What is it about dogs and mud and how can you keep your dog mud free?
We’ve all noticed that muddy puddle at the dog park just a few seconds too late, only to find our pooch has dived on in with great joy and our once obedient Fido has suddenly gone stone deaf to our wails of “Noooooo, get out, come here”.
Whilst we often think that it is only the winter months that bring the dreaded muddy holes from too much rain, Spring still has plenty of rainfall to give so here’s some tips to help you deal with a muddy pooch.
Keep long hair at bay
You may not be ready to give your dog its summer hair cut whilst the nights are still cool but it is always a good idea to keep their paws, bottoms and other areas where the hair tends to drag on the ground, well trimmed.
This not only helps make it easier to wipe away or wash off any mud that your pooch may have attracted, but it also helps keep hair from matting which can be made worse when it gets wet and muddy. This may sound obvious, but as winter sets in many dog owners tend to let their dog’s hair grow and may not be in the habit of grooming it as much as it needs. It is at this time more than ever that we need to a dog’s coat well maintained and free from knots.
Reduce mud from the backyard coming inside
If your dog is like Darcy and the other dogs that visit PoochesHQ, there is nothing they love to do more than play a game of chasey around the back yard. Whilst it is great to see them having fun, it does results in a well-worn path in the areas they tend to use to make their quick getaways and twists and turns.
As the grass wears down and the rain starts to fall, these paths can become a muddy track that threatens to make your pristine plush white carpets (if you happen to have them) a thing of the past. And if you don’t, it can at least make for an annoying track of muddy paw prints constantly stamped across your floorboards.
Fencing off the area during wet periods is an obvious place to start, but is not always feasible and the most determined dog may still find its way to the spot, so the easiest tip is to cover the area with some stones or bark which will both help stop the dogs from running on the area and help keep it from become a mud puddle.
When it’s time to grow the grass back though you will need to clear it and keep the area free of the pooches, so another alternative is to spread a thick pile of straw across it during the rainy days as the grass will still be able to grow back up through it.
Another more expensive, but permanent, solution is to build a patio between the yard and your back door and lay down outdoor mats with stiff bristles or rubber teeth that will help get mud off both dog paws and messy shoes. If your dog does tend to chew things though you will need to find something more suitable to lay over it.
It’s always a good idea to have a towel or chamois near the front and back door so you can quickly grab it to wipe off paws and bellies.
In the House
If you’re like me and allow the dogs on furniture and beds, and you don’t do this already, then a great way to keep the place clean is to put lightweight and easily washable blankets on beds and couches.
This not only protects them from getting the furniture dirty, but the covers will also help keep other parts of the house clean as excess dirt and mud gets captured and saves you from having to over-wash your pooch. A thick towel over the top of the dog bed will also catch most of the dirt.
Resist the urge to wash your pooch
It is really important to resist the urge to wash your dog every time it gets muddy. Wiping them down or rinsing off their feet and bellies in luke-warm water is all you should be doing regularly if you need to get rid of mud.
Overuse of shampoos can cause skin problems and irritations and strip your dog’s hair of vital oils if used too much. Regular brushing of their hair will instead help to remove dirt or dry mud and again will help prevent matting.
Check out our guide to grooming specific dog breeds to find out how often your dog requires grooming to help.
To state the obvious, a good vacuum and mop is also a must!
About the Author: Lara Shannon is co-Host of Pooches at Play and has completed a Certificate III in Dog Behaviour & Training with the National Dog Trainers Federation. Lara also runs her own dog walking, dog minding and dog training business in Melbourne’s Bayside area.