Why Does My Dog Stay Out in the Rain?

Rain often causes us some inconvenience. It keeps you stuck inside without an umbrella and leads to cancellation of plans, even flights!

While we may think rain is the ultimate disrupter, our dogs may feel the opposite. They have such joy and fun playing in puddles and getting dirty and wet.

Why does my dog stay out in the rain? 

There are many possible reasons why your dog prefers to stay outside when it’s raining, from the desire to mate to simply indoor boredom.

Find out why your dog stays out in the rain and how to keep your dog safe when it’s raining.

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dog out in the rain

Do Dogs Love the Rain?

While some dogs don’t mind the rain, and might even want to stay outside, many of our furry friends have negative feelings toward rain. 

You may notice them feeling scared, lazy, or shying away from the rain. Some even refuse to go outside when it rains. 

In general, dogs don’t understand why it’s raining or what’s happening. It confuses them and makes them feel uncomfortable.

Some think that rain makes dogs scared to get in trouble with you, especially if they associate mud or rain with that one day you scolded them for making a mess in the house.

They remember getting dirty and receiving a bath, which they often don’t enjoy. 

Some dogs don’t like the sound of the rain. While it can be peaceful for us humans, it can make dogs anxious or irritated because of the loudness. 

They may be expecting thunderstorms that make them feel uncomfortable. 

Signs of a dog’s phobia about rain can include:

  • panting
  • whimpering
  • barking
  • drooling
  • hiding. 

In a study at Penn State University, it was found that some dogs experience an increase in cortisol, the stress hormone, during a thunderstorm.

When the researchers tested the saliva of thunder-phobic dogs, the cortisol was found to be 200% higher than dogs who aren’t afraid. 

They also found that 15 percent to 30 percent of dogs are extremely scared of thunder.

Why Your Dog Stays Out in the Rain

If most dogs dislike the feel, sight, and sound of the rain, then why is your dog staying out in the rain?

Your dog is not weird for liking the rain, but that doesn’t mean you should tolerate them staying out all the time.

Here are some possible reasons why your dog stays out in the rain.

Their Sense of Smell Changes

Changes in barometric pressure can also affect your dog’s desire to stay outside and their behavior in general.

Barometric pressure or atmospheric pressure is the force per unit exerted by the air above your area.

When dogs go tracking or do nose work, their nose is always checked for dryness.

If a dog’s nose is dry from sleeping or traveling, it won’t have enough moisture to absorb the scent particles and process the smell.  

Some dogs become scared, while others may feel overexcited and curious when it rains. 

Your dog may be staying outside as the rain absorbs the scent particles and your dog gladly inhales the moisture and the scent.

Too Hot Inside

On the other hand, your dog might stay outside when it’s raining simply to feel the breeze.

They enjoy the temperature more when they are outdoors and will run around to feel the air even more.

Most dogs eat less and become less active when it’s very hot, so when they sense rain coming, they become more playful and adventurous.

Indoor Boredom

Rainy day boredom occurs in dogs, especially if they are always energetic. If your dog is used to playing several hours a day, staying inside because of the rain will make them bored.

Thus, they try to sneak out in the yard to play by themselves. They don’t care if they get wet and muddy, as long as they can let out that extra energy.

Dogs Mate When It Rains

Your dog may be looking for someone to mate with and that is why they want to stay outdoors. 

There is a strong correlation between both the incidence and frequency of mating-related behaviors of dogs and precipitation levels.

The study also states that dogs are exposed to powerful smells in the urban environment, diluting the signal present in sex pheromones of the female dogs in heat.

When it rains, the reduced temperature of the air causes intensification of pheromone signals that trigger a sexual response.

Protecting the Family

Dogs can sense when bad weather is coming. If you have a guard dog, they may be staying out in an attempt to protect you from what’s coming.

They can sense changes in the static electric field that occur in the air, especially as a strong storm approaches.

Here are some body language cues that tell your dog can sense rain.

  • growling
  • barking
  • guarding
  • cowering
  • panting
  • pacing
  • back hair on edge.

How to Keep Your Dog Safe When It’s Raining

Here are some tips to keep your dog safe during the rainy season.

Keep Their Fur, Ears, and Paws Clean and Dry

Fungi and bacteria love to thrive in dog fur. Make sure to dry your dog after a walk to remove dirt and avoid infections.

Use a blow dryer to tend off the dampness. Also instead of bathing them, you can use a dry shampoo.

You also want to make sure to keep their sensitive paws clean. If you’re going out with your dog on a rainy day, make them wear protective boots or shoes.

If they are not used to wearing shoes, just wipe them off and apply paw balm after. 

Your dog is also prone to ear infections during the rainy season. Always clean them to prevent moisture from accumulating in their ears.

Provide an Insulated Dog House

If you have an outdoor dog, make sure they stay safe and warm. Their dog house should have a solid roof that doesn’t leak.  

It should also block the wind by eliminating large gaps and an open doorway. 

You also want to provide good bedding for your dog to keep them cozy and comfy in their house.

dog house bedding

Keep Your Dog Indoors

It’s always better to persuade your dog to stay indoors. It will keep them safer from the thunder and lightning, as well as the rain.

To keep them occupied, conduct indoor activities like playing a game of light fetch or giving them chew toys

FAQ About Dogs Out in the Rain

What Makes a Good Dog House for Cold Weather?

A good dog house for the cold weather is one that has a solid roof and little to no gaps to avoid leaking. It should also be able to block the wind to keep them warm.

The dog house should not be too big or small to allow your dog to regulate their body temperature.

Find out more about the best dog house for cold weather here.

Should My Dog Wear a Jacket When it’s Raining?

Yes, but it’s best to let them wear one only when you’re going out. Some dogs don’t feel comfortable wearing a jacket all the time.

Here are some of the best dog jackets to keep your dog warm and dry outdoors.

How Do I Tell if My Dog is Cold?

Some signs that your dog is feeling cold during the rainy season include trembling or shivering, sleeping more than usual, lethargy, and curling up.

If these symptoms occur, then your dog might be at risk of hypothermia.

Find out more on how you can tell if your dog is cold here

What Should I Do If My Dog is Scared of Thunderstorms?

Keep calm and relaxed when you notice signs of fear in your dog.

Comfort your dog but don’t overdo it. Otherwise, they will perceive this affection as a reward and they will repeat this behavior when another thunderstorm comes.

You also don’t want to force them to face their fears. Instead, gradually train them to trust you.

Read our tips on how to train a fearful dog now!

Keep Your Pup Dry!

Most dogs do not like rain. They get scared of the lightning and thunder, while others are simply confused and have no idea what’s happening.

However, some dogs love the rain because it challenges their olfactory nerves and makes them eager to smell their environment. 

Some dogs want to mate in the rainy season, while others feel more active when it’s chilly outside.

It’s better to keep your dog warm and dry inside. But if you have an outdoor dog, provide an insulated dog house for them to stay comfortable in.

Learn what makes a good dog house during the cold weather so your dog can continue enjoying the rain without feeling cold and uncomfortable.