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Rain affects your dog's behavior in many different ways. If you have ever walked your dog in the rain, you may have noticed certain behavior changes in your dog compared to sunny days.

Dogs are very routine-oriented animals and they have strong senses that makes them very in tune with their environment. Even a little drizzle of rain therefore impacts dogs in many ways, both negative and positive. 

It's therefore not surprising to learn that rain affects dogs in many different ways, let's discover them!

Does Weather Impacts Dogs?

In a previous post, we discovered the many ways fog impacts dogs, so now we'll be discovering the impact that rain may have on dogs. 

As sensitive animals, it's not surprising to learn that dogs are very sensitive to weather. Rain, fog or the addition of a blanket of snow, cause changes in the dog's environment and these changes impact dogs on several levels.

Rain is not just water falling from the sky. That is ultimately a too simplistic view. From a dog's perspective there is much more to that. 

For instance, rain drenches a dog's coat, creates puddles, dilutes scent and creates sound. Rain therefore impacts dogs at a multi-sensorial level. 

Whether it's a steady rainfall or a downpour, as seen in summer storms, many dog owners can attest  some changes in their dogs' behaviors when it's pouring.

Following are several ways dogs react to rain. 

1) Rain Turns Dogs into Sniffing Machines

Yes, you're not imagining things if your dog seems to be more into smelling around after it rains. Perhaps you see him spending more time sniffing in the yard or he's whining after catching a whiff under the door or air coming in from the vents.

You may just chalk it down to coincidence, but turns out, there's a valid reason for your dog's increased sniffing activity. 

Here's the thing: moisture intensifies smells. Basically, what happens is that, humid air traps smells causing them to linger around much longer than they normally do, explains Avert Gilbert, a "smell" psychologist for NBC News.

What does this mean to our dogs? It means that, when it rains dogs are blessed with a "smorgasbord" of smells that are more intense than usual, increasing their desire to go on a fun 'sniffari."

Folks training dogs for search and rescue know this very well. Indeed, search dogs are often worked when it's drizzling and damp, since scent needs moisture to survive, explains Kat Albrecht, in the book: "Detective Dogs." However, a heavy downpour on concrete can disperse it, making it difficult to follow a trail.

A drizzle of rain amplifies smells causing dogs to want to sniff around more

A drizzle of rain amplifies smells causing dogs to want to sniff around more

2) Rain Makes Dog Sleepy

Yes, rain can make certain dogs sleepy. If you are reluctant to go outside when it's raining, most likely your dog shares your feelings. After all, it's likely in his DNA. 

When it rains, most animals will be drawn to seek shelter and relax. It doesn't make sense after all, for a predator to go out and hunt when all the fuzzy and feathery critters are hidden and in a dry, sheltered place.

Many dogs therefore will go into snooze mode when it rains, especially when it's dark and you are also in lazy mode, perhaps watching TV and sipping on a cup of cocoa. Many dogs match their energy levels to those of their humans so it's easy to settle down and call it a day. 

However, not all dogs are created equally. Many outdoorsy dogs care less about rain and don't mind it on walks. If your dog is like this and you're planning to stay dry, make sure to provide him with some indoor rainy day activities such as brain games, food puzzles and training. 

3) Rain Makes Some Dogs Anxious 

If your dog fears thunderstorms, he may react to the sound of rain because he has associated it with all the lightening and thunder.

 This is called fear generalization and sometimes dog may also come to fear darkening skies, the noise of strong winds and even those subtle changes in barometric pressure.

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On top of this, some dogs are fearful of the sound of rain, especially when it's really pouring and if you have a metal roof. 

One day, when living in Missouri, in a home with a metal roof, we had a tornado warning and it started to hail. We had golf-ball size hail and the NOAA weather radio was sending a loud alert about it. 

The sound of the hail on the metal roof was almost deafening, then add to that, our emotional reactions to seeing the hail create dents on our car and dig a big hole in our mail box, and soon our dogs learned to fear the noise of hail on the roof. 

But the fear of hail on the roof didn't stop there. It soon generalized to the sound of rain on the roof. So we soon ended up with two dogs whining when it was raining very hard!

4) Rain Makes Dogs Reluctant to Potty

Do you have a dog who sings to the rhyme: "rain, rain go away, or I'll poop and pee another day?" If so, rest assured you are not alone!

Countless dogs refuse to potty in the rain, but who can blame them? When dogs potty, they like to sniff around, find the perfect spot and if they need to poop, they often need to feel safe enough to do so. 

With the rain, they'll have to get their fur drenched, possibly walk over puddles and get muddy paws, and many  simply can't concentrate enough to get the task done. 

For dogs who hate going in potty in the rain, below is a video with several tips:

5) Rain Can Give Your Dog the "Zoomies"

Many dogs who get wet from being in the rain will start zooming around right after. Also known as Frenetic Random Activity Periods, dog zoomies are simply periods of high activity that are fueled by an excess of energy.

Just like dogs go crazy after a bath, dogs may have a bout of zoomies after being out in the rain. 

This can be your dog's way of celebrating the relief he feels if he hates rain or getting his coat wet, or simply his way of getting his coat dry quickly. 

 6) Rain Can Make Dogs Sick 

Rain can make dogs sick in various ways. In most cases, they won't get sick right away, but after several days. If your dog acts sick some time after it rains, consult with your vet.

For instance, if your dog laps up rain from a puddle, and 7 to 10 days later he starts acting sick, suspect a case of lepto. Dogs get lepto from drinking water in which a small mammal carrying leptospirosis bacteria has urinated in that water. 

Many dogs are vaccinated against leptospirosis. If you check your dog's vaccine records, Lepto is  the "L" part of the DHLPP combo of vaccines. Signs of leptospirosis in dogs include lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, and increased urination.

Dogs may also get water in their ears when it rains and this can lead to an infection. If your dog is tilting his head, shaking his head or scratching his ears, have him evaluated by your vet. 

7) Rain May Cause Dogs to Mate More

We left this for last, because it's so interesting! OK, this won't affect spayed and neutered dogs, but this curious fact was worth mentioning.

Interestingly, in India, rain seems to bring more love in the air when it comes to free-ranging dogs. Why is that? 

According to a study, it's likely a matter of chemistry. Living in an urban environment, dogs are exposed to a lot of "olfactory noise," and this seems to interfere with the dog's ability to discriminate pheromones of female dogs in heat.

When it rains though, once again, those increased humidity levels and reduced temperature of the air, intensifies those pheromone signals leading to more frequent mating.


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