Mud and Dogs: Can You Manage the Mess?

Mud and Dogs: Can You Manage the Mess?

By Lynn Edwards for Exceptional Canine

Mud and Dogs: Can You Manage the Mess?

You welcome spring weather, but the drenching rains create mud puddles in your yard and neighborhood. And although you might see the muck as merely unsightly, your dog likely sees the sloppy terrain as an invitation to indulge in a little mud-rolling. Itís all good, unclean fun -- until you have to remove the slick stuff from your dogís fur. Hereís how to get the upper hand on muddy paws.

Snip, Snip Here; Snip, Snip There
As a groomer, I love mud because it makes dirty dogs! It isnít bad for a dogís skin or coat, and Iíve never seen it permanently stain fur. However, it is a nuisance, especially in many areas of the South, where springtime traditionally means major mud time.

Your groomer can help by carefully clipping or scissoring the hair between your petís toes and on the bottoms of his pads. You might also ask for all four of his feet and his legs to be shaved close to the skin. A lot depends on where you live and what kind of dog you have. Low-to-the-ground pooches in rain-soaked areas might need their feet, legs and bellies clipped. Your goal is to reduce the amount of hair to which mud can cling.

Wash and Dry
If your dog canít resist frolicking in the mud, you can hose him down before he comes into your home. But this isnít my first choice if the outside air or water temperature is very cold. Self-service dog washers and groomers are equipped to bathe your best friend in warm water and dry your dog with fluffy towels and blow-dryers. A really muddy dog might need more than one bath, so you might as well make him as comfortable as possible during this ďspa session.Ē Be sure your dog is thoroughly dry before he goes outside again, because a damp dog doesnít just get chilled more easily; his doggy instincts tell him to roll in the earth to dry off, and youíll be back where you started!

Playing Footsies
I have some customers who use grooming wipes or mitts to clean their dogsí muddy paws. Itís a great way to keep mud under control on a daily basis. Some dogs donít like their paws handled, while others think youíre playing and will try to bite at the wipes. So when your dog is young, aim to teach him to let you manipulate his paws, without fussing. In fact, prepping your dog for vet and groomer visits is a good lesson.

ďMud happens,Ē so when your pet gets splattered, remind yourself itís a seasonal problem you can control.

Exceptional Canine contributor Lynn Edwards has been grooming dogs for 14 years. Her Dirty Dogs Pet Services, in Highland, N.Y., offers both professional and self-service grooming options. Dirty Dogs was named Best Mobile Grooming in 2009 by readers of Hudson Valley Magazine and was featured in Animal Wellness magazine in 2011.