Recently a friend and reader wanted to know some tips on managing St. Bernard drool. What drool?
The question got me thinking about other, more immediate problems perhaps less top-of-mind for my Manhattanite pal. Like mud mitigation. Whether you have a backyard, open space or a tiny corner of grass under an urban tree, a large dog will find the mud. Here are some mud management tips that we've discovered:
- Instead of mud flaps, try a T-shirt. A medium-sized woman's T-shirt works great on a 125-lb. Saint. We especially like long-sleeved jerseys, which cover up the mud-magnet front legs nicely. The waist area can droop and drag as it gets wet, so use a string or rubber band to keep it tight. A place called Muddy Mutts offers a dog raincoat for this purpose, but I suspect the waders-style covering might prove embarrassing for the animal.
- When you get home, pull off the T-shirt and voila! Clean fur, except for the feet.
- A good foot wash with the garden hose can take care of the remaining mess. Foot baths work even better, but our Saints don't like water between their toes for prolonged periods.
- Towel dry. This rub-down is often much-loved by the big dog, so a word of advice: Occasionally provide the towel-dry when the animal is not muddy or wet. Some people underestimate a Saint's intelligence. You do not want deliberate mud-gathering in order to prompt the luxurious towel rub.
- It's best to assume that even a foot wash cannot get rid of those tiny bits of sand and muck that have worked their way up into the thick Saint fur. So, once you've thoroughly dried each paw, try socks. (More on this later.)
- Even with all this, you may still find stray dirt around the house. So for the last step (or perhaps, resort), try using your old sheets as floor cover-ups. Now the tough part is getting your big dog to lie on top of the sheet instead of right next to it.
What do you do to keep the mud outside, where it belongs? Please share your tips, too.