Where I live (in the Pacific Northwest), there is some kind of water on the trails year round. Water plus dirt equals one muddy dog. My dogs ride in the backseat of my car so it's a constant battle to keep my dirty dogs from destroying the inside of my car. I know I am not alone in this fight.
I carry a "dog kit" in the car. I put everything I need to help take care of the dogs on the road, including some things to help me keep my car clean, inside of a big bag and keep it in the cargo area. This way I never forget what I need or am left scrambling to gather everything before heading out for a trip.
6 must-have items to help protect your car from muddy dogs:
1) Dog Boots - If your dog will wear them, dog boots are the first line of defense against mud. To clean your dog's feet when you get back to the car, all you have to do is take them off.
2) Cotton Towel — I've tried microfiber towels to dry my dogs off, and knock off some of the dirt, but they just don't work as well as an old, ratty cotton towel. If your dog didn't wear boots, a towel is good for getting dirt out from between their foot pads too.
3) Dog Grooming Wipes — You can use grooming wipes made specifically for a dog's skin, or use all-natural baby wipes, as sort of a mobile bath. They are handy for "washing" extra sticky dirt and mud from bellies and feet. If you have a short hair dog, the wipes may clean them enough that they don't need a bath when you get home.
4) Seat Cover - To keep what dirt is left from sticking to cloth seats, or acting like sandpaper on leather seats, cover them with a blanket or a seat cover. It will catch the remaining dirt and water and can easily be removed or washed when it gets dirty.
5) Whisk Broom — A small whisk broom is great for knocking dried mud off the seats and sweeping mud and dirt off of the floors.
6) Window Cleaner — A small bottle of all-natural window cleaner can be used to clean any grime from the windows left behind when your dirty dog sticks its head out of the window. The cleaner can also be used to clean mud and dirt off of the inside of the doors.
I am proud to be a Dog Mom, and I don't mind that my car screams "I own a dog", but I still try and keep the inside of my car as clean as I can. I don't want the interior to become a "junker" before the car itself wears out from all potholes we bounce over on the way to the trailhead. Hopefully these supplies will help you keep your car clean too.
Do you have any tips or tricks to help protect your car from muddy paws?