Even living in Los Angeles, with our terrific weather, I’ve dealt with my fair share of dirty paws. In fact, my pup seems to believe getting dirty is an Olympic sport! I’m used to pulling him to the hose before allowing him in the house. The hose works just fine for us, but I realize it isn’t a great solution for our readers living in colder climates.
Here are a few tips we can all use to help combat dirty paws during the winter to spring transition:
1. Restrict access to muddy places.
Cut back on dirty paws by stopping your pup from digging in the yard and fencing off any areas that can get muddy, like flower beds.
2. Make a wash station.
Inside the door of your entry area, keep a big, washable rug and a basket of dog towels. For wet days, you may want to add a hair dryer.
3. Keep wipes in the car.
Cleaning dirty paws in the car not only makes getting into the house easier, but it also helps keep your car clean.
4. Condition your dog to foot touching.
Not all pups like their feet touched. Until he’s familiar with getting wiped down, take it slow, and use lots of encouragement and treats.
5. Shampoo and moisturize those dirty paws.
Because you’ll be wiping your dog’s paws at least once a day, use a gentle soap. Try dry shampoo or one that’s used for show dogs and safe to be used daily. Finish off with a paw conditioner or moisturizer.
6. Get some dog booties.
The right “shoes” can help keep your pup from bringing in dirt and mud. Choose booties meant for the type of outdoor activity your pup is doing, and take it slow at first. Use positive reinforcement to make it a good experience.
7. Try indoor socks.
Get your dog the equivalent of bedroom slippers. This is especially helpful on laminate floors that tend to pick up paw prints easily.
8. Keep things trimmed.
Don’t just trim your dog’s nails. Keep an eye out for any hair poking out between the pads. Trimming that back will not only make any cleaning effort easier but will cut down on the amount of dirt that your pup picks up.
9. Do some basic training.
Teaching your dog the “sit, stay” cue will help a lot! He may have the urge to run through your living room and expensive rugs, but a well-trained pup will stay put when told. “Walk around” or “go in a circle” commands can help get your dog to dry off his own paws on your entry mat.
10. Meet microfiber.
There is such a thing as a paw-cleaning mitt! Google it! This glove is usually covered with microfiber material that grabs onto the dirt or mud and is easy to wash. Simple microfiber cloths work, too.
11. Let floor covers do the work for you.
Put an absorbent mat outside the door, and add a runner inside that your dog must walk on. This should help brush off dirt and help dry paws.
12. Protect those paws.
Put natural dog wax products on your pup’s paws before you head outside. The wax barrier will help keep dirt and mud from getting too deep into the fur and sides of the paw pads.
13. Save your furniture.
A cover on your sofa and other furniture that you can easily take off and wash can help if your dog enjoys lying on them and rubbing his dirty feet all over the place.
14. Be careful of salt/sand.
Material like salt or sand that is used on snow and ice can be trouble. Wipe all this off your dog’s dirty paws as soon as possible. Not only will it keep your dog from ingesting it when he licks his feet, it also keeps that abrasive material off your floors.
Cleaning tips for dirty or muddy paw prints:
- For small areas of grout, try using the eraser of a No. 2 pencil.
- For tougher grout stains, use special grout cleaning products or a paste made of baking soda and water. Apply with a tooth- brush or grout cleaning brush.
- Sweep any hard surface before you mop.
- Daily mopping with warm water should work for most paw prints.
- If you do use a cleaning solution or vinegar on your floor, go over once more with plain water and a dry mop to finish.
- On carpet, let the mud dry to make cleaning easier.
- Dry mud on carpet should be vacuumed up slowly first. Hit the mud at all angles, and take your time.
- When doing your final cleanup on carpet, blot, don’t rub, so you don’t harm the fibers.
- Remove tracked-in water from flooring as soon as possible.
Tell us: What are your tips for dealing with dirty paws?
Thumbnail: Photography ©Willbrasil21 | Thinkstock.
Wendy Newell is a former VP of Sales turned dogsitter, which keeps her busy being a dog chauffeur, picking up poop and sacrificing her bed. Wendy and her dog, Riggins, take their always-changing pack of pups on adventures throughout the Los Angeles area. Learn more about them on Facebook at The Active Pack and on Instagram at @wnewell.
Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Dogster magazine. Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? Subscribe now to get Dogster magazine delivered straight to you!
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