Its puddles and mud season. A dog's favourite time of year. If you aren't ready for it, it can be quite the mess. But a few tricks are there for those that prepare, and keeping your car and house mud free is not a difficult task.
For those that can avoid problem areas, that's the easy way to prevent a mess. But a visit to the dog park is an essential in many pets lives, and a great bit of exercise for all. The dog park isn't the only source of mud, just going out to the backyard, a resourceful pooch can find a way to get into trouble.
Many people have a bucket of water at the back door, and make the dog step in it before coming in, and then they towel off the wet, mud free feet. A co-operative dog makes this an easy task, but many dogs don't want to cooperate.
There are a number of devices out there now that are portable paw washers. These are containers that hold water that you can insert the dog's paw into. You then swish the water around, rinsing the mud off the paw. Some even have bristles to help scrub. The paw comes out with slightly muddy water that is much more easily toweled off than the sticky mud.
If they are muddy coming in from the car or backyard, a baby gate to keep the pet in the "mud room" until they dry can be an easy way to limit the mess factor. The dog is restrained, while not locked away. If they have a bed to lay in, they can quite happily air dry and be brushed off before coming into the house.
Putting on boots before they go out can make clean up a whole bunch easier. There are rubber boots that look like balloons that can keep paws clean and dry in the muddiest weather. And now, we have a special device that lets you apply the boot quick and easy, one handed. No more struggling to put boots on! They come in a 12 pack, so if you lose one, its no big deal.
If boots aren't in your repertoire, how about a pawdicure? Just like ice in the winter, mud gets trapped on the long fur on a dogs feet. A pawdicure is a service where the groomer trims the nails and cleans off the hair on the feet and between the pads. Clean feet are much easier to keep mud free. Add in the nail trim, and its a winner all around.
Another spring issue is blowing the coat. Many dogs are double coated, meaning they have a downy undercoat that they will lose seasonally. After winter is over, they don't need the heavy undercoat, so they blow it out and it is replaced with a much lighter version. This process is repeated in the fall. Removing this undercoat is very important, because if it isn't, it can matt and make a painful mess for the dog. Again, there are many coat rakes and brushes designed specifically for removing this, bring your dog in to test and find the right one for his/her coat.
A little planning can go a long way to making spring the fun season it should be, and not the muddy mess it wants to be.