It’s springtime in Georgia and across the Southeast, and around these parts, spring and summer bring plenty of rain. While many of us choose to stay indoors when it starts to sprinkle, if you have a furry friend, that may not be an option. Whether it’s for exercise or just to do their business, dogs need to get outside, rain or shine. So what can you do to keep your dog safe? Here are some tips from TrustDALE to keep you and your dog safe, rain or shine.
Keep Walks Short
If it’s too wet for you to walk comfortably, it’s probably too wet for your dog. In a heavy downpour, it may be a good idea to get outside, let your dog do their business, and head right back inside. Try to find ways to get your dog moving indoors, like playing hide and seek and other games. If the rain is really coming down, you may just have to skip outdoor play.
On the other hand, if the rain is light, you may be able to take a slightly longer walk. If it’s just drizzling or raining lightly, your dog could probably use the exercise, and so could you!
Monitor the Weather
The weather can change quickly here in Georgia. Sometimes a sudden cloudburst can darken the sky and dump a huge amount of water, only to clear up in 30 minutes. While long-term weather forecasts can be inaccurate or vague, short-term predictions are pretty accurate these days. Use an app on your phone or go online to get the hourly forecast for your neighborhood. If you can, time your walk for when the rain will be the lightest.
Keep Your Dog Dry
Doggy raincoats aren’t that hard to find, and they don’t have to be expensive. A simple raincoat can keep your dog dry and happy. After all, you wouldn’t go out in the rain without a coat, so your dog probably would prefer not to as well. An added bonus is that a doggy raincoat will make cleanup much easier once you go inside.
Another great rainy day accessory for your dog is doggy rain boots. Not all dogs will wear them, but if you can convince your furry friend to put on a pair, they will help her and you. Your dog will benefit from warm, dry paws. You will benefit from minimal cleanup when you get inside and no more muddy paw prints all over your home. Rain can also carry all sorts of pollution, lifting engine oil from the streets, carrying animal droppings from under bushes, and washing out pesticides and fertilizers from gardens. Doggy rain boots will help protect your dog’s feet from dirty rainwater.
Keep Your Dog Warm
Spring and summer in the Southeast are usually pretty warm, but a heavy downpour can bring a sudden drop in temperature. If you feel like you need a sweater, your dog could probably use one, too. In addition to being adorable, doggy sweaters are a great way to keep your dog comfortable outside. Just slip on the sweater under their doggy raincoat to keep your pet as comfortable as possible. If your pet knows they will be comfortable, they are less likely to resist going out in the rain, and less likely to leave you a gift the next time you leave the house.
Be Aware of Puddles
Sometimes dogs can behave like children, and puddles may bring out the child in your dog. It can be fun to splash in puddles, but be aware of what’s in those puddles. Whether you encounter puddles during or after a rainstorm, the water in those puddles can be filthy. Rainwater can sweep up grime and pollution, as well as animal dropping and garden chemicals. Make sure to bring plenty of fresh water and discourage your dog from drinking puddle water. Some standing water can even carry serious diseases that could be life threatening to your pet.
Just like drivers are expected to turn on their headlights any time they turn on their wipers, you should dress for high visibility any time you put on a raincoat. Rain can make it difficult for motorists to see you and your dog, so you both need bright colors and reflective vests or straps. Take extra care if you are going out at night or if you are walking in an area without sidewalks. If possible, avoid high-traffic areas or areas that are dark or lack sidewalks. If you have no other options, make sure you have your high-visibility gear and keep your walk short. Let your pet do their business, and then head back inside to safety.
Use a High-Quality Cloth or Nylon Leash
Even if you usually let your dog run off-leash, when the rain is coming down, a leash is in order. There are plenty of ways that a dog can get spooked out in the rain, like a breaking branch of a thunderclap. The last thing you need on a rainy walk is for your dog to dart off in the wrong direction. In addition, you will need to keep your pet a little more under control than usual. A good strong cloth or nylon leash will help you guide your dog away from puddles, muddy patches, and other hazards. It will also keep your dog in line around vehicles, whose operators may not be able to see your pet as easily as on a clear day.
Prepare for the Cleanup
No matter how much you try to keep your dog cry and clean, there is bound to be some cleanup when you get back indoors. The best way to avoid a mess is to be prepared. Before you go out, make sure that you have the things you will need to clean off your dog ready by the door for when you return. A basket of old towels is a must. You may also want to keep a blow dryer on hand. Laying a few towels on the floor before you leave is also a great way to handle muddy paws and dripping fur as you first come in.
Once you’re back inside, stop your pet just inside the door until they are cleaned and ready to enter the house. Use large towels to dry off your pet, paying particular attention to paws, your dog’s belly, and your dog’s face. Wipe off as much mud as you can and towel off as much water as possible. Depending on how messy the walking conditions are, and whether your dog wears a raincoat and boots or not, you may want to plan for a quick hose down or even a bath at the end of a walk.
Excellent Dog Care
Walking your dog is a necessity, at least to give them a place to do their business. Rain or shine, you’ve got to go out eventually. These tips can help make it as safe and comfortable as possible. But when your trusted companion needs more serious help, you can trust Dale to help you find the right services. Look for a TrustDALE certified veterinarian in your area to keep your pet healthy all year round.