Helping a homeless pet is a commitment that lasts long after you sign on the proverbial dotted line.
And, if you’re like me, one of your favorite parts of that forever promise is the motivation a pet gives you to get out and enjoy all that nature has to offer.
And now we’re running out of weather-related excuses for cutting short our time outdoors.
It’s almost spring!
Can’t you just picture blossoming tulips, fresh green grass, and the warm sun shining down as you run around outside with your beloved four-legged friend?
But don’t forget that we’re also dealing with melting snow and plenty of rain, washing winter away and leaving giant muddy puddles.
And for those of us who have a dog, the spring cleaning that likely took you hours to complete gets destroyed the instant your pooch runs outside.
You cringe as those muddy paws hit your freshly cleaned carpet, tile or hardwood.
Take it from a puppy owner, whose dog goes out of his way to make sure he walks in every single puddle he can find.
The thought of those dirty paws can spur panic attacks for those who have better things to do with their time than clean the floors after each potty break.
But I’ve learned that prevention is key when it comes to muddy paws. And now that springtime is upon us, now is a good time to remind you to stock up on some of these essentials:
1. Disposable Wipes
If your four-legged friend has small paws, a few paw wipes or even a damp rag soaked in soap and water should do the trick. Natural Pet Supply in Johnson City and Knoxville, TN has paw wipes that work great, and they’re convenient to carry with you wherever you go. This is ultimately the fastest and easiest way to keep those paws clean.
2. Doggie Doormats
After talking with friends, and reading Fetching Facebook comments, I’ve found that plastic or straw mats left outside work great to keep dirt away. Alexandria Davenport says she struggles with muddy paws every day, but found a great solution.
“In all the muddy places and the path back to the porch, we put down a straw mat and hammered it into the ground around the edges so it doesn’t come up,” said Davenport. “With kiddos around the house, cleans floors are a must.”
We hear you, Alexandria!
3. Paw Accessories
Although they can look little ridiculous, most pet stores carry dog shoes that slip right on to your pet’s feet. The shoes range in sizes, and some are disposable. The disposable ones can actually be used a number of times before you have to throw them away, so if you are looking for a quick solution for clean paws, be sure to check them out.
4. Dry Shampoo
Dry shampoo is proven to remove excess oil and absorb odors, but it can also be used on the bottom of your dog’s feet. A friend of mine, Kayla Wilson – who owns a Shiatsu-poodle mix, says, this works great and it’s cheap.
“You can make it homemade,” said Wilson. “I use baking soda, and rolled oats. You would be surprised at how much it keeps the mud from sticking to the bottom of their feet.” Wilson recommends throwing in a few sprigs of lavender as well to keep the paws smelling clean.
5. Back to the Basics
Of course, if all else fails, old-school solutions work too.
Keep a specially designated mat – or even spread out newspapers by the door, along with a bucket (with a lid, if you have kids) filled with soapy water. Grab a cloth, scrub and dry with an old bath towel.
Although it may take a few days of training to get your dog to stand still, most will tolerate the extra step in exchange for all that fresh air and uninhibited be-a-dog time.
Now despite your best efforts, the inevitable might happen.
But, as Monica Warren wrote on Facebook, the only way to avoid that is to not have a dog.
Which is, of course, not an option.