Dogs love to play in the dirt and mud – it’s natural. As a dog owner, I enjoy letting my pups do what they do best while outdoors. Unfortunately, that means frequently cleaning doggy paws after digging holes or even just from a few minutes outside to go to the bathroom after heavy rain. In the spring time when the snow is melting and the ground is soggy, this becomes a recipe for a filthy disaster.
My method for cleaning off dog paws used to be simply wiping them with a towel that I kept by the door. This gave me less than ideal results and a stinky, dirty towel that hung around the entryway.
Thanks to wonderful and innovative pet product companies, we now have easier options for cleaning our dog’s paws, and properly cleaning paws may be more important than you think.
Jorge Bendersky, a celebrity dog groomer, pet expert, and best-selling author, says paw cleaning should be completed after every walk, especially during the winter months. Ice melting products on the bottom of their paws can be hazardous to dogs if frequently licked and also cause damage to the flooring in your house. Dr. Karen Becker also claims that 50 percent of foot licking and chewing can be alleviated by frequently washing dogs’ paws.
Apart from our dogs’ health, dirty paws can also damage carpets, flooring, and furniture throughout the house. So how can we properly wash dog paws before coming into the house? I tracked down the best dog paw washers available today, take a look below to see which type will work best for you and your pooch!
Paw Cleaning Kit
I recommend choosing one of the three paw cleaners below. You may also want to add in a towel and paw wipes for extra cleaning power.
Best Dog Paw Washers
So what are the best way to get those puppy paws clean, and how are they better than the bath towel I’ve been using in the past? Let’s break them down by category and show you the best of the bunch. Go with whatever option (or combination of options) sounds best for your dog and home.
First up, I’ll call these devices “washing cups”. The basic gist is you have a cylinder/cup with some brushes on the inside that you add a bit of water too, stick in a paw, twist the cup a few times, and most of the mud/dirt is cleaned from the paw!
- Low-tech, easy to use, and clean
- Relatively cheap and easy to transport
- May be hard to use for dogs that don’t like their feet handled
If your dog is okay with you holding their paws, then I think this is a must-have as your first line of defense against dirt and mud! These devices really nicely, especially in the case of caked-on mud. That being said, there’s no real drying element to them, so you may still need to use a towel before letting your dog inside right away to get any remaining water off their paws.
In my opinion, the best paw cleaning cup is the Dexas Mudbuster. The Mudbuster is available in small, medium, and large sizes to match your pet. The soft, silicone bristles inside the cup can be removed and unrolled to easily rinse off, which leaves the cup itself an easy clean as well.
- The medium MudBuster is perfectly sized for medium sized dogs: it measures 6 inches tall and 4 inches...
- To use, add a little water, insert the muddy paw, do the twist, dab the paw dry, repeat for 3 more paws
- The gentle silicone bristles will help remove dirt and mud from your dog's paws- keeping the mess in the...
Paw Boss Washer
Paw Boss is a patented paw washing device that’s relatively new and patented in the US. The most unique and impressive feature of the Paw Boss paw cleaner is that it can soap and soak each paw with clean water without having to keep dumping and refilling, thanks to separate dirty and clean water reservoirs.
Another great benefit of the Paw Boss is how low to the ground it sits. Many paw washers are taller and require you to pull your dog’s leg up and place it into the washer. However, with the Paw Boss washer, your dog can walk right up to it and place its paw in the washer without tipping it over.
It’s not quite as portable as the Mudbuster and takes a bit more setup, but if you’re looking for something to primarily sit by your entry way, this may be a good option for you.
So let’s say you want something to dry those paws off with after you’ve busted all the mud off them – what’s best for that?
- Soap & soak every paw with fresh clean soapy without going back and forth to the sink
- Wash opening is 3.5" diameter at 2.25" max deep with soft/flexible finger-like cleaning pad in cup
- Proven (with the use of antibacterial soap) to remove 99.5% of the bacteria and 99.9% of the fungi
More Tools for Spotless Paws
I’ve ditched the cotton bath towels I was using for my dogs and upgrade to a shammy! A shammy is a special kind of towel specifically designed for absorbing water and drying quickly. You may be familiar with these for drying off a car, but did you know there are shammies specifically for drying off your pooch?
Enter the Soggy Doggy Super Shammy. Soggy Doggy makes a whole line of awesome absorbent materials to make your life better like doormats and dog beds. My dogs can be quite messy drinkers, so I keep a Soggy Doggy doormat right by their water bowl which works great.
- Super absorbent, microfiber chenille dog towel
- Holds up to 7x its weight in water
- Quick drying and no "wet doggy" smell
The Soggy Doggy Super Shammy is perfectly engineered for wiping your pet down, paws and all. It’s 5x more absorbent than cotton towels and can hold 7x its own weight in water. The microfiber material is washer/dryer safe and dries quickly. The textured strands on this shammy give it an extra surface area for absorption, soaking up more water before it becomes saturated (you certainly know that feeling if you try drying a wet dog with a regular bath towel).
Measuring 31 inches long and 14 inches wide, what really makes the Super Shammy special is the hand pockets on each end of the shammy. The pockets come to a point that lets you get your hands in there and clean those hard-to-reach areas on your dog – around the ears, under the collar, between the toes, etc.
- Easy to use and clean, doesn’t scare or startle dogs
- Extremely versatile and reusable
- Very inexpensive
- Another item to run through the laundry from time to time
For me, the Soggy Doggy Super Shammy is the one must-have if you live in any place that gets a moderate amount of rain or if your dog regularly gets into dirt/mud. It’s such a big upgrade from typical bath towels, I only wish I found this sooner.
Another option worth considering for cleaning paws is to use a dog paw wipe, specially formulated to be safe for your pets. I don’t like to use a paw wipe for everyday use as they may not be the most environmentally friendly option, but they can be very useful if your pet’s paws are irritated or if they need some extra cleaning (like if they stepped in dog poop)! If you’d like to prevent your pup from stepping or rolling in dog poop so often, check out our new guide to pooper scoopers.
- Petkins Paw Wipes for Dogs and Cats - these premium dog wipes/cat wipes make removing even the toughest...
- Keep Your Pet's Paws Clean and Healthy - the extra-absorbent pet paw wipes are gentle enough to use every...
- Veterinarian Approved - the easy to use Petkins paw wipes are moistened with aloe, lanolin, vitamin E,...
Here’s how I see individual, one-time paw wipes –
- Cleaning solution helps wipe away germ, dirt, odor, and irritants
- Smell pleasant and easy to use/store
- Non-reusable which makes these more expensive over time
- Not the most eco-friendly product
My go-to brand for paw wipes is Petkin. They have a long history of delivering great, safe products for pets. It should also be noted that you may be able to find products like baby wipes for cheaper, but those may include ingredients that are harmful for your pet to ingest. It’s always better to stick to a wipe designed specifically for pets as they may end up licking their paws after a cleaning.
You should also check out our Bissell BarkBath review, perfect for cleaning your dog in any room in your house!
Other Tips for Muddy Paws
You may be able to fight some of your battle against muddy paws outdoors. Here are a few tips for preventing mud pits from happening in the first place which could make using a paw washer much more effective and easier.
Monitor Your Dogs to Prevent Digging
Natural vegetation like grass typically does a nice job at preventing mud, but if your dogs start digging holes then the water will instantly hit the dirt and you’ve got yourself a nasty mud pit.
Try to keep an eye on your dog while they’re outside to prevent them from digging holes.
Install Mulch, Gravel, or Tiles in High Traffic Areas
If your dogs have worn the grass down in frequently trafficked areas and paths, you may have a hard time getting grass to grow back as your dogs never give the area a break.
If this is the case, you should consider adding a hard material to the path such as gravel or paver tiles which won’t get your dog’s paws muddy as they go about their business.