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Keeping Your Furry Friend Clean and Happy During Wet Seasons

Keeping Your Furry Friend Clean and Happy During Wet Seasons

As the rainy or snowy season approaches, pet owners often find themselves facing a common dilemma: should I walk my dog in this weather? Additionally, with the cooler seasons, comes the question of whether it's safe to wash your dog outside after a muddy or slushy walk when the temperatures drop. In this blog, we'll address these concerns and provide tips on keeping your furry friend clean and comfortable during wet, muddy and slushy weather.

To Walk or Not to Walk? 

Wet weather certainly doesn't mean you have to skip your dog's walk, but it does require some thoughtful consideration. Regular exercise is crucial for your pet's physical and mental health, and depriving them of activity can lead to restlessness or anxiety and increased risk of obesity. When determining exercise requirements, it's essential to take your dog's individual characteristics into account. Factors like breed and/or type, size, age and personal preferences play a significant role in determining whether it's safe and enjoyable to venture out during stormy weather. For hardy breeds with dense hair coats, a rainy walk might not even be a minor inconvenience and they may enjoy splashing through puddles and playing in the mud! Conversely, some smaller dogs and/or those with short hair may be more sensitive to cold and wet conditions, making them prone to discomfort if not properly protected. In such cases, it's wise to dress up, opt for shorter walks, or engage in indoor playtime to keep your furry friend content. Keep in mind that the dog's enthusiasm for the walk should also be considered; if your pet appears anxious or hesitant, it would be best to wait for clearer skies and warmer weather. Walks should always be a fun and enjoyable experience for both dog and dog parent, so forcing a march in uncomfortable weather isn't doing anyone any good.

Keeping Your Furry Friend Clean After a Walk 

Autumn can bring chilly temperatures, but it's still possible to give your dog a bath or a spot-clean outdoors after walks if you take the right precautions. Make sure the water temperature is warm, not too hot or cold. Unless you have access to warm water outside, ditch the hose and use a bucket of warm water and a large sponge or cloth. Only clean your dog's muddy/wet areas and keep the bath as short as possible to prevent your dog from getting cold. Always have warm, dry towels on hand to wrap your dog in after the bath. If your dog has short enough hair that doesn't trap too much debris, wiping them with a warm, damp cloth or pet wipes can be a great alternative. Be sure to use a mild pet-safe shampoo when bathing your dog, and rinse thoroughly to avoid skin irritation.
To minimize the mess after a walk in the mud, here are some alternative ways to keep your furry friend clean after walks:

Paw Protection: Invest in dog booties or use a paw wax to protect your dog's paws from mud and debris. This is especially important in areas where salt may be used to prevent ice build up such as urban streets and sidewalks.
Designate a Cleaning Area: Create a designated cleaning area in your home where you can easily clean your dog after walks. This could include a wash station or a spot with grooming tools and cleaning supplies.
Mud Mats: Place mud mats or runners in your entryways to capture excess mud and dirt before your dog tracks it inside.

Use Towels: Keep a stack of old towels near the door, so you can quickly dry your dog's fur and paws before they enter your home.

Dry Shampoo: Use a dog-specific dry shampoo to freshen up your dog's coat and remove dirt and odors.

Pet Wipes: Keep pet wipes handy to clean your dog's paws and hair on the go.

Blow Dry: After a wet walk or bath, use a pet-friendly blow dryer on a low setting to ensure your dog's fur is completely dry.
Regular Grooming: Regular brushing can help remove dirt, debris, and loose fur, keeping your dog cleaner between baths.

What to Watch Out for in Wet Seasons: Paws, Ears, Skin Irritations

During rainy and snowy seasons, several specific concerns deserve your attention when it comes to caring for your dog. Firstly, your dog's paws are vulnerable to mud, moisture, and potential irritants like road and sidewalk salts. The damp conditions can, if not cleaned properly, can cause discomfort and may even lead to infections. Inspect your dog's paws after walks, wipe them clean, and consider using protective dog booties or a pet-safe paw wax to shield them from the elements.

Secondly, your dog's ears can be at risk, particularly if they have floppy ears or hairy ears, or are prone to ear infections. The increased moisture can create a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast in the ears. After rainy walks, gently dry your dog's ears with a clean, dry cloth to prevent these issues. If you notice ear discolouration, odour or discomfort, consult your veterinarian for guidance.

Lastly, the wet and muddy conditions can also lead to skin irritations. Ensure your dog is thoroughly dried after walks, especially in the neck, chest and groin areas where moisture can accumulate - especially in longer-haired dogs. If you notice redness, itching, or skin issues, consult with your veterinarian to prevent any potential skin infections. Regular grooming and brushing can help remove dirt and debris from your dog's fur, minimizing the chances of skin problems during rainy seasons. By addressing these key concerns, you can keep your furry friend happy, healthy, and comfortable throughout the wet and stormy months.
Degeling C, Burton L, McCormack GR (2011) An investigation of the association between socio-demographic factors, dog-exercise requirements, and the amount of walking dogs receive. The Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research 76: 235-240.
The Kennel Club (2023) Breeds A to Z. Available at: