The much-anticipated El Niño weather pattern has officially arrived in Southern California, and though the rain is certainly welcome in our drought-parched region, it has some unpleasant side effects. Traffic chaos for starters. But hoomans aren’t the only ones who are out of sorts when the weather is wet. SoCal dogs are in revolt over having to go outside to do their “business” in the rain! So to spare both you and your dog some soppy discomfort, here is our Rainy Day Dog Walking Survival Guide with our best tips and tricks for rainy day dog walking.
Use technology to your advantage.
While the weatherperson may be terrible at accurately predicting which day a storm system will arrive, once the rain is actually here, the high-tech weather radar systems are great at showing you where it’s happening. Since rain patterns ebb and flow, use radar maps to plan optimal times for dog walking. Just go to your favorite TV station’s website and find their interactive radar map. Play the loop to see how the storm cells are shaped and how fast they are moving and then plan your stroll accordingly. Adjusting your walk by 15-30 minutes can mean the difference between picking up dog doo in a downpour or a drizzle.
Keep your dog warm.
SoCal dogs are just as spoiled as people by our normally warm and sunny weather. For some pups, the temperature is as much of an issue as the rain. Gear up your pup with a stylish sweater and they may be more willing to venture outdoors. Rufus, pictured here, has two Chilly Dog sweaters from Adopt & Shop Culver City. They have made a huge difference in his comfort this fall.
These high quality sweaters are not only stylish, they are made with 100% wool so they will keep your canine warm even if they get wet. Note, however, the only thing that smells worse than a wet dog is a wet dog wearing a wet wool sweater, which brings us to the next tip.
Keep your dog dry.
Raincoats for dogs not only exist, many of them are reasonably priced and work great to keep most of their body dry on a rainy day walk. This not only makes for a more comfortable dog during your walks, it also minimizes wet dog cleanup once you get back inside. Bonus tip: layer a sweater under a raincoat to keep your pup warm and dry for maximum willingness to walk.
Keep yourself warm and dry.
It should probably be common sense that if we’re putting sweaters and raincoats on our dogs we should put them on ourselves. That said, given that Southern California is the land of tank tops and flip flops, many of us just don’t have that many wardrobe choices for cold/wet weather. If predictions are accurate, El Niño means that we’re in for a long, wet winter, so it’s time to invest in some key pieces. Up first, an umbrella. Preferably a large one with plenty of coverage to keep you dry and share with your dog. But umbrellas can be a pain to keep handy, and since a bit of wind can foil them anyway, you also need a waterproof poncho, slicker, or jacket. And finally, waterproof galoshes or wellingtons are a must. Deep puddles and flowing gutters will be everywhere this winter and being able to walk with confidence is huge. Plus, these days rainy day footwear comes in cute colors and patterns so it’s also a fashion statement opportunity.
Prepare for a battle of wills.
Many of us spoil our pups (just a little bit!) and they get used to setting the agenda.They don’t want to go out for a walk in the rain in the first place, so they may try to turn around and head back inside before they’ve done all of their “business”. Don’t give in! You know they have to go, and chances are, if you let them back inside too soon you will come home from work to find “surprises” to clean up. Channel your inner “alpha” and keep walking until your pup has let it all out. While this may be tough at first, if you are consistent, your dog will learn they don’t get to go back inside until business is done. This will ultimately speed things up because instead of resisting the process they will get on with it quickly so they can go back to their warm snuggly bed (or yours).
Minimize post walk cleanup.
While sweaters, raincoats, and umbrellas will help keep most of your dog dry, their paws are still going to get wet. A little pre-walk preparation will minimize your post-walk cleanup of those adorable, but muddy, paw prints. There are many great dog doormat products out there, but you don’t need to spend cash for a solution. Place old towels on the floor near your door so your dog has to walk over them on his way into the house. Keep another handy to quickly mitigate streams of water coming off slickers. Finally, remove and hang wet things over the towels near your door so they’ll be at the ready in a few hours when you’ll have to do it all over again.
Enjoy it while it lasts.
Live a little. Channel your inner child and splash in a run off. Let your dog drink from a mud puddle. Heck, splash your dog and let him chase you and jump on you with his muddy paws. After all, you’ll both need cleaning up and drying off anyway, and it’s only water.
The Michelson Found Animals Foundation's mission of saving pets and enriching lives is made possible by the generous contributions of Dr. Gary Michelson and Alya Michelson.