Paws: Spring Cleaning

Spring is in the air and mud is on the ground. What better time to set up a paw-cleaning station?

A shallow pan of water just outside the door can loosen and dissolve some mud. Add to that a strategically placed towel, a canister of baby wipes, and a small wastebasket just inside the door and you'll be ready to tackle those muddy paws before they ruin your carpet and furniture.

If this little cleaning station doesn't fit in with your decor, keep cleaning supplies stashed inside a cabinet, basket, or portable container you can grab on your way to the door to let the dog back inside. Teach your dog to wait just inside the door while you lift his paws up, one at a time, and wipe them off. (It might help to have someone else hold his collar until he learns.) You'll save yourself a lot of trouble and time spent spot-cleaning and vacuuming the house.

A good trim of the nails and paw hair can also reduce the amount of mud your dog tracks inside. Long nails scoop up mud like little shovels, and hair between paw pads can act like a sponge. If you've been lax over the winter with nail trimming, now is the time to break out the trimmers or grinders and shorten those nails to a neat and sensible length. With a blunt-tipped scissors, trim hair from between paw pads and around paws. Neat paws are easier to clean, too.

The original version of this article was published in AKC Family Dog.