Muddy Paws Mean Filthy Floors
Autumn dog ‘delights’
Column by Alice Clark RVN
I love this time of the year. Nothing beats cold walks in the forest and over the field, kicking through carpets of leaves and carefully avoiding the inconspicuous dog turds hidden amongst the undergrowth.
Whilst at the farm, we do not have the luxury of sticking to pavements during our dog walks. The autumn weather, combined with having resident pigs on the farm, means that after almost every walk we are presented with very wet, muddy and stinky dogs. Etty seems to be incredibly talented at flicking up a generous amount of mud onto her underside even at a slow pace (obviously due to her short stature), whilst Flo’s expertise is usually to cover everyone else in mud as she gallops past.
We have a few options for dealing with this situation, with varying degrees of effort and success.
Firstly, we have the ‘let’s utilise the uncut grass in the garden because no one can be bothered to bathe the dogs today’ option. My personal favourite involves encouraging the dogs to run around the grass field, allowing the wet grass to wash away the majority of the muck from paws, legs and bellies. A quick towel down at the back door and voilà, clean but not-so-sweet smelling dogs.
The second option, much to the dogs’ disgust is a bucket of warm soapy water in the garden – I mean at least we use warm water, it could be worse. This method also involves chasing the dogs around the garden to catch them, before trying the keep a writhing and not very cooperative dog still and ultimately soaking yourself with murky, lukewarm water.
The third and final option is usually saved for super long, filthy walks at the weekends. When the first and second methods just don’t cut it, we bundle the pups upstairs and straight into the shower. Now, if we had a bath, we would probably use it for dog bathing purposes, however we don’t, so we either have to kneel on the floor, shower head in hand and body block the dogs to thwart their escape attempts, or we just get in the shower with them. The latter approach is our favoured one. I mean, once you’re elbow deep in grotty dog, it’s inevitable that you’ll be wearing eau de wet dog for the rest of the day, so it makes sense to wash yourself afterwards!
There are a few items I consider essential to this time of the year (and all year round if I’m being honest), these ultimate purchases make everyday dog-owning tasks that little bit easier and, most importantly, your pooches happier.
Firstly, I’m not sure what we would do without our Equafleece dog jumpers. Equafleece products are made from Polartec® high performance polyester fleece, so they are not only warm, washable, rainproof and breathable, they are also very comfortable and can be bought in any size to fit your pooch perfectly. I love these jumpers, as it saves Etty’s belly from at least some of the mud splashes, can be worn under her harness and is also perfect for warming the dogs up if we pop into a pub for lunch mid-walk, as they also wick the wet away from damp fur. Equafleece also have a range of colour choices, to compliment any pet and Etty’s fluorescent orange jumper is invaluable as our evening walks get darker, as spotting her on the farm gets a little tricky without streetlights! Although Flo’s rough and tough and would rather not admit to needing a jumper whilst out on a walk, she is prone to feeling cold on chilly evenings, so even she can’t resist snuggling down in her Equafleece.
Next up are the fabulous Ruff and Tumble Dog Drying Coats. Modelled on the design of a horse blanket, Ruff and Tumble’s products are made from high quality, double thickness cotton towelling. Although they are great for drying wet dogs after bathing, I also find them perfect to pop on the dogs in the car, following trips to the beach – plus Flo’s coat had plenty of use when she was undergoing hydrotherapy. I love that these coats are easy to put on the pups and wash brilliantly ready for the next use. With plenty of country colours to choose from, these coats are a must have for any pampered pooch.
Last but not least, we always need something to remove all of those nasty smells and grime from the dogs’ paws and bellies. Recently, the kind people over at Wildwash sent me some of their amazing pet shampoo to try out. Firstly, it’s important to point out that dogs have a different skin pH to humans, so require a formula suited to this, which all of Wildwash’s products are. All of their products are made by hand in the UK using 100 per cent Pure Essential Oils with a range that suits all coat types, colours and complaints. Our favourite scent (and by our, I mean my favourite scent because, let’s face it, the dogs would be very happy to smell of pig faeces) is the Deep Cleaning and Deodorising formula, which contains Peppermint, Rosemary and Lemongrass. This formula not only does what it says on the bottle, it also helps to neutralise toxins and bacteria. All of the formulas do smell absolutely amazing and, although they don’t give the same amount of lather and bubbles I am used to with pet shampoo, they leave the dogs’ coats super soft, clean and sweet smelling.