some call it spring, but around our place it’s called muddy dog paws season. if you’re wondering what to do about those muddy dog paws and how to keep the muddy paw prints to a minimum, we’re happy you’re here. by the end of this article, you’ll have 15 easy hacks to help you manage those muddy paws and dog paw tracks.
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make a diy dog paw washing station and have it at the ready by your door. here’s what you’ll need:
- bowl or container you can fill with warm water.
- soft cloth you can wet to wash your dog’s paws.
- clean, absorbent towels for drying the paws.
- large towel to put down on the floor.
- spray bottle with water for those quick spritz paw clean-ups.
how to wash your little mud puppy’s paws when coming inside:
- dip your dog’s paws into the container filled with warm water.
- gently pat excess water from paws.
- pat hair dry with a clean towel. if your dog has long or curly hair that mats easily, work with the direction of the hair to keep from creating tangles. i use this technique when i bathe and groom my sidekick, chloe, a red goldendoodle. if you have a goldendoodle or long-haired dog, you may want to check out my cornstarch for matted dog hair hack.
for times when your dog’s paws or paw pads just need a spritz to get the dirt or dust off, you can use the spray bottle filled with warm water.
2. keep the hair on your dog’s paws trimmed.
if your dog has long hair, keep the hair on your dog’s paws shorter, neatly trimmed. chloe has fluffy grinch feet that track dirt and mud, for sure. the poodle grooming style that shows off the dog’s toes would definitely reduce the amount of mud coming inside.
3. enlist your dog’s help by teaching your dog the “paw” command.
teach your dog to give you a paw using the command, “paw.” while this doesn’t reduce the amount of mud coming in on your dog’s paws, it does make it a lot easier to clean the mud off the paws.
chloe enjoys coming inside and hearing me say, “paw.” she is quick to give me her paw and patiently waits while i wipe it off. of course, she receives praise and a treat when we’ve cleaned the mud off each paw.
4. give your dog an “itty bitty” foot bath.
if you’ve ever dipped your own dirty feet in shallow water to clean dirt or sand off them, then you have the idea behind a “bitty foot bath.” simply fill the bathtub with a little bit of warm water—just enough to cover the bottom of your dog’s paws. then place your dog in the bathtub, gently swish the water around, and wash the mud off with a wet cloth. pat each paw dry with an absorbent towel.
of course, if your dog’s undercarriage 😉 is wet and muddy, you may need to give it a clean up too.
5. add a warm water outdoor faucet.
do you live in a home with an outdoor faucet? you could replace the cold-water outdoor faucet with one that runs both cold and warm water. then you can easily wash your pup’s paws before going inside.
6. purchase a dog paw washer.
purchase a dog paw washer. there are many dog paw washers for dirty dog paws that you can find on amazon or chewy. while i haven’t purchased one of these products for chloe, many goldendoodle parents use them and reference the mudbuster as a good solution.
7. trim your dog’s toenails.
long toenails are another opportunity for dirt to cake around each of the nails. keeping your dog’s toenails trimmed cuts down on the build up of dirt on the toenails.
9. traveling? pack the paw wipes.
if you’re traveling and need an easy solution to keep the muddy puppy paws outside of your cabin, hotel, or air bnb, or even your car, then paw wipes are an easy, disposable solution. you can keep them handy in your dog travel bag or have them in your car.
8. warm outside? turn a baby pool into a diy paw cleaning station.
use a baby pool as a diy outdoor paw cleaning station. if it’s a warm and muddy day, fill a baby pool with a half inch of water and let your dog stand in the baby pool to rinse the paws. have an absorbent towel or giant beach blanket handy for when they hop out.
10. consider other alternatives for your yard such as astro turf.
this muddy dog paw hack is for the dog parent who is ready to make a serious switch in the battle of the mud. rather than cleaning those muddy paws that may track on the carpet or floors, what if you eliminate the mud altogether by replacing grass with astro turf? if you’re looking for a long-term solution, this may be worth investigating.
11. apartment living? transport your small dog in a dog travel carrier.
do you live in an apartment and need to keep muddy puppy paws outside? if you have a small dog, you can put your pupper in a dog travel carrier bag or even a dog stroller to get from the outside, up the elevator, and into your apartment.
12. use this time as an opportunity to practice basic commands.
if your dog knows sit and stay commands, ask for a sit or stay as soon as your dog comes in from the outdoors. this will contain the muddy paws to one area or your home. of course, give your pupper a favorite treat and plenty of praise for sitting and staying.
also, if this is a skill your dog is learning, high-value treats will help encourage the new behavior. keep a special treat by the door so it’s at the ready. for inspiration, please read my article, how to teach a puppy to sit, stay, & come with love in your own home.
13. dog boots? tracking down the pros and cons
if your dog’s paws need protected from salt on sidewalks, cold temperatures, or other harmful things, dog booties offer protection and may be your solution.
the con to dog boots is that some dogs don’t like them. why? not only do they feel funny to the dog, but dog boots and dog booties make it hard for your dog to “feel” the world with their feet…specifically, with their paw pads. inhibiting this natural dog ability, takes some of the fun (playing, running, feeling the ground on their toes) of the outdoors away from your dog. it’s definitely a balance between the pros and cons on this one.
14. set up your home with your dog in mind.
dogs are family. it’s our truth. i’m a fan of simply setting up our home with our dear goldendoodle in mind. here are some hacks that i use so that we can all live in harmony together:
- keep towels by all the doors.
- put washable throws on the chairs and couches.
- choose a couch that has zippered coverings that you can simply unzip and toss in your wash.
15. see the “pawsitive.” embrace the dog paw mess.
make the best of a muddy situation by embracing the dog paw mess. see the “pawsitive” by looking at those muddy paws as paw prints of love and happiness tracked around the floor.
you may even want to take a picture of your muddy puppy along with the pawprints on the floor and smile and laugh that you’re lucky enough to have a happy, healthy, energetic dog who loves to play and romp outside. embrace the muddy puppy love! #muddypawlove
why is it important to keep your dog’s paws clean?
before we wrap up, i’m guessing that because you’ve read this far through the article, the best interest of your dog is always at the heart of what you do. besides keeping your floors free from muddy paw prints, which is really just a hassle for us humans and part of having a sweet dog as family, you may be wondering how your dog benefits from clean, dirt-free paws. obviously, it’s healthy for your dog. but why?
happy-go-doodle chloe and i tracked down some answers. here are two important ways your dog may benefit from muddy paw care:
- here is a quote from integrative veterinarian, dr. karen becker that shows the value of clean paws: “fifty percent of foot licking and chewing can be alleviated by rinsing off allergens and other irritants collected on your dog’s paws.” – dr karen becker
- while you’re getting that dirt and debris off the paws, you can also inspect them. if you notice anything unusual, you can check with your vet.
your dog can play…and you’ve kept the mud at bay
yes, as the winter months end and we transition to warmer spring weather, mud happens. but with a little preparation and these 15 solutions (here at happy-go-doodle®, i like to call them “happiness hacks”), you can keep the mud away and your dog can play, play, play. muddy paws are happy paws.
and, after all, muddy prints are really just a little reminder of happy times!