What is the least messy dog?
What to do with Those Messy Paws
This task can be easier if taught as a regular routine, such as eating or any other regular ritual.
May 24, 2018 9 min read
Dog owners know that a good job of paw cleaning takes a little time, effort and some cooperation from the dog. This important routine can be easier if taught as a regular routine such as eating or any other regular ritual with your pet. Once the dog learns what to expect, this will become less of a chore, as long as you do this each time he returns indoors (no matter what season it is).
Paw Drying and Cleaning
Paw drying is a joint project between the owner and the dog. The human to animal psychology plus the dog training and skills needed are referred to as the “Art” of Paw Cleaning. One of the most popular methods of paw drying is to use a towel, pick up each paw and manually wipe the paw until it is completely dry and clean, or until the dog takes the paw back. The process is repeated with each paw until all four paws are done.
Some people use floor mats for the dog to walk or stand on, placed by the door where the dog enters the house, hoping that when they walk on the mats, it will dry their paws before they enter the house. Sometimes we set one or two or more floor mats down, leading up to the door. We do this in an effort to dry and clean paws and hope our dog will walk on at least some of the mats. Have you ever noticed that dogs like to take the path of least resistance? At least as long as they don’t have to go too far out of their way to get where they want to go. This tendency is the opposite of what we want them to do, namely, walk on the mats carefully placed in their path leading up to the door. The idea is that if we put enough floor mats down where the dog will walk, their feet will be dry and clean enough when they reach the door is actually a very workable method. The more a dog walks on a mat that is absorbing moisture, dislodging debris, collecting dirt and mud, the cleaner their feet will be when they reach the door. Note: the bigger the dog, the more area (mats) needed to do this job well.
In some homes, mats are used that are not very absorbent. The owner may not realize that the dog will have to spend a lot of time, taking many steps to get the paws dry using non-absorbing mats or carpet remnants. If the owner wants to make sure those paws are dry and will not make wet paw prints on the floor, a very long runway of floor mats may be necessary. Of course, to our dismay, once the runway of mats are in place our dog never chooses to walk not on the mats, but along side the mats, or some zigzag route to the door. Why don’t they walk where we want them to walk? Isn’t it ironic that dogs really do want to please their owners? Unless we fully utilize every step our dog takes while walking on a mat, using an effective, absorbing, cleaning mat, the dog is unlikely to be successful in drying their own feet well enough to please the owner.
This brings us to the hope that maybe the dog could acquire some skills to help clean their own feet. YES! Wouldn’t that be nice! If mats were used that are highly absorbent and designed specifically for drying dog feet, it would take far fewer mats and much less time to get the job done well.
Ideas and Techniques for Training Dogs to Walk on Floor Mats:
- Using the collar, lead the dog to walk on the floor mat. At the same time, offer much praise and love to the dog for walking where you want them to walk. This technique may require a lot of work and practice and keep in mind that it may not work very well with some dogs.
- Use a stocking from the owner that has been used at least one day. Rub the stocking in a stroking manner on the mat where you want the dog to walk. Usually, the dog will sniff the area on the mat where you have rubbed and at the same time; take a couple of steps on the mat. Remember, it usually takes more than a couple of steps, even with the best paw drying mat available, to get the paws dry and clean. The effectiveness of this technique is limited by how much area of mats the dog walks on smelling the scent or if the dog becomes comfortable in walking on the mat.
- Place one or two good paw drying floor mats just outside the door where the dog enters the house. Place the mats so when the dog exits through the door, the first thing they walk on is the mat; this will help get them accustomed to the feel of the mat beneath their feet. Hopefully this will make the dog more comfortable with the mat and not fear or despise it. When the dog is ready to come inside, and is standing on the mat, hold the collar and gently nudge the dog side to side or in a turning direction, causing them to take repeated steps as they move around. Be sure there is enough mat area to keep the dog on the mat for several steps. This technique works only marginally well when using conventional floor mats. It works much better when using mats that are designed specifically for drying animal paws. Training dogs to dry or clean their own paws is easier with ample mat area. The ability of a dog to dry their own paws depends very much on the absorbency of the mat and the total mat area available to walk on.
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The Science of Paw Drying and Cleaning
How do we physically remove water and yard materials such as dirt, debris, mud, grass clippings, mold spores, bacteria and pollen from the dog’s paws? Getting the water removed from your dog’s feet is the most important part in eliminating paw prints on the floor and in being able to have clean paws. If paws are dry, there is no mud, and debris will not stick to dry dog paws as well. Hardwood fiber paper that is used to make paper towels offers the fastest, most effective absorbent properties.
Water increases the stickiness of your dog’s paws because of ‘surface tension.’ Have you ever seen a needle float on water? The needle floats because of surface tension on top of the water. It is like a very thin film of plastic wrap; if you prick the water surface with the needle, it is like the needle breaking through the plastic wrap and it will no longer float. The needle floats because of surface tension and a surface that is only a few molecules thick. Surface tension creates the ‘stickiness’ that causes grass clipping and debris to stick to wet paws.
Another method that grass clippings and debris attaches to paws is by micro hooks. Velcro has two parts, the hook and the loop. When the two parts are brought together and they touch, hooks of one piece are hooked into the loops of the other piece, holding the pieces together. When the pieces are pulled apart, it causes each individual hook or loop to bend until they break free from one another.
A similar process happens when organic materials such as grass clippings, pine needles or seed pods touch the hair on your dog’s feet. The dog hair may act as the loop and the micro fibers of the grass or seed pod act as the hook. If you look at a blade of grass under a microscope with 40X to 80X magnification, you see many little micro hooks on the edge of the blade of grass. When a dog romps around in the wet yard, as those hairy paws touch grass, leaves and just about everything else, the grass clippings and other debris attaches to the paw hairs. With attached debris, the dog becomes a transportation system to carry part of the yard into the house.
To pull off or remove grass clippings and other debris from dog paws, something must physically touch the blade of grass or whatever is stuck to the paw and get it to fall off. Then, when the grass or debris is brushed off the paws, we want it to stay in the mat so it is not carried into the house.
The more steps a dog takes on a mat that brushes their feet as they walk, the cleaner their feet will be. The walking dog creates a brushing action with every step. When bristles touch the dirt and debris stuck to their paws, it is loosened and removed. This material can then be trapped in the mat base and does not get carried into the house. Note: The depth of brushing action of a mat is limited to the length of the bristles or fabric fibers. Short bristles will only remove debris that is a short distance (the length of the bristles), up the dog’s paws.
The more steps a dog takes on a mat that is highly absorbent, the more water is removed from their feet. When water is removed from the paws, there are less mold spores, bacteria and pollen carried by the water into the house.
In summary, we say that wet dog paws can be properly dried, on the bottom of the paws, when the dog walks on a highly absorbent floor mat designed for drying dog paws. Physically cleaning or removing mud and debris from a dog’s paws is quite a different challenge with current floor mats and paw cleaning technology. What to look For when buying a paw drying mat:
Mats made with Absorbing materials — research shows that the most absorbent mats are made of wood fiber materials and some are even disposable
Mats that have features that work like a brush to loosen and remove yard materials stuck to your dog’s feet. Paw drying and paw cleaning capabilities like removing mud and debris are generally separate functions and not found in the same mat.
How to Keep Your House Clean With Dogs | Pupford
One of the hardest parts of being a pup parent is trying to keep your house clean with dogs.
Between the slobber, hair, muddy paws, and doggo smell (it’s a love-hate relationship), there’s lots to keep up with!
But really, keeping your home free of dog hair, mud, dirt, and drool is completely worth it when you come home to their wagging tail.
Here are some tips for keeping up with the messes your dog can create.
In this article, we’ll cover the following
- Dealing with dog hair and shedding
- Cleaning drool, dirt, etc.
- Preventing dirt, mud, snow, etc. getting tracked through the house
- Cleaning up water/food bowls and toys
Let’s dive right in!
DOG SHEDDING: DEALING WITH DOG HAIR AROUND THE HOUSE
For many of us, the toughest part of keeping our house clean with dogs is their hair.
I have two Labs and a Puggle.
It’s raining hair all day, every day.
So here are some tips to deal with the dog hair that helps my home tremendously.
HOW YOU CAN HELP PREVENT SHEDDING
Remember, you can’t stop shedding. But you can do things to help
- Brush your dog every day to get rid of loose fur. It’s a good idea to talk to your groomer about the best kind of brush for your dog’s fur type!
- Regular baths will keep shedding down. Make sure to consult your groomer or vet on how often you should bathe your pup based on their breed. Too many trips to the groomer/bath can be harmful to their skin! And be sure to use a that actually releases your dog’s undercoat, meaning that after you brush them out after their bath they will shed much less!
- A high-quality diet is helpful to prevent shedding. Food and treats rich in Omega’s can be very helpful in preventing shedding. PS-Learn about thebenefits of Salmon for dogshere(hint- OMEGA’s!)
DEALING WITH DOG HAIR AROUND THE HOUSE
There are many breeds of dogs that take shedding to a new level.
Even shorter hair dogs will leave some hair around the house as they naturally shed. Keeping your home free of dog hair is important for overall cleanliness as well as critical to those with allergies. (Speaking of allergies, )
Here are some quick tips to help you clean up after your shedding pup!
- Cover furniture with blankets and washable covers. These covers are great for keeping on during times when you don’t have company and throwing quickly into the wash to get the drool and hair off of furniture.
- Use these great hair removing tools to clean floors, carpets, furniture and more!
- Dryer Sheets
- Roll of Tape
- Window Squeegee
- Rubber Broom
CLEANING DOG DROOL, DIRT, AND RESIDUE IN THE HOME
There’s nothing better than watching your pup enjoy rubber toy or treat.
But the aftermath is sometimes not as wonderful. Some dog chews leave residue on the floor or furniture.
Here are some tips on cleaning drool and residue stains. (PS- When using any type of cleaning product on a new surface, test in an inconspicuous area first.)
- Don’t let the stain set! The oils and proteins in your dog’s drool can create a lasting spot on furniture that will be hard to remove. Try to clean as soon as you can!
- Make one part vinegar and two parts hot water then add in a couple of drops of mild dish soap. This mixture will help loosen the spot and cut into the buildup. Wipe with the wet rag (make sure to not oversaturate the area, just wipe gently) and then wipe with a dry rag until dry and clean. You can also get an that works deep below the surface to get to work on the deepest smells and stains.
- For walls, floors, and baseboards, try a and the Magic Eraser Mop. You can also use this on the stainless steel appliances including your refrigerator and even your garbage can! If you don’t have an eraser on hand, Windex can also work.
- To clean microfiber couches and chairs, use rubbing alcohol mixed with water in a spray bottle and a non-colored sponge. Dry with a dry towel or rag after.
- Using a soft-bristle brush on fabrics will help fluff it up and get out dried water stains and dirt. You can let it air dry or use a blow dryer if you’re in a hurry.
PREVENT MUD, SNOW & DIRT GETTING TRACKED THROUGH THE HOUSE
During all seasons (and especially the ), your dog will track mud, dirt, and snow in from outside. And that makes keeping your house clean with dogs nearly impossible.
Well, let’s make the impossible, possible (or at least close to it)!
Here are a few things you can do that will help?
- Carpet-free entrance for your dog. Area rugs are great for comfort and style but when it comes to keeping dirt and mud out of your home, stick to a carpet free area where your pup will enter the home (if possible).
- Trim leg hair, hair between their toes and longer fur. Don’t fully remove hair since it’s necessary to provide protection but trimming will help keep your dog clean. Here are some tips on how to cut your dog’s hair with scissors.
- Keep an absorbent, dry towel by the door. Wipe your dog’s paws off when they come in from outside.
- Disposable paw wipes are a pet parent’s best friend! Great for quick cleanups and mud removal.
- Use booties on your dog’s paws when they go outside in the colder, muddier times of the year. Dog booties are designed to keep your pup’s paws protected from dirt, ice, and other elements that can get within their pads. Booties can also be an easy way to keep their paws neat and clean! Just pop them off when they return from outside, no wiping required!
CLEANING UP YOUR DOG’S FOOD BOWL, WATER BOWL, & TOYS
Is your fur baby a messy eater? Do they love bringing their favorite toys outside and back in?
While you love to see them happy, you also want to be sure that you steer clear of germs and bacteria that a dirty toy or a messy food area can bring!
TIPS FOR CLEANING UP AROUND WATER/FOOD BOWL AREA:
- Use mats that stick to the floor and have a grip for the bowls so they don’t move
- Place the bowl in an elevated stand to avoid your dog tipping the bowl over *speak to your vet because some dogs should not be fed out of these types of stands to avoid bloat*
- Use a heavier, weighted bowl
- Fill only halfway or use a self-filling water bowl
- Wash/sanitize your dog’s water and food bowl at least once a week
CLEANING DOG TOYS
Don’t allow the grime, bacteria, and germs to thrive on your dog’s chew toys.
The toys your dog loves may travel inside and out and carry a ton of germs into your household.
Here are some quick tips on how to clean their favorite toys!
- Use antibacterial dish soap to hand wash toys with warm water.
- Many rubber toys are dishwasher safe, check the packaging or search the internet for the toy name to find out! If you can put them into the dishwasher, run it on hot without soap and make sure they are completely dry before returning to your pup!
- Rinse toys with clean, cold water. Make sure to get excess water out and then air dry on top of a dry towel.
- Use a wire toothbrush or wire comb
- Wash in the washing machine on a gentle cycle, without detergent.
- Put in the microwave to sanitize. This can get rid of bacteria, mold, germs, and yeast that are living on the toys. Run it for 1 minute but keep a close eye.
STUFFED & FLUFFY TOYS
- Toys that are not machine washable can be cleaned with vinegar and baking soda. It should make a paste and you can brush the stuffed toy with a toothbrush in a circular motion until it’s clean from dirt.
- After you scrub, put into a plastic bag with dry baking soda and coat the toy then shake.
- Take out of the bag and let it dry for about 15 minutes then shake off the excess baking soda and let the toy dry.
- It will usually take about one or two days for the toy to dry. You can then wipe it with a towel and return to your pup!
RECAP OF HOW TO KEEP YOUR HOUSE CLEAN WITH DOGS
Keeping your house clean with dogs can be a lot easier than you think! Here is a quick recap
- Use a that helps reduce shedding
- Use easily removable and washable covers for furniture
- Use Magic Erasers to clean dirt and residue off baseboards and even the floor
- Use a that works deep below the surface to remove stains and odors
- Keep a towel by the door to dry off your dog (especially their paws) during the winter months
- Clean your dog’s bowls at least weekly
- Sanitize and clean toys frequently
Do you have any go-to tips of your own for a clean house with pets that I missed? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add it to this article.
PS- Check out some extra tips for