A rainy day hike can be an enjoyable outing if you and your dog are prepared for it! The rain doesn’t mean that you have to leave your furry best friend at home on your next hike, it just means that you need to make sure he’s safe during his time outside in the rain.
Here are some tips and tricks for hiking with dogs when it rains, keeping your pet dry and happy from the moment you leave the house until you arrive back home again.
Planning for the Hike
Plan out your hike at least a day in advance. You don’t want to be running around at the last minute looking for supplies like leashes and raincoats.
Hiking with low visibility is always risky, but when it’s raining you have to be even more careful because the ground may be slick. If you’re hiking a trail that you are not used to, make sure you are checking for trail markings regularly so that you don’t wander off the path.
Rain doesn’t just limit visibility; it can also affect footing and change water streams. At high altitudes or in arid areas where temperatures are colder, warm rain can bring about mudslides and other unstable conditions, but cold rain is more likely to freeze into ice so watch out for that as well.
You should also plan for any additional scents on your trail that your dog might come across. These enhanced scents can lure your dog off the path or distract them from listening to you. Make sure you keep tabs on where your dog’s nose is going!
How to Keep Your Dog Dry
If you’re going to be in a situation where your dog will be exposed to rain, you should bring along a rain jacket for your dog as well if they aren’t well suited for water. Some breeds are more fond of water such as the Labrador and Chesapeake Retriever and may prefer to frolic in the rain over wearing a jacket.
If you take your dog on hikes regularly, consider buying a specially-designed canopy that attaches to your regular hiking pack. There are also doggie raincoats available for dogs and puppy boots that keep their feet dry. The boots are recommended for large dogs since small ones can easily slip out of them during a hike.
It would also be good to keep a small towel in your bag. If you get caught in an unexpected rainstorm, you can use that to help dry off your dog and prevent her from getting too cold and wet.
Avoiding a Cold, Rainy Hike
A warm rain may be more manageable for you and your dog since there could be a lower risk of getting sick by being cold and wet. If it is too hot when it is raining, that might make the air muggy and humid, which could make the hike harder. Take your time and slow down if the hike is getting too rough for you or your dog.
If the weather turns too cold while it’s raining, that could mean snow, ice, or hail is in the forecast. These conditions can be dangerous if you are not prepared.
Make sure you pack extra warm clothing and blankets for you and your dog if there is a risk that you’ll encounter freezing temperatures. You may want to consider doing a shorter hike so that you can stay close to the trailhead.
Reasons Why Dogs Hate Being Wet
Even a quick afternoon shower can leave your pup soaked! Whether you’re walking on paved roads or off-roading through forest trails and ravines, there are few things worse than seeing your pup running around soaked to the bone in an attempt to stay dry!
Being soaked for a dog can be uncomfortable, especially if they are not a breed that enjoys swimming. Getting wet in cold temperatures can cause hypothermia, which is a life-threatening condition that can be fatal if left untreated.
Pneumonia is another concern of rainy day hikes with your dog, for both of you! Your dog could get sick if they are cold and wet for an extended period of time. Pneumonia is especially worrisome for young dogs, senior dogs, or any other dogs who have a weakened immune system.
A good rule of thumb is to avoid taking your dog out for walks on cold, rainy days or if there are any heavy rains in your forecast until you’re certain that conditions will be safe enough for everyone.
Wet fur also makes your dog more susceptible to skin problems. While the combination of moisture and cold temperatures can cause hypothermia, any wet fur around their paws can make them susceptible to cuts that could lead to infection if they don’t get dry and cleaned properly.
Even in warm weather, you should clean your dog’s paws regularly to prevent them from drying out too much or becoming stained by dirt. They may not seem like anything special at first glance, but a good set of dog paw wipes are an absolute necessity for making sure that your pup is always healthy!
Tips to Making Sure Your Dog Stays Happy
If your dog will be hiking through cold rain, make sure they have a warm and waterproof coat or jacket that also allows air to circulate around their body. And no matter what type of weather you’re hiking in, make sure your dog does not get too hot.
In extreme heat, dogs can get dehydrated quickly which could lead to a potentially fatal condition called heat stroke. Have them drink plenty of water before and during your hike so they don’t become overheated in their rain jacket.
Another thing to keep in mind is your dog’s paw health. Just like humans, dogs can develop corns and calluses on their paws, which should be carefully looked at by a vet if they are affecting your dog’s ability to walk or play.
Having good boots for them to wear while hiking can help protect their paws from getting damaged. There are also ointments that you can use to help keep their paw pads in shape.
Make sure your dog has an up-to-date ID tag on their collar so that if they do slip away from you, whoever finds them can contact you to reunite you with your dog! In addition to having an ID tag, your dog’s rabies tag should also be on their collar.
Before your hike, make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date and that they have been treated for ticks and fleas. Both ticks and fleas can carry serious diseases that can harm both you and your dog if you are bitten or scratched. Consider getting Lyme and Lepto vaccines for your dog to help protect them from diseases during your hike.
While on a hike, keep an eye out for any signs of irritation on their skin, ears or mouth. If your dog starts limping from an injury, help them return home so they can receive medical care from a vet.
It’s important to teach dogs proper hiking etiquette when taking them on trails so other hikers are aware of them nearby. Using all of these tips for hiking in rainy weather you will be able to keep your dog safe and happy while hiking.