6 Signs Your Wiener Dog Might Have Wet Belly Syndrome

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.

Wet long haired Dachshund
Photo Credit: Depositphotos/Hannamariah

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.

  1. Extreme resistance to crossing the threshold of any doorway that leads outside
  2. Droopy ears and sad eyes that seem to be pleading “please don’t make me”
  3. Not going potty outside and, instead, sneaking out of your sight to do it immediately after being let in the house
  4. Walking at half speed….at best
  5. Spontaneous stopping on a walk accompanied by vigorous lateral shaking
  6. Refusal to walk one more step
  7. Pulling backwards on the leash, commonly referred to as “putting on the breaks.”
  8. Avoidance of shiny surfaces (they think it is water and they may get their belly wet)
  9. Water dripping from the belly area
  10. 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?

Does y our Dachshund have wet belly syndrome?

About the Author

Hi, I’m Jessica. I’ve been studying the Dachshund breed since 2007, owned 3 of my own, and shared in the lives of thousands of others through their owner’s stories. When I’m not sharing what I know on this blog, you can find me hiking, camping, and traveling with my adventurous wiener dogs.


    1. Our girl definitely has wet belly syndrome, even when wearing a coat or a fleece and no amount of treats can persuade her differently. She also chooses which way she wants to walk when we go out and is not particularly keen on the dark either (so we still have our Christmas lights up at the back so she can see better, we have no street lights).

  1. The only solution I found was a Wet Weather Carry. When the Wet Belly Syndrome strikes, you must pick up the doxie and carry him for his walk. We often performed WWCs during the winter.

    1. Ha! I had to carry Chester 3 times in the rain yesterday. He gets heavy and soaks me with water 🙂 It is amazing how much water you can wring out of an almost-hairless Doxie belly!

      1. Rex has this condition, I place a fold up dry hand towel underneath his belly strapped by his outdoor outfit, this helps absorb the wetness and he can continue walking. Afterward I take everything off (outfit and wet hand towel) get him dried allowed him to rest and go washed & dry everything. It doesn’t cure the condition, but it helps keep him going and excercising.

  2. Ha! YES!!!! Living in NEPA, we’re experienced survivors of WBS. You omitted my favorite symptom, the “white eye stare.” Much like it’s human counterpart, the eye roll, the “white eye stare” is a tilted-head raised eye look revealing the sclera (white part of the eye) that communicates “I DON’T THINK SO” in no uncertain terms. For those not familiar with the “white eye stare”, it is also seen on chilly Monday mornings when you try to wake your dachshund or anytime to try to claim your stake on any part of a couch, bed, or blanket.

    1. Oh, yes! How could I have missed mentioning that one? My Greandfather does the “white eye stare” too when we thinks I am doing something crazy. Ha, ha.

  3. Uhmmm you did this so seriously that it’s very had to tell you are joking, right? That’s because I have the syndrome, I hate wet grass, sprinklers getting the sidewalk wet ahead of me, or so much as a drop of wet on my head. Diagnosis? Love Dolly PeeS: And my legs are longer than yours!

    1. Yes, That is what we call “dry” humor…no pun intended. Ha, ha. Just razzing ya. Short dogs with paddle-like feet immediately fling rain and dirt onto their bellies 🙂

      1. YES! My husband commented earlier today that our spunky girl, Holly, needed four mud flaps to stop her rooster tails when she runs!!

  4. He needs a water-repellant raincoat or sweater! You can try spraying a sweater that covers his belly with that new Rustoleum Never Wet stuff. It’s should cause the water to bead right off. Or you could fashion him a “belly sock” also coated with Never Wet to see if that helps.

    1. I haven’t been able to find a jacket that sufficiently covers his belly (his standards) OR that he will actually walk in. The belly sock would be more flexible though so that might work 🙂

    2. What is a “belly sock” –can I make/knit my 2 year old Doxie one– OR can I purchase him one? I have a little different reason for wanting this “sock” as my little guy is still a chewer and when I put him to bed he chews his little mattress and pulls all stuffing out. I ended up letting him sleep on the crate bottom so now he has developed “water belly” I feel so bad so am trying to rectify his condition. His Vet says there is nothing that can be done. I have taken him to bed with us but we get NO SLEEP AT ALL. He is still a handful but I can not imagine our house with out him.

  5. Ugh we deal with this all the time with Leo. Hubby usually has to bring him back home so that he can walk Scrappy and Molly. I do have a picture somewhere of him in snow. the one and only time of him in snow.

    We still haven’t figured out what to do fo him, but I like osme of the suggestions that were made 🙂

  6. I have this problem myself and it is not funny, Mom has literally pushed my but up over my ears when it is especially wet! To top it off, she does it when it is white out too, that makes it cold!

  7. Aaah, I thought this was just Buster’s personal issue – had no idea it was breed specific! 😉 Well, since I have a Lab who also wants to walk, he sets the pace. I just drag Buster along with lots of perky encouraging words, a brisk pace, and the occasional treat. If the weather is real bad, I take pity on him and let him stay home. We walk morning and evening, and now that he is 10 yrs old, we excuse him from the morning walk most of the winter, but I feel like he still needs to get out and stretch his legs at least once a day.

  8. Our doxie Snoop loves the snow, but forget about rain. I am starting to fashion a proper belly wrap with old thick stockings (pantyhose). They fit surprisingly well and cost nothing, I will try and spray them with the water repellant and see if that improves things. However, it’s October and we still have sunny weather over here in Toronto! I can’t complain!

  9. BARON, age 9, swims in Lake Michigan and loves it even in November — but let it rain?! “You want me to go out in that?! You gotta be kiddin!”

  10. One of my mini dachshunds has this same affliction. I tend to carry him about 1/4 of the way, so he knows there is no going back. He is still sluggish, but not nearly as bad.

    1. Ha, ha. That’s one trick. I used to walk a Dachshund that hated physical exercise. The trick there was to carry him away from the house for a while and then put him down to walk back. He was totally into getting back to his couch! Ha, ha. That was just a few blocks though.

  11. I just found this post and that explains a lot ahahah. My Astro hates wet surfaces. As he’s been house broken since he was 4-5 months old it’s been a mission to go out on rain. What works…rain jacket to cover his belly. But still he walks like a snail in the rain…with an upset face. There are times when he doesn’t want to poop in the rain..he just holds it so I take him out and hold the umbrella… ahah

    1. Sounds like a typical Dachshund. Ha, ha. I’m sometimes not sure which they think is worse – getting wet or being made to wear a rain jacket.

  12. Just found this article, & it gave me a good laugh. This was so my Katrina.
    She HATED to go “pee pees” or “poo poos” in the rain! Yep, I also held an umbrella for her!
    This from the dog who loved to take baths & swim in the pool; go figure….

  13. my first 2 doxies were fine. I had one for a short time who loved the snow and wasn’t bothered by the rain. My current doxie, Chip, has “severe” wet belly syndrome. I’m just glad I have a name for his condition finally. I’ve gone outside with him (rain or snow) at least to get him outside. He might get a drop on him and have to shake it off. Very informative information. Thank you!!

    1. Vicki, I’m glad that you get Chip out despite his protests. Hopefully, with repetition, he will learn to tolerate wet weather better.

  14. I have a 3-year-old daughter I just got her about 3 months ago ever since I started walking her 2 months ago her belly is starting to look like it’s dirty and I have gave her bath and it does not work anybody had any ideals

    1. Hi Shelia. I forget the actual name for the condition but I assume you are talking about the little black spots? It’s not uncommon for Dachshunds to get that. Sometimes it can be the base of hairs that have broken off or blackhead-type things. It’s usually not harmful as I understand, although it may be unsightly. The cause can sometimes be allergies but it is something that you will probably have to figure out with your veterinarian.

  15. Try sunglasses, so he doesn’t have to look at the rain. Ear buds so he can listen to his favorite Sousa marches instead of the sound of raindrops. Lastly, build him his very own outdoor, covered playscape so he can pretend he’s inside. Worked like a charm for Finnigan.

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