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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March Mud Madness

March mud madness

Finally the snow has melted and the days are getting warmer.  The birds, squirrels, and of course bunnies are back in full force.  So is mud.  Ugh!  Until the grass really gets growing to fill in all those gaps in your yard and garden we will have to cope with mud.  It is possible to maintain your sanity while allowing your dog to enjoy the early smells and sights of spring.  It’s all about understanding what your dog needs now, and planning for it.
Bella loves to sniff out things in the yard
Now that the snow is gone, all the smells in the ground are much more intense and enticing.  Your dog likely has its nose to the ground, is digging up dirt, and worse yet eating what is “leftover” from winter.
Here are some suggestions for coping with muddy paws, faces and bodies.
Here is a handy place for clean up
1.       Have a towel, baby wipes, treats, and a place to hook the leash onto (door knob is ok) set up for clean up.  Have this right by the one door you go in and out of.  After you come in, hook the leash on the door and get a few treats out and break them up in your hand.  As you rub your pet down, give them a few tidbits. Or you can drop a piece or 2 on the floor to keep them still and rewarded for standing still for clean up.  It is really important that you give this reward as they are being rubbed and not fighting you.  If they fight, hold the treat away until they settle down, and focus on the treat.  Give the treat as you touch the body. 
2.       Trim the hair around the face, paws and legs short for easier cleaning.
3.       Minimize the mud pick up by walking your dog.  You can avoid a lot of puddles and mud this way and your dog will have more interesting smells than just from the yard alone.
The Clarkson's solution for Clyde
and Cujo
4.       Put pavers around the perimeter of your fence line.  This is the area most dogs always tread down.  The pavers will decrease the mud, decrease weeding for you and keep their nails short.
You can rinse your pet down with warm water for the big messes.  Use an oatmeal shampoo if you need a big cleanup.  Weekly baths are fine for most dogs but check with your veterinarian if your pet has sensitive skin.
Daffodils are coming!
Soon we will be past this, and until then have a happy spring!
For more pet care and behavior tips visit my blog at www. .  Sign up for announcements and newsletter to stay posted on upcoming talks in the community.

Dr. Sally J. Foote Okaw Veterinary Clinic Tuscola   Find us on face book!