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A Vet’s Guide to Dog-Friendly Rainy Days

It doesn’t rain often in California, but when it does, it pours! While staying inside with hot chocolate under the covers may be ideal for you, it probably won’t be for your dog. Certain canine breeds have too much energy to lie around all day, so they need to be stimulated even when they’re indoors. Dogs also don’t wear clothes to stay warm like humans, so unless you have a cold weather breed, it’s important to find a way to keep them nice and toasty. Because dogs can’t speak, it can be difficult to understand what they need to stay safe and healthy when the weather changes. Check out the guide below to learn how to handle rainy days with your furry friends!

Staying inside

Outdoor pets should be brought indoors on rainy days. No matter how rambunctious your dog is, it’s too cold and dangerous to leave pets outside during a storm. To keep your home clean, give your pets a bath before they romp around the house. You’ll also want to lock cabinets, hide valuables, and put fluffy, chewable pillows in a safe place.

Unlike cats, dogs don’t normally use the restroom inside. It’s doubtful that you’ll be able to train your dog to use a litter box in just a day. If it’s just drizzling, your pets can probably still go outside to do their business, but if it’s a torrential downpour, we recommend setting up a doggie station in the bathroom. Place a wee pad on some newspapers or in a box in the bathroom. These are incredible absorbent but disposable. When your dog signals they need to go, direct them to their new doggie station!

Dogs can get sick just like humans. Their fur may provide enough warmth for a cloudy day, but it may not be sufficient on a cold, rainy day. Turn on the heat in your home until the temperature is at a comfortable 68-78 degrees. If that’s not an option, you may have to bundle your furry friend in a doggie sweater and provide plenty of warm blankets on their sleeping mat.

Getting exercise

On days when it’s just sprinkling, you can actually still take your dog on a walk outside! Invest in a large umbrella, poncho, and rain booties for your dog to keep them dry in the rain. As you go along your walk, you may want to keep your dog on a tighter leash than usual to avoid getting splashed in puddles or mud!

If you’re having trouble keeping your pet(s) entertained, here are a few activities you can try at home on rainy days:

  • Tug of War: This is a fun game you can play with your dog to help them release some energy. Best part is it doesn’t require much space and all you need is a sturdy object to grab between the two of you.
  • Sniff and Search: Have your pet sniff some treats or objects and hide them around the house. It’ll be a physical and mental workout.
  • Puzzle Balls: These little balls have treats stuffed inside them, but it’ll definitely take a lot of work for your dog to get them out. It’ll give your pet a goal
  • Obedience Training: A rainy day is the perfect time to treat your dog new tricks! You’ve got all the time in the world to show them how to roll over, stay, jump, or shake your hand.
  • Shopping Trip: There are plenty of stores and malls that are pet-friendly these days. Walk your pet up and down the aisles of an indoor shopping center for some much needed exercise.
  • Spa Day: Who doesn’t love a spa day? Groom your pets to perfection, so they’ll be ready for the outdoors once the sun comes out. You can trim fur, clip nails, and brush them to your heart’s content.
  • Boxes: Giant boxes can be a lot more fun than they seem! If you have some lying around, take them out for your pets to explore inside.
  • Hide and Seek: This game isn’t just for children. It can be fun for dogs as well!
  • Blow Bubbles: Let your pup admire and chase down a few mysterious bubbles indoors. Bubbles float slowly enough that it won’t cause a ruckus to follow them, but they’re just as fun as balls.

Dealing with thunder

Many pets are afraid of thunder because the loud sounds are startling. It can be frightening because they don’t understand what is or where it’s coming from. On the bright side, there are ways to prepare your pup and keep them calm during the storm.

One way to help your pet feel safe and secure is by providing a cozy haven indoors where they can seek shelter. Outfit their usual sleeping arrangements with soft pillows, blankets, and familiar toys. You can also get a crate or igloo, so they feel like they are in a small, safe space. Make sure to close any windows or doors that could be making the sounds more loud and threatening than they need to be.

You can also try to distract your pet during the storm. Stay by their side as you play with new toys, give them treats, or listen to music together. It might get their mind off the scary sounds and help them focus on something else. Plus, your presence is probably comforting!

If none of these work, you can always consult with the veterinarian to train your pet how to behave during thunderstorms. The vet will be able to determine what exactly is triggering your pet and how to treat that. There are also sleeping and anti-anxiety medications available to calm your dog down if worst comes to worst. Our Anaheim veterinarian at Brookhurst Animal can help figure out what’s going on and prescribe medication if needed.

Considering how dry California is, rain is always a blessing, but it can be a little burdensome if you have pets. We hope our guide can help you enjoy these days spent indoors better than before. Give us a call if you have questions or would like to book an appointment with our vet in Anaheim at Brookhurst Animal!