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What Should I Do if My Dog Won’t Pee in the Rain? 6 Vet-Approved Tips

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By Nicole Cosgrove

dog scared of the rain

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca

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The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Sure, our canine companions are rough and tough until a few raindrops fall—then it’s suddenly a different story. Some dogs are petrified of rain or storms while others simply hate being wet. If your dog is a scaredy-cat in the rain, it can be not very easy to persuade them to go outside to do their business.

Skipping potty breaks is a recipe for accidents in the house. It’s probably really frustrating for you both, so we have some potential solutions that might be able to help. Let’s cut right to the chase.

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The Complicated Relationship of Dogs and Water

Your dog might bolt like lightning to a muddy puddle or jump without issue into the family pool. But when it comes to rain or baths, suddenly they are terrified.

It’s really no wonder though. Think about it—would you want to pop a squat in the pouring rain? Probably not. Some dogs hate the feeling of water on their paws and fur. Others are absolutely mortified when there is a storm.

Similarly, dogs who hate the sounds of a running bath might have the same noise phobia as those who dislike thunder and heavy rain sounds.

dog afraid of thunderstorm
Image Credit: Irina Kozorog, Shutterstock

Anxiety Issues with Storms & 2 Possible Solutions

If your dog has an actual anxiety problem when it comes to loud weather, it might be a whole different story than just not liking water. After all, not liking to get paws wet is one thing, but being terrified of the rain is another story.

Symptoms of anxiety during storms are usually quite obvious, and they include:
  • Cowering
  • Crying
  • Hiding
  • Licking their paws
  • Whimpering
  • Fast heart rate

Anxiety might even cause an increased risk of urinating in the house during rainstorms, triggering fearful urination.

Here are some tips from the AKC on how to help dogs with extreme anxiety during storms.

1. Create a Small Sanctuary

Dogs love having their own safe spot. A cozy crate or a special corner is all they need to feel secure and comfortable. You can shut the blinds in your windows, or if in a crate, you can cover the sides and the top with a blanket so that your dog won’t see the lightning. Playing some soft classical music can be helpful to provide background noise during the storm. 

2. Train Your Dog to Toilet Indoors

If your dog suffers from storm anxiety, they won’t be keen to go outside for toileting. You can use litter boxes or potty pads to train your dog to toilet indoor when the weather outside is too scary for them. With patience, positive reinforcement, and lots of love, you can make your dog’s life much easier. As a last resort, and only if they accept them, you could try allowing your dog to wear doggy diapers during storms or rainfall. 

The key is to make your dog feel as safe as possible when they are feeling this vulnerable. Learn their responses so you can make necessary changes.

dog with diaper
Image Credit: Zmaj88, Shutterstock

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The 4 Tips for Dogs Who Just Hate Being Wet

If your dog has much less of an anxiety issue but much more of an issue with getting wet, we have some solutions for them, too. After all, it’s pretty understandable that your dog doesn’t want to be cold and wet just to go to the bathroom.

So, here’s how you can help. Use one or combine a few of these ideas for an easier outdoor potty experience during downpours.

1. Get a Doggy Raincoat & Other Gear

Luckily, pet companies have your back. There are tons of gear products to buy specifically for the rain to make your dog’s life a lot easier.

You can buy rain gear for pets online on sites like Chewy or in local pet shops—or you could get creative and make your very own DIY doggy raincoat. Sites like Pinterest have many options for a quick and valuable craft to complete.

You could even complete the outfit with a pair of doggy boots if your pal hates soggy paws.

Jack Russell Terrier puppy in a yellow raincoat stands on the autumn foliage in the park
Image Credit: woodHunt, Shutterstock


2. Buy an Unusually Large Umbrella

If your pup is mostly covered during these events, they might not care so much. It’s easy to get over your fear of the rain if you don’t really have to mess with it.

Several companies make oversized umbrellas that protect both you and your pooch from the elements. Your buddy might feel best with you right by their side while they face the icky wet outdoors.

3. Acclimate Your Dog to Wetness

Your pup might never love being wet, but they might get used to it after a while. Reluctantly, they will still do their business even when the skies are gray. Take them out to play in the rain. Go for a quick walk—anything to get them outside long enough to experience the weather.

dog and owner in raincoats walking outdoors
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

4. Build a Small Coverage Area

You might be able to build a small coverage area over a section of grass or dirt. You can put a clear tarp up above a porch section or put a little tent in the yard. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. It just has to be somewhere they feel safe away from the elements.

There are many DIYers with fabulous ideas on enclosures or cover areas, they have built or designed themselves. You can gather several ideas or pick a step-by-step tutorial—the choice is yours.

They might be way more willing to go outside if they don’t have to dry off every time they come back in.

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So, now you can see how things are pretty different depending on your dog’s actual reaction to the rain. Some just hate the feeling of being wet, while others are genuinely frightened of the flashing light and roaring thunder.

No matter your situation, there are steps you can take to ease your pup into comfort in potty time in the rain. Your dog might never enjoy it, but they will at least be able to relieve themselves.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Valerie Nik, Shutterstock

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