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Why Does My Dog Stay Out in the Rain? Reasons Explained!

Dogs have a variety of quirky behaviors that sometimes leave us scratching our heads. One common behavior that many dog owners have observed is their dog’s tendency to stay out in the rain. As their owners frantically call them inside, these furry creatures seem to relish the opportunity to frolic in the wetness.

Dog Enjoying the Rain
BIGANDT – Shutterstock

But why do dogs do this? Is it simply a matter of personal preference or is there a deeper instinct at play? Understanding the reasons behind this behavior can help us keep our dogs safe and happy during rainy weather.

In this article, we will explore the various reasons why dogs stay out in the rain and discuss the potential risks involved. We will also provide tips for managing this behavior and ensuring that our furry friends are well taken care of, rain or shine.

Reasons Why Dogs Stay Out in The Rain

There are several reasons why dogs stay out in the rain. These reasons range from natural instincts to physical sensations and psychological factors. Below are some of the most common reasons why dogs might choose to stay outside in the rain:

Dog Staying Out During the Rain
Tea Nagode – iStock

A. Natural Instincts

  • Hunting and Tracking: Some dogs have a strong prey drive and love to track scents. Rain can actually enhance a dog’s sense of smell, making it easier for them to pick up scents and track prey.
  • Protection: In the wild, dogs may stay out in the rain to protect their territory or their pack. Rain can obscure scents, making it harder for predators to track them.

B. Physical Sensations

  • Temperature regulation: Dogs have a higher body temperature than humans, and rain can help them regulate their body temperature. The coolness of the rain can be refreshing and provide a reprieve from hot temperatures.
  • Enjoyment: Just like some people enjoy taking a walk in the rain, some dogs simply enjoy being out in the elements. Rain can be stimulating for dogs, providing new sights, sounds, and smells.

C. Psychological Reasons

  • Anxiety and Fear: Some dogs may experience anxiety or fear during storms, which can cause them to seek out a safe space outside. For these dogs, the rain can be a welcome distraction from their fears.
  • Boredom: Dogs that spend a lot of time indoors may become bored and seek out new experiences. The rain can provide a new and exciting environment for them to explore.

Risks of Dogs Staying Out in The Rain

While some dogs may enjoy staying out in the rain, there are risks involved with this behavior. These risks can have both health and behavioral implications for our furry friends. Below are some of the most common risks associated with dogs staying out in the rain:

Agnes Kantaruk – Shutterstock
  • Hypothermia: If a dog gets too wet and is not able to dry off or warm up quickly, they may develop hypothermia. This is a serious condition that can lead to organ failure or death if left untreated.
  • Pneumonia: Dogs that stay out in the rain for extended periods of time may also be at risk for developing pneumonia, which is an infection of the lungs. This condition can also be life-threatening.
  • Skin irritation and infections: When a dog stays out in the rain for extended periods, the dampness can cause skin irritation and infections. This is particularly true for dogs with thick coats or folds in their skin.
  • Parasite infestations: Rain can attract parasites such as fleas and ticks. Dogs that stay out in the rain may be at an increased risk of developing a parasite infestation.
  • Increased Anxiety and Stress: While rain may be a welcome distraction for some dogs, it can also increase anxiety and stress for others. This can be especially true during thunderstorms, which can be particularly scary for some dogs.
  • Aggression: Dogs that are anxious or stressed may be more likely to exhibit aggressive behaviors towards other dogs or humans.
  • Escape attempts: Some dogs may become anxious during rains and attempt to escape from their yard or home. This can put them at risk of getting lost or injured.

Tips for Managing Dogs Staying Out in The Rain

If your dog loves to stay out in the rain, there are steps you can take to manage their behavior and ensure their safety. Below are some tips for managing dogs staying out in the rain:

LightFieldStudios – iStock
  • Provide shelter: Make sure your dog has access to a covered area where they can shelter from the rain. This could be a dog house, a covered porch, or a garage.
  • Use a raincoat: If your dog likes to be outside in rainy weather but is prone to hypothermia or other health complications, a raincoat might be the solution. This can help keep them dry and warm during those wet days.
  • Monitor your dog: Keep an eye on your dog when they are outside in the rain and be sure to bring them inside if they start to shiver or display signs of hypothermia.
  • Keep them occupied: To keep your dog occupied during storms if they become anxious or bored, try giving them toys or treats.
  • Provide a safe space: Provide your pooch with a secure area in which they can retreat during storms, this could be in the form of a crate, bed or quiet room.
  • Avoid letting your dog out during thunderstorms: For some dogs, thunderstorms can be particularly frightening. If your dog becomes anxious during storms, it is best to keep them inside when there are thunderstorms.


Is it safe for dogs to stay out in the rain?

It depends on the individual dog and the length of time they are exposed to the rain. Some dogs may enjoy staying out in the rain and may not experience any negative effects. However, extended exposure to rain can lead to health and behavioral issues.

Can dogs catch a cold from staying out in the rain?

While dogs cannot catch a cold in the same way that humans do, they can develop respiratory infections or pneumonia from prolonged exposure to cold and wet weather.

What should I do if my dog loves staying out in the rain?

If your dog enjoys staying out in the rain, provide them with a covered area where they can shelter from the rain and keep an eye on them to ensure they do not develop any health issues.

Should I give my dog a bath after they have been outside in the rain?

It is a good idea to dry your dog off after they have been outside in the rain and to give them a bath if they become particularly wet or dirty. This can help prevent skin irritation or infection.


To sum up, although some dogs may appreciate being outdoors in the rain, it’s essential to consider the risks associated with it. These could range from hypothermia and skin irritation to anxiety and attempts at escape. Nevertheless, by offering shelter, monitoring your canine companion’s behavior and providing activities that keep them safe while they’re out there can help you control their behavior during wet weather conditions.

Providing your dog with a raincoat, a sheltered area, and plenty of toys and treats if they enjoy being out in the rain can help keep them healthy, happy and safe. However, always check with your vet if you have any concerns about their wellbeing or behaviour.