By Lynn Edwards
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. It’s all good, unclean fun -- until you have to remove the slick stuff from your dog’s fur. Here’s 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 isn’t bad for a dog’s skin or coat, and I’ve 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 pet’s 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 can’t resist frolicking in the mud, you can hose him down before he comes into your home. But this isn’t 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 “spa session.” Be sure your dog is thoroughly dry before he goes outside again, because a damp dog doesn’t just get chilled more easily; his doggy instincts tell him to roll in the earth to dry off, and you’ll be back where you started!
I have some customers who use grooming wipes or mitts to clean their dogs’ muddy paws. It’s a great way to keep mud under control on a daily basis. Some dogs don’t like their paws handled, while others think you’re 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.
“Mud happens,” so when your pet gets splattered, remind yourself it’s a seasonal problem you can control.