Vets warn of 7 dangers dog owners need to be vigilant for including dogs drinking from puddles

A dog wearing a raincoatA dog wearing a raincoat
A dog wearing a raincoat | Getty Images

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With a continuing wet summer for most Brits, vets are urging owners to be mindful about the dangers the rain can bring

The British summer has so for failed to live up to recent years as the rainy weather continues for most. But the rain also brings some unexpected dangers to be wary of with your pets.

The rain itself doesn't present danger to dogs, but wet conditions can bring about bacteria and other risks that could even be deadly to pets when they are walking.

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Whether you need to be cautious of certain insects or stagnant water, there is much to be mindful of here.

To help pet owners keep their dogs safe in wet weather, experts at global pet-sitting company TrustedHousesitters have spoken with vets to identify the seven biggest threats posed to your pup by the rain.

Don’t leave toys, balls or bowls outside

Rain attracts all kinds of creepy crawlies. Some, like slugs and snails, carry parasites such as lungworm, which infect dogs and can be fatal if left untreated. Objects left in the garden, especially overnight, will naturally attract these bugs, warns Dr Sabrina Kong.

The DVM and veterinary writer said: “Leaving dog toys out in the rain might seem harmless, but it's like sending out a VIP invitation to slugs and other pests. These little critters can carry parasites that are harmful to dogs. So, remember to bring in those toys when the rain starts to pour.”

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Be careful with stagnant water 

Your dog naturally wants to keep hydrated on a walk and sometimes turn to natural sources. After heavy rainfall your walks will be peppered with puddles and stagnant water – but vets say to keep well clear, as certain bacteria can be deadly if your dog’s vaccines aren’t up to date.

Veterinary surgeon Dr Linda Simon said: “While dogs love to stop and drink puddle water, it is best not to allow this. Rats and mice can urinate in stagnant water, leading to the spread of Leptospirosis. Though your dog should be covered for Leptospirosis if up to date with their vaccines, they are still at risk of contracting the disease.”

Get a grip

When leads become wet, they are much more likely to slip from your hand, especially if you have an eager dog. If your dog gets loose, they’re in danger from traffic, wildlife and other dogs.

Always keep a firm grip on the lead during bad weather, or better yet, opt for a lead with a padded or non-slip handle to reduce the chance of your pooch slipping away.

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Don’t jump in puddles

There’s something so nostalgic about splashing in puddles – but the innocent move could spell disaster for your furry friends!

Dr Sabrina Kong added: “Let's talk about those enticing puddles. You'd think they're just harmless water, right? Wrong!

"Puddles can be a cocktail of all sorts of nasties, from sharp objects to harmful bacteria. I've seen dogs come in with cut paws and upset stomachs from puddle-related incidents. So, steer your pooch clear of those deceptive puddles next time it's raining cats and dogs!”

Ensure you’re always visible 

Rain vastly reduces visibility for pedestrians and drivers, putting both you and your pet at risk – especially in built-up areas with a lot of traffic. Make sure you and your pooch are fully visible at all times when the weather takes a turn for the worst. You should wear a rain jacket with reflective strips, but also ensure your dog is kitted out with their own reflective accessories for when they’re off the lead. 

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Dogs can be at risk in wet weatherDogs can be at risk in wet weather
Dogs can be at risk in wet weather | TrustedHousesitters

Dry your pooch thoroughly 

It’s inevitable that your dog will get wet on a rainy walk – and most won’t mind. However, it’s important to thoroughly dry your pet when you get home, to reduce the risk of irritation.

Veterinarian, Dr Sara Ochoa, said: “Once you and your dog have returned from your wet adventure, it's crucial to dry off thoroughly. Use a towel or a pet-friendly blow dryer on a low heat setting to ensure your dog's coat is completely dry, especially in colder climates. This helps prevent skin irritations, hotspots, and potential infections.

“Some dogs with floppy ears are more prone to ear infections during rainy weather. Consider using a hooded raincoat or an umbrella to keep their ears dry.”

Watch out for splashes from cars

The last thing you want is for your pet to develop a fear of rain – which is a very real risk when walking close to traffic.

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Dr Linda Simon said: “Be wary of walking too close to traffic and getting a big splash from a car. While some dogs won’t mind, others might get spooked. Short term, this could lead to them pulling on the lead and running into traffic. Longer term, you may end up with a dog who develops a vehicle phobia.”

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