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We all love to curl up on the couch with a good book on a rainy day, and it’s even better when your dog is snuggled up beside you. In fact, many dogs seem to enjoy lazing around during rainy weather just as much as we do.
This extra sleepy behavior from our dogs leaves many dog owners scratching their heads.
So why do dogs sleep more when it rains anyway?
The cozy environment and sound of the rain make for the perfect napping conditions, even for dogs. Additionally, there has been some research suggesting that the increased air pressure caused by rain could make dogs extra drowsy. Many people also believe that dogs are simply following their animalistic instincts to decrease activity in bad weather.
Here we will be examining all of the possible reasons for dogs sleeping more when it rains and take a deeper look at why dogs sleep more when it rains.
Do Dogs Really Sleep More When it Rains?
So, does rain make dogs sleepy? Unless your dog has severe anxiety surrounding thunderstorms, dogs certainly do seem to be more relaxed during rainy weather. Even though it has been reported that dogs tend to sleep much more than humans do no matter rain or shine, dogs do tend to sleep slightly more when it is raining.
Now, let’s get into the reasons why this is the case!
Reason 1: The Sound of the Rain is Relaxing
The sound of rain is very relaxing to humans and dogs alike. Specifically, the sound of rain affects the body by decreasing blood pressure and slowing breathing rates. This naturally relaxes the body, which tends to also make you sleepy.
Although most studies of the effects of rain on the body have been conducted on humans, dogs likely react to rain in a very similar fashion. This allows us to conclude that the sound of rain should have the same effect on most dogs as it does on most people.
Considering that many dogs love a good nap anyway, the relaxing nature of rain sounds just makes their environment even more perfect for a snooze. Plus, the house is often nice, warm, and cozy when it is raining as well.
Reason 2: There is Higher Air Pressure When it Rains
There is technically higher air pressure when it rains, especially when there is a longer-lasting storm and not just a brief rain shower. This occurs because there is less oxygen and more negative ions in the air thanks to the sudden changes in humidity.
Studies have found that less oxygen in the air makes people feel drowsy, and an increase in negative ion levels makes people feel calm and relaxed. Both of these things combined will naturally make you want to settle down for a nice nap.
Considering that humans and dogs are both mammals that are affected by oxygen and negative ion levels in the same way, we can assume that these things make dogs sleepy as well. That is, low oxygen levels make dogs feel drowsy, and higher negative ion levels make dogs feel extra relaxed and cozy. So, it is only natural for dogs to feel extra lazy on a rainy day.
Reason 3: You are Relaxing and Your Dog Wants to Relax With You
We all love to curl up on the couch and watch a good movie or TV show when it rains. Well, many dogs love to snuggle with us, or at least be close to us, when we are relaxing as well. This is especially true when it is raining because dogs are naturally feeling extra relaxed and drowsy themselves. So it’s not uncommon for them to nozzle up and cuddle up with you- even if they choose some more interesting positions to do it.
This behavioral mimicry is not new to dog owners. Dogs tend to be very good at analyzing their owners’ moods, and sometimes they return the favor in their own behavior. This means that dogs will often act excited when their owners are very excited or happy, and calm when their owners are relaxing.
This is definitely a valid excuse for your dog to lay on the couch with you. After all, most dogs love cuddling up with their owners anyway. So, if you and your dog are enjoying some cuddle time on the couch on a rainy day, then your dog most likely just wants to hang out with you. However, they are likely also pretty sleepy, so finding them snoozing away is not uncommon.
Reason 4: Your Dog Knows He Isn’t Going to be Playing Outside When it Rains
Dogs are very good at gathering information regarding their daily routine. This means that most dogs come to the conclusion that their routine will be changed on rainy days. This is especially true if you experience rain on a regular basis.
Most people do not enjoy going for long walks or playing with their dogs outside on rainy days. This means that many dogs learn to understand that rainy days are a time to relax inside. Plus, it helps that dogs naturally feel more drowsy on rainy days as well.
Although it is true that dogs can often tell when there are changes made to their routine, it is more likely that dogs feel more drowsy because of the rain naturally. The soothing sounds of the rain, cozy atmosphere, lower oxygen levels, and higher negative ion levels make dogs calm and drowsy.
Reason 5: Your Dog is Following Their Instincts
All animals instinctually find shelter during the rain, and this includes both wild animals and our domesticated pets. Animals do this to protect themselves from the elements. After all the rain and wind can do damage to an animal’s health if they are living outside. Things like lightning and falling trees are also a hazard for animals outside in a particularly violent storm.
Although it is true that dogs have an instinct to find shelter in the rain, most dogs live inside homes today. This means that dogs are usually already under shelter when the rain starts. As a result, most dogs do not need to find shelter when it rains, and they do not need to stay in one spot under a porch or bush until the rain stops.
In the rare case that your dog is out in the backyard when it is raining, your dog will likely be hanging out under a tree or an overhang. Many dogs will also retreat to their dog house during a storm where their instincts will still play a big factor in where they choose to sleep.
But My Dog Likes to Lay in the Rain. Is This Normal?
Occasionally dogs will enjoy laying outside in the rain as well even thought it’s much more common for them to a find a comfortable room in the home to lay down in.
But when it comes to laying down outside, usually, dogs will do this because the cool rain feels good on their fur, especially during hot weather. Most of the time a dog laying outside in the rain is nothing that dog owners need to worry too much about.
Still, you may want to be careful about letting your dog do this in cool or cold weather, especially if your dog does not have thick fur. This is because spending too much time in the rain during cold weather could make a dog too cold when they do not have a thick or waterproofed coat.
Does Rainy Weather Affect a Dog’s Mood?
Some people experience a gloomy mood when it is rainy or cloudy outside. While lack of sunlight definitely does affect humans, there is not much evidence that dogs feel glum on a rainy day.
This melancholic demeanor in dogs is most likely misinterpreted by their owners. The sound of rain mixed with the changes in air composition is likely to make a dog feel both tired and lazy. However, it is unlikely that a rainy day will make a dog feel depressed.
What Can You do With Your Dog on a Rainy Day?
Even though dogs tend to be fairly sleepy and lazy on rainy days, it is pretty easy to get them moving again. All you need to do is to pull out some of your dog’s favorite toys and start interacting with them. Playing games indoors can be a fun way for both dogs and their owners to spend time together on a rainy afternoon.
Similarly, letting your dog play with puzzle toys can help keep them mentally stimulated during bad weather. If you don’t have any puzzle toys on hand, don’t worry! You can also mentally stimulate your dog by placing some kibble or treats in boxes and folded up towels.
Another great option is to teach your dog some new tricks on a rainy day. This will be fun and mentally stimulating for the both of you. Plus, it will give your dog a new skill that they can have with them for the rest of their lives!
Should You Let Your Dog Play in the Rain?
Many dog owners prefer to keep their dogs inside as much as possible on rainy days because dogs tend to get wet and muddy in rainy weather. However, letting your dog play outside in the rain is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, many dogs enjoy going for walks and playing outside when it is raining.
Not only can play in the rain be fun for dogs, but dogs tend to have a heightened sense of smell during rainy weather as well. This is because scents tend to intensify in humid environments. It’s also not uncommon to see your dog anticipating the rain by sniffing the air and tilting their head up to get a better scent.
Stronger scents outside will interest many dogs, so it can be a good idea to let your dog play outside in the rain. Taking them for a walk can help your dog scratch their smelling itch as well. Just make sure to remember to dry them off afterward!
Should You Worry About Your Dog Being Extra Sleepy on Rainy Days?
Most of the time a dog being sleepy on a rainy day is nothing for dog owners to worry about. This is because it is pretty normal for dogs to be extra tired on a rainy day.
The only time where dog owners really need to worry about their dog’s tiredness is if they are suddenly uncharacteristically tired all of the time. This is because sudden lethargy could indicate that something is wrong with your pet.
So that’s everything that you need to know about why dogs sleep more when it rains!
Usually, dogs will just be extra sleepy when it rains because of the soothing sound and extra cozy nature of their homes when it rains. Of course, the higher air pressure and the fact that we usually slow down in rainy weather ourselves helps to make dogs extra lazy as well.