Ah spring, the season we wait so long to arrive – only to remember that all those beautiful flowers are blooming thanks to an abundance of rain. Rain, of course, for those of us who get outdoors on a regular basis, means mud. Lots and lots of mud.
While it’s fun to play in the mud, dogs tend to gravitate toward the dirtiest spots they can find. Instead of shying away from dirty situations, embrace the rain and muck and head out prepared! To reduce the amount of mess that gets in our cars on the way home, follow these tips and gear recommendations.
A Quick Paw Wash
Keep that empty water or soda bottle and recycle it to act as a shower for your pup’s muddy paws using the Mud Dog Travel Shower! This is ingenious and also works great for a quick human camp shower when necessary, as well. One or two-liter bottles are best since it can take a bit of water to rinse off sticky mud.
Tip: Try and leave the bottle in a sunny spot in the car so that it’s warm when you arrive.
Wipe off Excess Mud
Keep a clean towel in the car every time you head out for a hike. You never know when the weather will change or when you’ll encounter a lake, river, or muddy pond that invites your pup for a dip.
The towel will dry off your dog’s fur after using the travel shower and also wipe off any additional mud that the shower couldn’t reach or missed. Highly absorbent towels like the Mud Dog Travel Towel are best because they soak up a lot of water and dry quickly, making them great for multi-day or backpacking trips.
Shake it Off
After rinsing and drying off the mud and water, walk your dog around for a minute or two (if there is a clean place in the parking lot) to try and get them to shake off the excess water from their fur. Otherwise, the inevitable will happen: They’ll do it right after hopping into the car and spray mud everywhere, creating more clean up work for you.
Protect the Car Seats and Trunk
It’s likely that some muddy spots will go missed, getting mud all over the back seat or trunk area, in spite of your best efforts. The best way to avoid a messy car is to use a waterproof and stain-resistant car seat cover or cargo cover. These fit a variety of different-sized vehicles and the numerous straps help keep everything in place. They minimize dirt and mud sticking to the seat or back, not to mention warding off all that dog hair that seems to find its way into every crevice.
Bonus: These covers can be tossed into the washing machine and air dried for easy cleaning.
When was the last time you washed your dog’s collar? Never? A year ago? It’s not often something we think about, but collars get super dirty from the oils in our dogs’ fur and also from all the play they do in dirty areas. The Muck Collar is not only fashionable, but it can be easily cleaned with the swipe of a sponge to look shiny and clean again. Made from waterproof and stink-free materials, none of that mud or dirt will stick to or become absorbed into this collar.
If your pup is dirty, it’s likely that your shoes are as well! Consider purchasing rubber floor mats for your car for easier cleaning from those muddy paws and shoes. A simple shake once the mud and water has dried and they’re ready for the next muddy adventure.
A little advanced planning and preparation will help maintain clean car after muddy jaunts on the trail together.
Jen Sotolongo is a writer and photographer and runs Long Haul Trekkers, a blog about independent, responsible travel with a pet. Over the past 1.5 years, she and her partner have taken their dog, Sora on a cycle tour spanning across Europe and South America, proving that adventures can include your dog, no matter where in the world they may be.
Need some inspiration on where to hike with your dog? Check out our Hiking Guides by State.