San Francisco residents know that our winter weather is, well, unpredictable at best. One thing we can be pretty sure of is that there will be rain in the winter, but how much is anyone’s guess.

Rainy weather pet safety is of paramount importance to those of us who live with furry family members. By tending to our pets’ needs during wet weather, we can keep them healthy while still enjoying a little singing (or howling) in the rain.

Rainy Weather Pet Safety

Rain or shine, San Francisco is one of the most pet-friendly cities in America. That being said, you will most likely still be out walking your dog in the rain, whether out of necessity (no yard) or for the sheer enjoyment it brings to you and your pet.

Preparation is key when it comes to a successful walk in the rain. Follow our tips for rainy weather pet safety:

  • Keep warm – Chilly temps and dampness are a bad combination if you aren’t ready for it. It may seem like your pet’s fur should protect him or her from the elements, but pets can get cold and wet just like us, leading to hypothermia and other conditions. A waterproof vest or jacket will go a long way toward keeping your pet warm and comfortable.
  • Stay dry – If possible, check the weather report ahead of time and try to find a time to walk when the rain has paused or is light. Seek out covered areas or tree-lined paths to help block some of the rain from reaching you and your pet.
  • Safety first – Even the calmest pets can be spooked by thunder, lightning, and loud wind and rain, and may try to make a run for it. Always keep your pet on a leash and supervised while outdoors Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with ID tags and that his or her microchip is updated, just in case.

The Aftermath

Bringing Fido inside after a wet walk is one of the unfortunate, but necessary, side effects of a rainy day when you’re a pet owner. Returning your pet to his or her original state (dry!) is top priority:

  • The fur – Wet fur can create ideal conditions for the growth of bacteria and fungus. Thoroughly dry your pet as soon as you get inside. If he or she will tolerate it, a hair dryer set to “low” can be very useful for drying out wet fur.
  • The paws – Wash your pet’s paws with a warm washcloth each time he or she comes inside. Inspect in between the toes for mud, grass, and other debris. Consider purchasing a pair of waterproof booties to protect his or her paws on the rainiest days.
  • The ears – Moisture that accumulates in the ears can lead to ear infections in dogs. Make sure to keep your pet’s ears clean and dry.
  • Bedding – Be sure that your pet’s bedding stays dry. Damp bedding can aid in the growth of nefarious organisms, lower your pet’s immunity to infection, and is generally uncomfortable.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about rainy weather pet safety, please contact your team at AIMSS.