It may be raining, but you and your dog can still enjoy a walk
Happy new year! We just had several winter rainstorms, so this topic is fresh on my mind.
I find walking a dog in the rain invigorating. We're moving along through the neighborhood, passing shiny wet plants and bright colors, and everything smells so clean and good.
And pooch is happy to be taking in all the great rainy smells. Halfway through, a dog will looked up at me with a big beaming gaze that says “I’m having so much fun!" That warms my heart.
Note that dogs have a great technique to shed excess rain: shaking. Be prepared for that spontaneous pause your pooch will take to shake.
Rain clothes for pups
For small dogs especially it’s a good idea to put on a doggy raincoat. A coat keeps a small dog comfortable and shields against hypothermia. Select a coat that accommodates the type of harness or collar your dog has.
Some folks like to put booties on their dogs to further conserve heat. If you try them, be prepared for mixed reviews from your dog, and the occasional lost boot.
During the walk, pay attention to pup’s behavior and check for signs of coldness. If the dog is shivering or whining, it's time to head home.
Rain clothes for people
What do I like to wear? Close-fitting pants tucked into waterproof boots and a roomy raincoat that goes to at least mid-thigh. I like it roomy so I can layer underneath as needed, depending on how cold a day it is. A light color is best for visibility. If it’s chilly I add a scarf to protect my neck from drafts, and fingerless gloves.
My favorite item is a rain hat with a brim. I like a hat instead of a hood or umbrella. A hood lets the rain hit my face which feels uncomfortable and makes it hard to see. An umbrella doesn’t work in windy weather, plus I like having both hands available, for the dog’s safety and mine.
Have thirsty towels ready
Plan ahead and have plenty of towels back at the house. Before you head out, spread a couple right inside the door to catch wet, muddy paw prints.
When you return, have the dog sit on a towel and stay. Then use another to dry pooch, paying special attention to ears, paws, tummy and tail. Dogs commonly don't like having their eyes covered, so best to avoid that.
Your dog will appreciate extra gentleness with head, face and ears because those areas are sensitive. I consider dog drying a full body massage, and talk quietly and soothingly with plenty of Good Dogs. This seems to calm the pup.
Then a treat, a drink of water, and a warm snuggly nap.
Living and enjoying life with furry friends in the East Bay