Best way to clean sticky mud from paws?

k9fanNovember 21, 2011


Below is a message I posted to the garden forums about a problem with sticky mud on my dogs' feet. I would like to add a question for the pets forum: What is the most efficient, non-toxic and non-irritating way to clean sticky, clay-like mud off a dog's feet? Is there anything better than just a spray attachment on the hose (which always ends up getting my shoes and pants as well as their feet)?

At this point it appears we will be doing this several times a day!


We've just moved into a temporary rental with our three medium to large dogs. We're blessed with a big backyard, but the yard is completely unplanted, and the soil here is claylike and very sticky. Every time the dogs come in, there's a layer of this muddy clay (it's raining these days) stuck to their feet which proceeds to come off on the kitchen floor. I noticed the same sticky mud problem with my shoes when I walked in the yard even in dry weather, before our rental began. Why did we rent it, then? In this area, when you have dogs, you jump on any available rental.

Keeping the dogs outside is not an option, but the constant mopping is already getting to me and is not even keeping on top of the problem. Is there any fast-growing grass or ground cover I could plant that might alleviate this problem? It's November and we only expect to be here through March, so it would have to be something that grows in the winter, and fast enough to offer some benefit. Our Zone 9 winters have little to no freeze and the backyard gets a lot of sun. We could go buy rolls of grass if they are available at this time of year, but I imagine that would be very expensive. The yard is probably 6000 square feet.

I feel so fortunate to have this rental, but dealing with the sticky mud is a serious challenge!

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Boy, do I feel for you!

At my home, a small farm, when it is really bad mud season, I keep a bucket by the back door and dip each paw into the bucket and swish it around, before drying it off with a towel. Not ideal either ... but it works for me.

I don't have any idea what might grow in your area, we'll shortly have a good covering of snow which is much easier to deal with on paws than mud.

The only thing I can think of is landscape fabric ... but that's a mighty big yard and that could cost a lot.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 12:56PM
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I haven't tried to do that specifically, but I have sprayed down each individual paw (and myself, of course). I don't think a little dip would do it. It takes a direct spray to get the mud chunks off.

I would hate to confine them to just part of the yard when they love to run so much, but I may have to do something like that in self defense.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 1:13AM
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A bucket of water should work, I use that with my dogs if their feet get muddy or caked with snow on walks. You could keep a long handled brush in the bucket. I don't let my dogs run in the yard if it's wet or muddy as they could slip and hurt themselves.. but likely your dogs don't run as fast ;)

    Bookmark   November 24, 2011 at 7:41PM
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Contact your landlord and see if they'll either buy or allow you to buy some mulch. We just put some medium size Hemlock barkdust in DS's yard (two large dogs) and once it was in place and wetted down, their dogs could run thru it and not track in anything. The Hemlock is considered sliver-free so you'll probably want that for your dogs.

In my area a unit (7 yards) cost $ well spent.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2011 at 10:29PM
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I live on a farm to and I walk the dogs every morning. If they have run thru a muddy/clay area I make them run thru the grass. That doesn't always work so I make them lie outside on the patio stones until the clay has dried and them I take it off by hand. Most of the time when it has dried the dogs pick it off themselves. Rosie is the worst because she is an Australian shepherd with long hairs on her feet.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 3:04PM
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What about putting straw over the yard?

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 4:33PM
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Dry pine needles work wonders for our dogs. Apparently, you can buy them as mulch also...

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 2:12PM
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