Muddy Yard Solutions for Dog Owners
Get your muddy yard under control with these dog-approved solutions./
Early spring rain + grass that hasn’t fully grown in = muddy yards that dogs can’t seem to get enough of. (Basic math, right?)
Aside from calling a professional to fix your yard’s drainage system, there are many other solutions you can choose from! We’ll cover a few to fit different budgets, needs and backyard looks.
UNDERSTAND THEIR BEHAVIOR
Ever wonder why your dog goes out of their way to enjoy a nice mud bath? On summer days, the mud actually helps your pup cool off! To help them beat the heat, make sure your pup has a water bowl nearby. Your dog could also be taking a leaf out of their ancestor’s book. Wolves will often roll around in mud to mask their scent—making it easier to sneak up on prey.
The last potential reason behind your pup’s mud-loving behavior? Plain ‘ol boredom! To keep your pup’s mind off the mud, try out some activities to entertain your dog. These could take the form of a trusty classic like a game of fetch or you could try your hand at something new. Dog yoga, anyone?
REROUTE THEIR PATH
Often, it’s the heavily trafficked path leading out from your backdoor that turns into a mini mud pit.
An easy solution that doesn’t require any sort of ground covering? Redirecting your pup! It’s as easy as buying some cheap, plastic fencing and rerouting your dog every few days. By creating a new main path, your dog won’t trample on the same muddy grass—helping them get less muddy and saving you from planting new grass.
We know it’s sometimes nearly impossible to avoid mud especially after heavy rainfall! Placing a super absorbent mat outside your backdoor along with a large bucket of water or baby pool and plenty of old towels will help keep those paws clean(er).
SHORT-TERM GROUND COVERINGS
If you have a mud problem, these solutions will require regular replacement or additional product to maintain an even surface. So, if you’re more of the “set it and forget it” type, skip to the next section for more permanent fixes.
Pros: Straw is an easy temporary drainage solution that helps prevent water from pooling on the surface. Though the pricing depends on your location, straw is usually pretty cheap.
Cons: Fido can track it into the house, straw can harbor bacteria or fungus and you’ll have to put down new straw throughout the season due to decomposition.
Best for: Straw is sold in bales which makes it easy to cover big backyards or you can make a smaller hay walkway for your pup.
Pros: Pea gravel’s smooth surface and small size help cover muddy dog trails while also going on easy on your pup’s paws. Pea gravel also stays relatively cool during hot and sunny days, though it can be hosed down to increase the coolness factor.
Cons: If you live in a rainy climate like the Pacific Northwest, you’ll have to add more gravel each year as it will sink into the mud over time. Owners of active dogs beware: Gravel can also be easily dispersed throughout the yard.
Best for: For fenced yards, pea gravel can help reduce mud around the perimeter where your dog most likely patrols the most.
Generally speaking, these permanent mud solutions will cost more than short-term fixes such as straw. This is just something to keep in mind as you think through your budget!
Pros: Artificial turf is relatively low-maintenance because it’s designed to let urine pass through—you just need to hose it once a week. Turf also feels soft just like natural grass, which will be comfortable for your pup!
Cons: This option is usually not in the budget for most owners. Between materials, labor/installation, overhead and markup, you can expect to pay around 7 to $9 per square foot.
Best for: Whether you’re covering the whole lawn or just an area your dog frequents, turf is better in cooler climates as it can get pretty hot on the surface.
Pros: Out of all the muddy yard solutions, concrete is the most versatile and durable. Whether you go with a full concrete patio or stone pavers placed close together, they’ll be fairly easy to clean. Simply scoop up your pup’s business and wash the area down with a hose!
Cons: Unfortunately, concrete can be uncomfortable for dogs because it stays cold in the winter and holds onto heat in the summer, so you might want to put a raised bed on concrete for your pup. It can also absorb urine, which could create spots and smells.
Best for: If you have a German shepherd or retriever that loves to dig, durable stone or concrete material might be the way to go!
By following these tips and solutions, you can help keep doggie mud baths at bay while still letting your pup enjoy their time in the yard. (GO YOU!)