Why does my dog stay out in the rain? Seeing your pooch sitting outside in a downpour or even happily splashing in a puddle can be puzzling. While most dogs shy away from the rain, some animals genuinely enjoy stormy weather.
Read on to learn more about this behavior and the possible causes behind it.
Why Does My Dog Stay Out in the Rain? Three Possible Causes
As a pet owner, you know that each dog is a unique individual with its own quirks and personality traits. There are different reasons for a dog to enjoy the rain.
Rain Enhances Smells
Have you ever noticed how rain seems to have a unique smell to it? It’s a rich and earthy scent known as petrichor. As the humidity in the air builds up before rain, microorganisms called actinobacteria become more active and produce organic compounds that have a distinctive earthy smell.
As humans, we can only detect a few parts of these compounds per trillion of air molecules. However, our furry companions have up to 300 million receptors in their snouts. Dogs can experience smells like petrichor in a much more complex way and it’s something your pooch might enjoy.
Plus, higher humidity levels mean that air molecules can carry more compounds that produce scent, which means some smells will become stronger before and during a rainstorm.
In fact, a study has found that there is a link between precipitations and dogs’ mating habits. It’s possible that high humidity levels help dogs pick up the pheromones that help them find a mate.
With all these interesting smells to explore, staying out in the rain can be an exciting and enriching activity for your dog, especially if they’re picking up the scents of other nearby dogs.
Some Dogs Love the Water
While most pets tend to shy away from the rain and limit their trips outside when it’s cold and damp, you can find dogs who genuinely enjoy the rain.
Breeds like German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, English Setters, Poodles, or Newfoundlands tend to enjoy splashing and swimming. Rain might remind these dogs of other fun experiences they had while swimming in a lake or pool.
And, let’s face it, splashing in the puddles and getting muddy is an activity that many dogs enjoy, especially large and active breeds. While staying out in a downpour might not be appealing, running around in the mud is an exciting way to exercise for dogs.
Some experts also believe that wild dogs used to roll around in the mud to hide their scents from potential predators. Your four-legged companion might have some remnants of this ancestral instinct.
Your Dog Would Rather Stay Outside Than Be in the House
Your pet might stay out in the rain because they would rather be outside. For active breeds, it’s not necessarily an issue. However, you should eliminate any potential sources of stress or discomfort in your home.
Why do dogs stay out in the rain? There are different possible reasons:
- Breeds like Whippets, Border Terriers, Cocker Spaniels, Huskies, Border Collies, Labrador Retrievers, and others need at least two hours of exercise a day to be happy and healthy. If you have an active dog, they might prefer to be outside because they feel cooped up.
- Your lifestyle can be another possible reason. If you often go on adventures with your dog and have a pet that enjoys hiking and swimming, your pooch might crave new experiences and go outside in the rain because it’s an exciting activity.
- Your dog might also enjoy the rain because it helps them stay cool, especially in the spring and during short summertime showers. Dogs with thick coats and long hair might feel too hot inside and prefer the outdoors.
- There might be a source of stress that is driving your dog outdoors. A home with several pets, children, or guests can be stressful for a dog, especially if it’s a pet you recently adopted or a senior dog.
Should You Let Your Dog Stay Out in the Rain?
There is nothing wrong with letting your dog stay out in the rain if it’s something they enjoy. However, you need to make sure your pooch is outside because it’s what they want to do and not because they feel uncomfortable indoors.
Your dog needs to have a quiet space where they can retreat to when they want to sleep or relax. Create a safe space with a dog crate or comfortable dog bed. Add plenty of toys and blankets to encourage your dog to relax, and make sure children understand not to bother your pet when they are in this space.
You should also pay attention to the indoor temperature and humidity levels. Your dog might feel that the indoor air is too hot or too dry, especially if they have a thick coat.
Once you have eliminated any potential stressors inside your home and your dog keeps heading outside during rainstorms, it’s safe to assume that your pooch simply enjoys the water or the enhanced smells.
It’s generally safe to let your dog outside in the rain, but there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Don’t let your dog stay outside in temperatures that drop below 45°F, but don’t hesitate to have your dog come inside once temperatures drop below 50°F if there is a wind chill or if your dog isn’t very active.
- A coat can be a good way of keeping your pooch warm while exploring in the rain.
- Limit the amount of time your dog spends outside in the rain.
- Think about upgrading your yard with a lean-to shelter, an awning, or a dog house so your pooch can enjoy the smells of the rain while staying dry.
- Work on recall training to have your dog come inside if the weather gets too bad.
- Offer some indoor activities so your pet doesn’t get bored inside.
Why do dogs stay out in the rain? While some dogs will head outside because they are stressed or bored indoors, some pets enjoy the rain because it’s fun to play in the puddles or because rain makes smells stronger.
Are you inspired by nature? Check out our list of actually good WEATHER inspired dog names!
It’s safe to let your dog stay out in the rain for a while if they enjoy it, but you should keep an eye on them and make them come inside if it gets cold.