How to Keep Your Dog From Having Muddy Pawsby Eric Mohrman
Unless you find some joy in getting down on your knees and scrubbing, there's probably not much worse than watching your dog track muddy paw prints across your floors, especially if you have carpeting. Where muddy paws are concerned, a little prevention definitely beats cleaning up the mess. Certain steps help keep your dog from getting muddy paws while she plays outside, but you can't always prevent it. When mud and paws mix, you can keep her from tracking it around when she comes back in the house.
Trim the hair on and around your dog's paws regularly. The shorter her hair, the less mud will clump on her feet. You may have to groom one paw at a time if you have a puppy who's not yet accustomed to having her paws handled.
Provide a grassy area for your dog to play on outside. Sod the yard if it's mostly dirt. Dirt readily turns muddy, but grass helps keep her paws lifted above most of the mud.
Fence in your garden to keep your dog out of the area. This keeps her out of the dirt and the mud when it rains or after you water your plants.
Give your dog toys to play with while she's outside. This helps prevent digging in the dirt and mud out of boredom.
Take your dog for walks daily. This helps keep her from digging to relieve pent-up energy. This is especially important if you have a relatively small yard for your dog in which she can't run off excess energy.
Create a shady space outside for your dog during hot weather. Give her plenty of cold water, too. Sometimes, dogs dig to access moist, cooler soil when they're hot. This, of course, leads to muddy paws.
Call in an expert to remove moles, rabbits, snakes or other small animals living in your yard. Your dog may be digging in pursuit of them, getting muddy paws in the process.
Use a specialty mat designed for cleaning muddy paws and leave it right outside the door to the house. Different styles are available, but most have a textured surface for removing mud and debris and are made with an absorbent material that wicks the moisture from your dog's paws. Train your dog to clean her paws before going inside by walking her over it on a leash and positively reinforcing the behavior. She only needs to walk over it a few times to get clean, but she might try to avoid the mat until you teach her otherwise. Also, make sure your dog learns to only enter through the door with the mat.
Put doggie shoes on your pet if she's going out in the mud or until you successfully solve the problems causing her to end up with muddy paws.
Keep a bucket of warm water and a towel at the door when you'll need to clean your dog's paws. Dip each muddy paw in one at a time and gently remove dirt and debris. Dry the paw with the towel. Have these items accessible so you don't have to worry about your dog running inside with muddy paws as you gather them.
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