Five Ways to Battle Muddy Footprints

A dog with dog insurance runs through mud.When I bought my house a few years ago, before I worked for a pet insurance company, I spent a good deal of time choosing the perfect shade of laminate flooring for my kitchen and dining room.

It had to be dark to complement the cupboards, but not too red. And it couldn’t be too light, because then it would compete with the countertops. I settled on a lovely shade with a fancy name… and then I adopted a dog.

Ever since then, especially in the spring, my floors have been more of a Mud Bog Brown or a Dusty Gray. I’ve been at a loss when it comes to keeping them shiny and clean. Obviously, I want a happy dog, and leaving her inside all day isn’t the best option for good dog health.

Thankfully, our Facebook friends have some great tips. Here are five ways you can keep muddy dog footprints at bay:

1. Use lots of rugs
Rafaela of Colorado recommends laying down rugs anywhere muddy paws might land. We like this idea, especially if those rugs are machine-washable.

2. Hang on to the winter booties
In Missouri, Dallas lets her dogs continue to wear their winter booties into spring. As long as you can get those booties off between the muddy outdoors and your floors, there’s no floor or dog clean-up needed at all.

3. Baby your dogs
Lorali of Maryland recommends using unscented baby wipes to clean off muddy paws after every outing. Keep a tub of them by the door and your pups will not only have clean feet, but conditioned pads that are protected against cracking. Cracked paw pads can be a real dog health concern – left untreated, they may become infected and require veterinary care.

4. Double up
In Texas, Frankie has a welcome mat outside, an extra piece of carpet inside, and a carpet shampooer nearby just in case.

5. Look the other way
Jill from Idaho recommends ignoring the dirt till summer unless guests are expected, and jokes, “Then we’ll decide if they’re worthy of the time it takes us to clean up.” She does make a good point, though. How many hours a day can we be expected to mop our floors? Kristen seconds that, saying, “Mostly I just close my eyes.”

Whether you choose to clean daily or look the other way, you can feel good knowing your dog will be happier and healthier when allowed to run and play, even in the mud. Before you know it, we’ll all be chilling in front of air conditioners and wishing for cooler weather!


  • Leasa

    I keep a towel next to the back door and my “boys” are now trained to come in and roll over on their backs so they can get their feet cleaned. Sometimes they get wiped and sent to the shower for a little extra cleaning.

  • Darrell Brown

    I keep towels on a rack outside and have trained my 16 month old boy Magic to stand and lift each foot to be wiped before he will come inside!! its funny!! even if I forget-He Doesnt!!

  • Irene

    We have 3 goldens who love to play outdoors. I keep a kids plastic swimming pool filled with a few inches of water just outside the door and they have to walk through it before they come inside. Old towels scattered over the floors dry their paws. When I can’t stand how dirty the towels look I just turn them over and eventually throw them in the washing machine. The dogs stack of towels is higher than my husband’s and mine!

  • Rose

    I have 3 large weimaraners. I have plastic looped rugs and mats at the front door. They take turns coming over to have their feet wiped before going back inside. I still have to sweep the floors several times a day but at least the neighbors know we all try! Happy dogs and dirt kinda go together!

  • Linda

    These are great ideas for muddy paws, but does anyone have an idea of what booties to use in the summer time? We live in Arizona and from June-September, we cannot walk our dog on the hot pavement. There isn’t a lot of grass here either. I have looked at several types of booties, but they would be too hot for summer. Anyone have a suggestion?

  • Derrick

    My wife and I have had 3 mastiffs over the past 14 years and all of them have learned to stand at the kitchen door as soon as they come into the house to get their paws wiped. They stand to allow the back paws to be cleaned and then they sit…one paw’s extended to get cleaned and then the other. After that they are free to run around the house.

  • annette

    Has anyone tried a Paw Washer or a Paw Plunger?

  • Barbara Bouyet

    We have 2 Leonbergers–one is a huge male puppy who has systematically destroyed every blade of grass in the yard. When it rains, the yard turns into a huge bog of mud and puddles which my boy loves! He sticks his face down into the deeper puddles and charges through all of them at full speed. Rinsing feet is funny–his entire body must be cleansed thoroughly before he can step into the house. We set-up an outside shower in the concrete side yard and he gets a warm bath at least 15 times a day during the rain. When the puddles subside, only his feet need to be cleaned until the yard turns back into the dust bowl. Our older female is perfect and someday my 130 pound puppy will mature.

  • Gloria Hunt

    My little Jack Russell Terrier likes to show-off.. so when she comes in from outside, I ask her to turn around about 4 or 5 times on the throwrug.. helps to get her little paws clean all by herself..

  • Liz Ramsey

    I say “foot, foot, foot” and my Shelties lift up their front paws and turn around when I say “butt butt.” I love my babies!

  • Jordana

    I grab a hand towel and apply some hand sanitizer to it and wipe off my pups paw pads with it. Cleans and sanitizes all in one so your pet is also not bringing in bad bacteria from outside.

    • hrush

      Hi Jordana,

      We always advise pet owners ask their veterinarian before using any kind of human products on pets. Thanks for your comment!

  • Barbara

    Our two German Shepherd pups also ate our lawn and most of the
    shrubs and perennials in the perimeter beds. We let them have the yard until age two when we installed Pregra (imitation) grass through COSTCO and some thorny plants (shrub and ground roses, holly, etc.). We left a 4′ path around the fence-line for them to run and mulched all the dirt with 4″ of shredded cedar bark. The yard looks great. They love the “grass” to lie on and the path for running and patroling.

  • Perfectly Green

    As well as these great suggestions, you could completely bypass the muddy footprints and invest in synthetic grass. This not only rules out mud, and therefore muddy footprints, but it saves water (no being bothered by the hosepipe ban), and therefore the environment, but also you’ll have a perfectly green, low maintenance lawn.


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