Most Dachshunds, often called wiener dogs, have been afflicted by wet belly syndrome at one time or another.
Some Dachshunds outgrow it, or learn to live a full life despite of it, but some never recover.
Wet belly syndrome can be a debilitating condition that can interfere with the enjoyment of their life and affect their long-term fitness.
Disclaimer: the following is satire – a tongue and cheek description of “stubborn” dogs that don’t like to walk in the rain. Although Wet Belly Syndrome is a funny name for the behavior, it is not a serious medical condition.
What Causes Wet Belly Syndrome?
There is no definitive cause of Wet Belly Syndrome.
It is suspected that the it has something to do with having short legs and riding low to the ground.
Also, when a dog becomes wet down to their skin, they can get a chill.
Further studies are needed to determine the exact cause.
Signs and Symptoms of Wet Belly Syndrome
We Belly Syndrome typically flares up when it’s raining outside and the ground is wet. It may be further exacerbated if the air temperature is below 60F degrees.
It is also influenced heavily by weather, often occurring more frequently in dogs that live in cooler, wetter climates.
Symptoms of wet belly syndrome can be confused with more serious conditions such as fatigue, joint or muscle injury or arthritis.
You should always ask your vet if you are concerned that your dog has any of these other conditions. (ok, this part I’m serious about)
Dachshunds with Wet Belly Syndrome will show definite signs and symptoms. You won’t have to guess how they are feeling.
However, if your wiener dog exhibits several, or all, of these 10 signs, it is likely that your dog has Wet Belly Syndrome.
- Extreme resistance to crossing the threshold of any doorway that leads outside
- Droopy ears and sad eyes that seem to be pleading “please don’t make me”
- Not going potty outside and, instead, sneaking out of your sight to do it immediately after being let in the house
- Walking at half speed….at best
- Spontaneous stopping on a walk accompanied by vigorous lateral shaking
- Refusal to walk one more step
- Pulling backwards on the leash, commonly referred to as “putting on the breaks.”
- Avoidance of shiny surfaces (they think it is water and they may get their belly wet)
- Water dripping from the belly area
- Renewed energy for walks when it is dry and sunny
Do All Dachshunds Have Wet Belly Syndrome?
Luckily, the answer is no.
My first Dachshund had it.
Not all Dachshunds have Wet Belly Syndrome.
His ears would perk up when I said “walk” but his Wet Belly Syndrome would flare up as soon as he smelled rain. He would immediately ran back inside the house.
I’ve seen it in other Dachshunds too.
Once, I saw a man and his wiener dog ahead of us on the side of the trail. I could tell right away that his dog had Wet Belly Syndrome.
The man was looking down at his dog and it appeared he was having a serious discussion with him. The dog was standing there with his head down.
The man started to walk across the trail but his dog leaned into the leash and the man practically had to drag him.
The man stopped again and as we approached we could see the water dripping off of the dog’s belly.
However, I have seen many Dachshunds that don’t have it.
I run a Dachshund club and we often go for group walks in the rain.
I would say that less than 25% of Dachshunds have severe Wet Belly Syndrome.
Probably another 25% have the condition but it doesn’t severely limit their activity.
Somewhere close to 50% of Dachshunds may be affected Wet Belly Syndrome (that’s my best guess anyway based on experience).
My second Dachshund showed initial signs and symptoms of Wet Belly Syndrome but she grew out of it and now regularly walks in the rain, although she clearly doesn’t enjoy it as much as when it’s dry and sunny.
My third Dachshund thought raindrops were fun from the start. When it rained on her for the first time, she spent 15 minutes trying to catch raindrops in the yard.
Although she doesn’t like to swim, wading through the water doesn’t bother her.
Is There a Cure for Wet Belly Syndrome?
To date, no definitive cure has been found.
Symptoms often have to be mitigated.
Things that can minimize the effects of Wet Belly Syndrome include:
- Putting a jacket on your Dachshund to help keep the rain off
- Teaching your to swim when the weather is good to decrease symptoms when it’s wet out
- Take your Dachshund out in the rain and coax them to walk using treats or peanut butter on a long spoon
- Go walking with a friend and their dog. Many Dachshunds like to be in front, or at least keep up, so they are more likely to walk with another dog leading the way.
Some other related tips that may be of some help are how to trick your Dachshund to walk in a jacket or harness and other reasons your Dachshund may refuse to walk on a leash.
Has your dog been afflicted by Wet Belly Syndrome? How have you managed the symptoms?