I first saw the Mudbuster at a pet products trade show a couple of years ago. I was intrigued by the vaguely medical, playful look of the device: a deep plastic tumbler, lined with soft silicone bristles. “What the heck is that?” I asked, and the guy in the booth said, “It’s the Mudbuster! It’s for cleaning your dog’s feet!”
It took me only a moment to dismiss the product’s intended use as ridiculous. Who needs a special device just to clean a dog’s paws?
Recently, though, I saw one on display in my favorite local pet supply store and made a scoffing noise, the manager told me, “Don’t laugh! You know what it’s great for? Dogs who have a yeast infection in their feet. It’s a perfect way to soak their feet in a solution of half apple cider vinegar and half water, and lightly debride the funky tissue. I’ve recommended it as a solution to a number of clients and everyone who has tried it has had very good results!” she said.
I immediately bought one. Neither of my dogs have yeasty feet, but I’ve heard of many dogs that do and this seemed like the perfect tool and an effective treatment for the chronic condition. I told the manager that I would recommend the product for this purpose in WDJ.
Easily Cleaning Your Dog’s Feet
Before I had a chance to do this, however, I ended up finding a non-medical use for the product after all. I recently moved to a new house, one with white tile floors in the entry and kitchen. And the property, it turns out, is absolutely infested with gophers; new gopher hills appear on the front lawn and in the back field daily. And Woody, my two-year-old pit/Lab-mix, has become obsessed with digging up the gopher holes. He runs to each new mound, gives each one a few quick swipes of his paws, and shoves his whole head down into the gopher hole, absolutely huffing the the gopher scent. He hasn’t seen a gopher yet, but I am hopeful that when he does, he will figure out a way to dig up, catch, and kill some of the pests, so I don’t have to resort to setting traps or other elaborate ways to save the lawn and garden.
Significantly, the prevalence of new gopher mounds and my dog’s interest in them has meant that I do have to clean his feet every time he goes outdoors and then comes back inside, at least five times a day – that is, unless I don’t mind looking at dirt-red footprints all over my white floors. For the first few weeks after I moved, I used my old “dog towels” to wipe Woody’s feet clean every time he came inside – and ended up washing an insane number of dog towels; there were some in every load of laundry I did! Then I realized I had the Mudbuster in my office and brought it home to try.
Using this tool to clean Woody’s feet has dramatically cut down the number of towels I go through. Instead of needing a separate towel each time I have to clean all four feet (but especially his front/digging feet), I half-fill the Mudbuster with water and dunk each paw into the device a few times. Then I can use the same towel all day to quickly and simply dry his freshly cleaned feet. To finish, just pour out the muddy water and rinse the Mudbuster in the sink. (It can be run through the dishwasher for a more complete cleaning.)
I think this would also be a great tool for people who live in areas where salt and other chemicals are used to melt ice and snow on sidewalks. The Mudbuster would rinse the harsh chemicals off dogs’ feet much more thoroughly and much more easily than trying to hose or wipe them off.
The Mudbuster comes in three sizes; the “Medium” is shown here. It’s available for $15 to $23 from many pet supply stores, online retailers, Target, and Bed, Bath, & Beyond stores.