Should I Allow My Great Dane to Play in the Mud?
We love a dirty dog.
Messy home issues aside, letting your dog get dirty may actually be one of the best things for them!
Great Danes LOVE mud and many dogs have a hard time keeping out of it.
There are actually biological and behavioral reasons for this! When your dog refuses to stay clean, they aren’t being stubborn. They are simply satisfying a desire to enjoy the moment.
SHOULD I ALLOW MY GREAT DANE TO PLAY IN THE MUD? MUD IS NATURAL PLAY FOR DOGS
So many dogs are not getting the physical and mental enrichment that they need.
A few rubber toys and a leashed walk on pavement is the human equivalent of living in a basement and walking on a treadmill. No wonder so many Great Danes are anxious, destructive, frantic and ‘stubborn’!
1000’s of years ago, dogs would roll in the mud to mask their scent from predators.
These days, dogs find this behavior to be very fun and enriching. The mud is cool, fun to play in and feels great on their paws!
IS PLAYING IN MUD BAD FOR DOGS?
Playing in mud and dirt is incredibly enriching for dogs.
Dirt and mud are full of unique and interesting smells. It feels good on paws and feet and provides an incredible opportunity to exercise the shoulders, hips, pasterns and core while digging, running and playing.
Dogs that dig up the garden and the lawn have given themselves an important job to do!
Pro tip: If you don’t want your dog digging up your garden, use supervision to prevent the behavior and make sure your dog is getting plenty of enrichment outside of the yard. You can also dedicate a ‘digging spot’ and redirect your dog to it until they understand that they are allowed to dig there.
DIRT, ALLERGIES AND HEALTH
A dog should never ingest or inhale mud; it can contain parasites and other things that may be dangerous to their health. Supervision is necessary!
However, access to free-play in dirt, mud and the outdoors can:
- Help reduce stress and anxiety (Bloat and Gut Health and Anxiety)
- Combat depression (Engagement for Your Dog)
- Reduce boredom (Your Puppy is Bored)
- Boost the immune system
- Help with digestion and cardiovascular health (10 things you should know about Great Dane Health)
- Reduce allergies (GREAT DANE SKIN ISSUES)
- Soften toenails, paw pads, skin and fur
- Improve balance and coordination
- Strengthen muscles (HOW TO STRENGTHEN YOUR DOG’S FEET)
Remember, lean & fit dogs live on average 2 years longer than dogs that are allowed to become lazy and overweight. Not only that, but the stress reduction can mean a reduction in bloat risk, too!
CLEANING A MUDDY GREAT DANE
Once you’ve let your Great Dane enjoy the mud, you have to get them clean again.
Here are a few tips:
- Make baths and cleaning part of a positive routine. If your dog is resistant, start slow and work up to making baths ‘no big deal’ by using treats, praise and fun. We recommend this Natural Dog Company Shampoo.
- Use a MUDBUSTER; keep this by the door and train your dog to calmly wait while you wash each paw. Simply plunge their paw into the cup and watch it come out clean. This is GREAT for people who have muddy yards!
- Use a microfiber paw dirt catcher mat. These feel great on paws and will pick up loose dirt, snow and water quickly as your dog runs over it.
Pro tip: Don’t use squirt bottles as a training method; all they do is teach your dog fear being sprayed with water (which they need when they are muddy)! (What is Great Dane Dominance Training?)
Do you let your Great Dane play in the mud?
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The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only. We do our best to present the most up-to-date research, however it is up to the reader to make decisions regarding the health and well-being of their dog. We make no claims here to prevent or treat bloat, Panosteitis, DCM or any other condition related to Great Danes. Find a veterinarian with GIANT breed experience, and chat with them.
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