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Does Your Dog Prefer to Be Dirty or Clean?

Thanks to a rainy summer, I've learned repeatedly that my dogs are happiest when covered in mud.

 |  Aug 15th 2013  |   10 Contributions


Here in Georgia, it’s been raining a lot more than usual this summer. During a straight four-week period, it’s rained every day. I’m not talking about little sprinkles or a nice soothing rain that gently taps on the top of the house and runs down the windowpane. No, I’m talking about severe thunderstorms and torrential downpours. It has gotten so severe that large amounts of water washed away all the pine bark, dirt, and clay along each side of our backyard.

I eventually had to install underground tubing to force the rain from the gutters and yard to one of the multiple drainage grates that meanders down to the back of the property. At first this didn’t even hold all the excess water. So we put more drainage grates in the tubing and a thick layer of rock was laid on top. Thousands of dollars later I have water streams on each side of my house that I never planned on before the start of summer.

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Walking in the woods and collecting environmental allergens can cause seizures, too.

Our dogs don’t enjoy having to go potty in the rain. They definitely don’t like getting their paws wet every time they go outside. It got so bad that Kramer’s front left paw got itchy and we had to treat it with a special ointment. If that wasn’t bad enough, we’ve kept a towel by the back door for grooming -- we use it to dry both of our dogs off from snoot to toot every time they go outside.

The only thing the dogs enjoyed about the southern monsoons was the one thing we enjoyed least. There was mud and clay everywhere. It had run down the sides of the backyard into the middle of the yard, along the fence and in the back garden area. It was an absolute mess, but the dogs were like two pigs rolling in a mud bath. They were relentless. They always wanted to walk in the messiest areas and try to cover their entire bodies with mud. This was especially true after we spent time and money getting them bathed and groomed. It seemed they much preferred the feel and smell of red Georgia clay to the fresh smell of an oatmeal bath.

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Bathe your dog with a mild shampoo. Yorkie gets bathed by Shutterstock

After each visit to the backyard, we had to wipe their paws with wet towels, followed by a dry towel. We hoped that this helped clean them a little and not track the clay inside. However, we have brown-colored carpets and brown wooden floors, which help to hide the dirt, but it will take some extra deep cleaning after the summer is over.

Our groomer, Michelle, does a wonderful job of keeping our dogs looking their best. With our boy Kramer, the dirt and grime doesn’t look too bad when we take him in to be groomed. He hides it well with his short haircut and his liver/tan colorings. The only noticeable areas are his paws, since they are a lighter tan color after they are fully bathed.

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Kramer came to us via Schnauzer Love Rescue.

For our little girl Dusty, it’s a whole different story. She is solid white with long, soft cotton-candy-like fur after she gets groomed. However, before the visit, she looks more like a little orange dog with red and brown whiskers. Small mats often hide in her fine white fur, and the tips of the fur on her belly are bright orange from the clay.

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Is that my Dusty dog or a wet rat? During and after grooming.

A while ago, we finally had a two-day break in the weather. It was finally warm and sunny, though the ground was still soggy. We decided to head to the mountains with our dogs. We own some property up there, and the dogs love to run and play in the open fields near the lake.

We assumed that the ground would be drier up north since the streams and rivers flow to the south. Also, the large field near the lake has always been mowed short and the lake never flooded before. Well, you know what they say about assuming? We found this out the hard way.

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Dusty and me near the spillway and waterfall.

Everything looked fine at first. The grass was a little taller, but it was still a location where we could let the dogs run. As we got them out of the car, they immediately ran into the open field. We followed and quickly realized that the ground was a mess here as well. The ground was soupy and slushy and our feet stuck in the mud. The lake had flooded at some point and left a sheen of silt and sand, while the spillway near the lake and stream had overflowed as well, pushing gravel and sand back into our favorite open field.

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A dirty dog is a happy dog ... and maybe a not-so-happy owner. Golden Retriever in mud by Shutterstock

By the time we realized what had happened, it was too late. The dogs were running circles around each other and enjoying life. Our freshly groomed dogs were now covered with mud, clay, sand, dirt, grass seeds, silt, and any other mess they could find. They had smiles on their faces and we had egg on ours for not realizing that the mess was everywhere. They were extraordinarily happy to be there. Us? Not so much.

I guess the old saying is true: A dirty dog is a happy dog!

Does your dog prefer to be dirty or clean? Do they immediately roll around in dirt after a bath? Share your stories and pictures in the comments!

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