It is this icky time of year where it seems to either rain, freeze, and then warm back up creating a muddy seepage mess. What is worse than trudging through this?

When you live in the country and have dogs, and animals that trudge through this. Dogs that live in a fenced in area or that are staked out next to their dog house seem to be the saddest cases, as they often have mud up to their elbows. Dogs that are kept indoors when let out seem to run through the same path creating not only muddy paws, but a mess indoors.

Here are some solutions: Please give corn cob bedding a try. Mainly used for horses in their stalls or ground area, these bits of cob not only make the area look nice, but seems to keep the mud at bay. Our dogs and chickens walk the same muddy path with little or no mud whatsoever on their feet when we use this.

This product is biodegradable and after about four months looks like it has been dissolved. You may purchase a large bag at Rural King for $4.45. Many of my friends and relatives have tried this and are happily experiencing mud free days!

Another solution could be straw. Straw can be somewhat messy and may mold, but I have known many to use this and claim it seems to dissolve within a few short months as well.

Finally, there is sawdust. Sawdust again can be purchased at a tractor supply, Rural King, or some feed stores. It comes in large flake or small. There are also people that use sand with some success.

When mud is in your dog’s feet, it gets up in between their paw pads harboring bacteria, as well as when dried are like concrete like rocks that lodges deep in the pad, and cause pain. It will also start spreading their paw pads causing splaying which in turn will widen them out permanently in which thorns, briars and rocks become lodged deep in pad.

As a dog will age there will be a widening of the pad causing permanent splaying of their toes and over time will inhibit dog to walk properly or hardly at all.

So please notice the surrounds in which your dogs live and help them get out of the mud!

Colleen Zulueta is president of the Cumberland County Pet Connection Charity

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