your pet with warm water. Add a few drops of antiseptic. Also check out the Zoivane Ditch-to-Itch Collection.  A thorough wash washes away most bacteria, pollutants and chemicals from your pet’s skin. Also check out our range of shampoos.

Dry Dry Dry!

Regardless of whether they’ve taken a short or long bath, whether they’ve been drenched for minute or more, it’s vital to dry your pet thoroughly when you get home. Although a standard towel is fine to use, special towels made from super absorbent microfibre can help to speed up the drying process.

Pro tip: Use a towel to dry off their fur and be sure to squeeze excess water out, rather than rub, to avoid any matting.

Pro tip: It’s also safe to use a hairdryer on a cool or warm setting if your pet enjoys it – just make sure to avoid their face, especially their eyes.

Don’t forget their feet!

Your pet’s feet can harbour numerous bacteria and larvae if left moist. It’s super important to clean / wash their feet & paws AND wipe them till they’re absolutely dry. Pay special attention to the fur between their toes as leaving this area moist can lead to dermatitis.

Have a towel & blow-dryer ready

Before leaving, be prepared with dry towels & an indoor, open area where, after a rainy, wet stroll, your pet can easily shake off any residual water. If you’re not careful, your pet is going to shake and splash all over your house, furniture, carpets & electronic items.

 You will also want to have a blow dryer ready for your pet as a wet coat will dramatically lower your pet’s body temperature and a fast blow-dry is a safe way to quickly warm and dry them up. You will even want to provide your pet with a warm lunch or a surprise to come home. As a fun experience, this will reinforce dog walking in the rain and give your dog something to look forward to before returning home.

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