Home E Wellness E How To Wipe Your Dog’s Messy Paws After Playing In Mud

How To Wipe Your Dog’s Messy Paws After Playing In Mud

By Kayla Fratt

legacy-maria-gamez-pdlql3wpcys-unsplash

Mud season is here! Despite weekly vacuuming and wiping, my car is always covered in muddy paw prints. How can we enjoy the great outdoors — or even a basic walk — without tracking mud all over our homes?

Some dogs naturally tolerate being toweled off really easily. My adult dog Barley seems to actually enjoy the massage from a towel, but my puppy Niffler is much wigglier and doesn’t seem to like having his paws toweled off.

Here are a few options for cleaning your dog’s paws after a muddy walk:

1. Walk them across a clean surface for a while before going indoors.

Need a quick and clean solution for dirty paws? Try walking or trotting your dog through dewy grass, across dry concrete or through thick brush. If you carefully select the substrate, you can simply use the environment to clean your dog without you actually doing anything. This isn’t always a perfect solution, but using the environment to scrub your dog can help a lot!

>
Need a quick and clean solution for dirty paws? Try walking or trotting your dog through dewy grass, across dry concrete or through thick brush.

2. Use a licking treat to distract your dog while toweling.

Licki mats, spoons with peanut butter or even just a smear of cream cheese on a wall can help keep your dog in one place and happy while you clean their paws. Gently run your towel from the shoulder to the paw, then lift the paw and wipe. If your dog is uncomfortable with their paws being handled, go slow and work from the shoulder on down. You’ll also want to work on paw handling using the tactics outlined below. Be sure to keep a “dog towel” ready in your car and near your entryway so you’re ready when the time comes!

>
Licki mats, spoons with peanut butter or even just a smear of cream cheese on a wall can help keep your dog in one place and happy while you clean their paws. Gently run your towel from the shoulder to the paw, then lift the paw and wipe.

legacy-kelsey-mirehouse-amr3mg_bise-unsplash

3. Practice cleaning your dog’s paws out-of-context in a stepwise manner.

The main problem with wiping your dog’s paws is that most dogs just aren’t comfortable with their paws being handled, let alone being wiped down. In an ideal situation, you’ll practice getting your dog comfortable with their paws being handled before they’re a muddy mess.

  1. Prepare some treats and a towel. You’ll want both handy!

  2. Run your hand along your dog’s shoulder toward their elbow (or hip to knee). Reward them for staying still while you do that. Repeat until they seem comfortable this, but take a break after 2-3 repetitions per foot

  3. Next, run your hand down from shoulder to wrist (or hip to ankle). Again, reward for staying still and repeat as above.

  4. Repeat steps b and c but with a towel in your hand.

  5. Repeat steps d, but with rubbing motions.

  6. Practice picking your dog’s paws up. Repeat as described in b.

  7. Pick up your dog’s paws and rub them gently with the towel. Repeat as described in b.

  8. If at any point your dog seems really uncomfortable or tries to pull away, give them a break and try again later at an easier step of the process.

4. In really sticky situations, use a hose.

I try to avoid hosing down my dogs, since wet dog is almost as bad as muddy dog in some cases. Plus, unless my dogs are really muddy, there’s a chance that wetting them down will actually make them collect more dirt and worsen the problem. I simply tether my dog, and gently spray their underbelly with one hand while rubbing at the mud with the other. Be sure to have a towel ready to dry off before they dash into the house!

Prevention is key to solving any problem. Try to avoid letting your dog off-leash in areas where it’s likely to be muddy, or strategically walk your dog somewhere that they can wash in a river before hopping in the car. It can also be wise to have a car seat protector or a dedicated area where your dog can dry, since even the best towel job rarely is enough to make your dog perfectly clean!

legacy-laula-co-dppgxxyjkfg-unsplash-1


Kayla Fratt is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant and the owner of Journey Dog Training. She’s passionate about helping owners prevent and treat behavior problems in their pets. She also works as a conservation detection dog trainer with her border collies in Missoula, Montana. She’s an avid runner, cross-country skier and a budding agility competitor.

legacy-300x250-watch-tv
Shop Dog Whisperer Products