Updated: Jan 16, 2021
I love taking my dog out on hikes with me any chance I get, and whenever he sees some mud... Well, he acts as if it's his job to run and lay in it. Most cars don't stand a chance against the muddy paws, wet fur, and that wet dog smell. (You know exactly what I'm talking about.) Before you go out, make sure to ask yourself: Is my car properly equipped to handle puddle parties? If not, don't worry, here are some helpful tips and products on how to protect your car from muddy paws and bad odors.
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Protecting Your Car
Whether your dog is wet or dry, seat protectors are a great investment, a "must-have" as a dog owner. My car has cloth seats, so if I didn't have a seat protector I would have dog hair, dirt, and stains everywhere. Even if your vehicle has leather seats, you still want to protect it from all those things and the risk of a tear or puncture from nails.
Seat Protector: Thick, waterproof, and durable are exactly what you want. OKMEE has an amazing seat cover that offers it all. They have a 4-in-1 car seat cover which easily converts between a dog hammock, bench car seat protector, front seat cover, or a cargo liner. Easy cleaning with the ability to just vacuum off pet hair and throw it in the washer. This cover also comes with a seatbelt leash gift to keep your pet safe for the ride!
*For your pet's safety make sure to attach the safety belt to your dog's harness and not their collar.
Smell Protection: Whether your pet got car sick or they just couldn't hold it any longer, accidents happen. Angry Orange Odor Eliminator is my favorite spray on the market right now. You can use it to clean up any mess, and not have to worry about any dangers to your children or pets! I use this in my home, and for work as well. Being a dog walker, smells, and accidents happen on a regular basis. I use this to clean the company van and my personal car when I use it to transport dogs. We used to use Nature's Miracle, and I still think that it's an amazing product, but I prefer Angry Orange after trying it out.
Kennel and Waterproof Bed: Depending on your vehicle or just overall preference for transporting your pet, a crate might be a good option. MidWest Homes for Pets has a large selection of crates, carriers, and kennel mats. The iCrate is an all-metal crate that can be easily secured for your pet's safety and the Maxx kennel mat is the waterproof bed to choose for your dogs' comfort!
Cleaning your Pooch
Muddy paws are priority number one! I used to keep a water bottle in my car to rinse off my dog's paws in case they got muddy. I'd occasionally run out of water or spill it outside the car, making more mud for them to step in. The ending result was almost always the same. A very wet and muddy towel, semi-muddy paws, and ultimately a muddy car.
MudBuster: Every dog will have a build-up of mud that is just waiting to get on your seats and car door. A friend of mine pulled this nifty product out after a walk last week, so needless to say I had to look into it more! She simply added water, dunked her dog's paw a few times, and BOOM it was clean! Dexas makes a fun paw cleaning product called MudBuster. It comes in 3 sizes and 6 color choices, so you can get one that is the perfect fit for you and your dog! Make sure to follow their sizing chart before ordering so you get the correct size for your pet! Even with the 3 sizes, there is a possibility of your dog's paw being too small or too large.
Fun tip: As a dog walker using a product like this for multiple dogs just isn't realistic. The reason is that it's difficult to individually clean each dog's paws while they all think it's time to give me kisses every time I bend down. However, if you happen to see any medium or tall grass nearby, just let your dog stroll through it before getting into the car or back onto the cement! The grass will clean off a majority of the mud because it mimics the MudBuster but in a more natural way.
*I always recommend keeping extra towels available and a bag to store them, you never know when extra help is needed.
Wipes: If you don't like the idea of putting your dog's paw in a cup, or if your dog is like mine and is against this as well, wipes are a great next step. Pogie makes earth-friendly, hypoallergenic, and bamboo-based Grooming Wipes that are perfect for getting in between those muddy little toes and for wiping off the mud under their belly. This super pack contains 100 fragrance-free fresh wipes! Overall this product is great for cleaning coats, paws, and bums.
There is only one park in the bay area that has a decent rinsing station, which is super convenient! The park is called Point Isabel and it's the largest dog park in the US. They also are one of the most accommodating dog parks in the area by not only offering a rinsing station (which is conveniently located next to the parking lot) but an onsite dog wash/grooming business onsite called Mudpuppies. Either is perfect for cleaning up that mud before allowing them to jump into your car.
After you dry off your pup and clean off that mud, there is one more step. That smell that lingers until you get your dog into a tub for a real bath with shampoo. There are hundreds of different products to help with the smell, this is my go-to. My dog has very sensitive skin and a long list of allergies, so finding a product that smells great and won't dry out or irritate his skin seemed impossible. That was until I tried TropiClean.
Deodorizing: Pet perfumes and cologne only mask unpleasant odors. This is why you need to make sure you get a spray specifically for deodorizing. This means that it breaks down and neutralizes unpleasant odors for longer-lasting effects! There are 7 amazing sents, but the papaya is my absolute favorite. They also offer a foaming waterless shampoo, so you have a little extra help cleaning your pup when out and about. When using both together, it creates fruity heaven for your nose.
*The waterless shampoo works best on areas without dirt or mud.
You and I both know that research is going to be done on your end after reading about all of these recommendations I am listing. So as you read reviews on this specific product you will see some differences in everyone's personal experience. Some people claim that the mist only lingers for an hour, whereas with my dog it lasts for multiple days. Why is it that this spray can stay on certain dogs for days but only last an hour on other dogs?
*I also recommend all of these items for days at the beach!
If you enjoyed this post check out How To Mentally Stimulate Your Dog.