8 Ways to Stop Pets From Tracking Mud Into Your House

Updated: Jan. 10, 2024

From cleaning stations to tried and true products, try these solutions to keep your home debris free.

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A little maltese dog half-covered in mudJOHN MCKEEN/GETTY IMAGES

Cleaning Up After Your Pets

You love your pet, but cleaning up after them can be a real chore. You’ve probably already stocked up on pet-safe cleaning products, and deployed at least some of the tips and tricks every dog or cat owner should know.

But rather than fixing a mess that’s already made, how about preventing your pet from tracking mud into your home in the first place? Read on to learn how.

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Grooming undercoat of Siberian husky dog outdoor.
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Maintain Grooming

Long pet hair can be a magnet for mud. And overgrown hair between the pads of a dog’s paws can easily trap mud and other debris unless it’s properly groomed. Poochesatplay.com suggests grooming all areas where their hair drags on the ground.

“This not only helps make it easier to wipe away or wash off any mud that your pooch may have attracted, but it also helps keep hair from matting which can be made worse when it gets wet and muddy,” according to Pooches at Play.

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Wet pug with a towel on his body in the grooming bathroom
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Build a Cleaning Station

A pet cleaning station can be as grand or simple as you want it. However, the size will depend on what room your pet typically enters the house. You probably wouldn’t want a large bath in your kitchen, while the mud room or garage lends itself to something smaller.

Here’s how to DIY a dog washing station.

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Cropped hand of woman drying the paw of a domestic dog,Poland
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Keep a Towel by the Door

A towel is the simplest, quickest solution to clean off a dirty pet. Microfiber towels are best because they’re more absorbent than cotton, according to Rover.

This grooming towel on Amazon works on any dog breed or size. It’s lightweight but durable enough to last round after round of washes.

Shop Now

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Close-Up Of Dog Paw
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Train Your Pet to Wipe Their Own Paws

Let’s preface this by saying training won’t work for all pets. You know your pet better than anyone, and whether it’s worth the time it’ll take to train them to wipe their own paws. Wagwalking.com says it can take three to six weeks. Start hiding a treat in a towel until they learn the command.

“As you introduce your pup to this concept, you can introduce a simple command word such as ‘wipe your paws,’ or you can use a single word such as ‘wipe’ or ‘paws,’ ” according to the website.

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Cute dog behind safety gate at home
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Set Up Pet Fences

Pet fences work indoors or outdoors. A fence prevents a muddy pet from entering a room with carpet or other places that are difficult to clean. And invisible fences stop pets from tracking through places on your property where they’re likely to get muddy.

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Hand holding an artificial grass roll. Greenering with an artificial turf.
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Install Artificial Grass

This might seem like a drastic measure, but an artificial lawn means no mud, since there’s no dirt underneath the grass. And yes, dogs can pee and poop on some artificial turfs.

“It drains away in the same way as rainwater,” according to turfresh.com. “However, you will need to scoop up and dispose of dog poop just as you would do when your furry friend makes a mess on regular grass.”

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Grass seeds in a hand sprinkling it on a muddy patch in the lawn
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Fix Muddy Spots

OK, so you don’t want to replace your entire lawn. Instead, go outside with your dog or cat the next time it’s raining or the ground is wet and see where exactly they’re tracking mud from. Lay down grass seed or sod if there’s a bare patch in your lawn that turns muddy in the rain.

This will obviously take a long time, since grass doesn’t grow overnight. Repeat the process until all trouble spots are fixed.

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Dog boot on a wooden floor
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Try Pet Shoes

Your furry friend will almost certainly hate them, but pet shoes can be put on and taken off just like human shoes. They’re also good for protecting your pet from cold weather. But Litter-robot.com suggests limiting how long your cat wears them for best results.

“Your cat may tolerate cat booties made of soft material like silica gel for a short amount of time, especially under specific circumstances, before he tries with real effort to get them off,” according to the Litter Robot Blog.