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beachdogz

MUD!!! Help!!!

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I'm loving these mild winters we've been having here in Western PA, but not so much the mud!  The dog's potty yard has turned into large patches of mud.  We've gotten mats to cover the area just coming off the porch, but we can't mat the entire yard. 

I googled it,  and one fix was to put cedar or pine shavings down.  Does anyone know if this would be toxic to the puppies -- who eat everything and anything they get their mouths on.  We had to take out all the mulch from around the fence border because they were so intent on eating it -- so even more mud there.  Will probably be putting river rocks around it. 

Don't want to use pea gravel because of the size, and don't want to pea gravel the entire pen as one you tuber suggested. 

I could do straw, but they love to eat that and holes and mud seem to bleed through that rather quickly.

So my main questions are:

1.  Are cedar chips toxic if eaten?  (One google answer said no and another said yes) Are pine shavings toxic?

2.  Has anyone found any other solutions to this problem?

 

Thanks in advance!

Bonnie

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2 hours ago, beachdogz said:

...(One google answer said no and another said yes)...

Keep searching for more info. I did a search that returned dozens of hits, but I'm not going to read all of them for you. ;)

The one I did take a look at said this: "The fungus Aspergillus fumigatus thrives in damp bark and wood chip. When ingested or inhaled, this fungus can poison your dog and has the potential to cause serious liver damage. Some types of wood chip are treated with chemicals. Chemically treated chips may prove hazardous if ingested."

The fungal issue would give me great pause, especially because it's not always visible.

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I am unsure about the wood chips. I know some dog parks use wood chips so hopefully it would be safe for dogs?!? However I didn’t look into what type of wood chips being used since I wasn’t planning on going there. Have you looked at wood pellets? The kind that can be used as cat litter? I think it’s supposed to be safe and possibly help with the mud.

I realized this might not always be a valid solution... but to combat the muddy yard I have been walking my dogs more. If I stumble upon more funds somehow I plan on getting xpen to portion my yard to help the grass and to hopefully make less mud.

To run them we go to dog friendly parks or hiking spots that are either covered in snow or are not muddy.

Have not been enjoying this mild winter in western Pennsylvania. I love my snow. 

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54 minutes ago, SS Cressa said:

Have not been enjoying this mild winter in western Pennsylvania. I love my snow. 

haha.  You're in Erie, right?  You should have plenty of snow!!  :D

We looked at the wood shavings on-line and decided that the puppies would just gulp them up.  Maybe if I had adult dogs....but not with these two.  We are contemplating sand.  Yep, we know we will have sand in the house.  But it may be easier to knock off their paws instead of the mud.  The mud is just killing my carpeting.  We shampooed the carpets today.  Couldn't believe  the caked in mud. 

As for the "trench" that runs along the fence line (which they LOVE to travel), we are also going to look into narrow patio stones (like border stones) as another option to the smooth river rocks. 

If anyone has any other ideas, I'd love to hear them.  I can't be the only one with mud!

 

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Look for "shredded hardwood mulch".  This is produced when arborists prune deciduous trees and run the branches through a chipper.  It is much less likely to be toxic than pine or cedar, and should be cheap since it is a waste product.  I use this often for clients who have dogs.

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We are seriously ready to be done with mud here in N. Maryland. It’s not just the four Border collies and all they track in - it’s also some of the night pens for the sheep that have been ankle deep in muck. 

I’m afraid I don’t know anything about the toxicity of wood chips - my dogs were past the point of wanting to eat them, so that wasn’t a concern. We did try wood chips in the dog yard a year or two ago. They just floated in the puddles during the year when the Rain Would Not Stop. This year we’re (literally) in the process of having a brick “patio” installed at the base of our deck in the dog yard, in the spot that got muddiest. Filter cloth then sand then bricks, all in a frame of (I think) 6 x 6”s. The area right outside said brick area is currently turning mucky because of the heavy equipment/traffic. We’ve put hay down but it’s just disappearing in the mud. I’ll let you know in a year if it’s worth the $$$. 
 

We also had major Swamp Control work done just recently in the night pen I use for my lambs. It’s on a slope, and it’s a Quagmire whenever it rains. We just paid $$$ to have a French drain installed; filter cloth put down; river rock (LARGE size) installed on slope; gravel on flatter portion at the bottom. It seems to be helping but it’s only been a few weeks. 
 

In past years I’ve had gravel put down in muddy areas directly on the ground (in sheep night pens). Mistake. It gets swallowed right into the mud. I’ll never do this again without putting filter cloth down underneath. Or maybe I’ll just save my pennies (dollars) and have concrete poured. Easier to power wash, and I’ll never need to trim sheep feet (not like I do already; my sheep don’t generally need it). Gravel would be a pain in any area that needed mowing as it would get kicked around by dogs and then by mowers. 
 

Keep us posted on what works for you - inquiring minds want to know!

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Yup in Erie and we still have no snow where I am. I have to go south of I90 to get to any decent snow. <_< My co-worker love it... me I like a snowy winter. I was in my element when we got those 4-5 feet of snow 2 years ago. Lol one of the only times I got the side eyes from my dogs when I asked them to go for a walk. :lol: They were willing if I made the path for them since no sidewalks were shoveled. 

While I don’t think it is healthy the wood pellets that is use is supposed to be safe for curious mouths aka kittens and puppies. I have seen breeder use it for potty training 3-8 week old puppies when everything goes in their mouth. 

Good luck. 

*We did just get maybe an inch of snow this morning but it already melted back into mud by mid morning. <_<

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I never deal with any quantities of mud (live in the desert). But I think if I were in your place, I would just walk the dogs instead of letting them run in the yard, until the muddy time was over.

Or, fence off a very small area to be a "potty pen" , put the mats in there, or gravel or whatever, and use it only for night outings and first thing in the morning when you're not even dressed yet and so on. And for them to be out more than 4 or 5 minutes, take them for walks. I am afraid you will only end up with muddy sand instead of straight mud if you cover the yard with sand.

BUT, I am no expert on mud!

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 I also recommend using wood pellets instead of chips.  As they soak up water they will disintegrate into sawdust, which puppies are far less likely to chew on.  Look for pellets made from hardwoods, with no added glues. You don't have to use any special type of  "bedding pellet" or pellet designed to be kitty litter.  Those are just the waste crumbles left over from making stove pellets, and in the spirit of capitalism, cost even more than the stove pellets do, because, why not?   Put down WAY less pellets than you think you will need.  WAY less.  A 50 lb sack will last half the winter for my duck pen, and ducks are seriously messy.  The first time you try them, dump maybe a quart container worth into a particularly sloppy area, and wait a few hours to see how much the pellets have broken down and absorbed.  That will give you an idea of how much you need to put down in your entire yard. 

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SS Cressa and Hooper2, are these the wood pellets made for wood stoves or some other kind?  I have ducks, and 50lb bag of anything that lasts a season would be wonderful!

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Yes, I'm referring to the pellets made to be burned in stoves.  Just so I don't build up your hopes too much, I only overwinter a two or three ducks, and I don't put tons of water out for them in the winter.  But still.  Stove pellets are by far the most convenient thing I've found for soaking up mud.  They are just very fine saw dust, but compressed into handy little 40 lb bags that are available everywhere and are about 7 times denser than the same weight of baled sawdust.   And they aren't nearly as messy as sawdust.  

I think some cedar wood shavings could be toxic, but lots of different trees are called cedars, so that may account for why there are conflicting reports about cedar toxicity.  But you can get stove pellets that are strictly hardwood which would eliminate cedar.  I wouldn't worry about fungi on wood pellets.  The reports I've seen of Aspergillus contaminating wood chips were done on large storage piles of composting chips.  A thin layer of muddy sawdust doesn't provide anything like the same temperature, moisture or nutrient conditions that compost piles do.  Keep your stored pellets dry (duh!), and don't apply a deeper layer of pellets than you actually need to your mud pits.

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We don't get as much mud as you described, but we have always used play sand.  It is sand that is finely ground and safe for children.  Hence the name as it is meant to fill sandboxes. It mixes with the mud and you can use as much as you need for your mud conditions.  We have been happy with it.

 

Kathy Robbins

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So I wanted to update what we finally did.  With a forecast of rain, rain, and rain, we had to do something quickly.  We filled in the trough-like border around the fence (which used to have mulch prior to having puppies that eat EVERYTHING) with river rock.  It was quicker than laying patio stones/pavers (which we may still do later on.)  That took are of the mud and of them traveling through it  by running the fence border. 

For the rest of the yard/grass/mud, we used play sand (actually the only sand we had since we use it to fill a sandbox for the grandkids when they visit.)  Still a little messy, but way better than they mud. 

In addition, my carpeting now scatter rugs/runner over it abundantly, and I am making much more effort of wiping paws before coming in. 

So over all, we are managing.

 

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Possible topic hijack here - sorry beachdogz!

I don't think we get mud quite like you get, but we have hot dry summers where our lawn takes a real beating, and four BCs in a smallish yard means we inevitably have bare patches, which result in muddy paws whenever they go out for most of the year.  Our solution has been a small mountain sized pile of dog towels at the back door used to wipe every dog's paws as they come inside.  But there has to be a better way.

So I was wondering if anyone had any experience with a portable dog paw cleaner type contraption?  Something like this:

https://www.amazon.com.au/Small-Green-Petware-Mudbuster-Portable/dp/B01N0EDVXO/ref=asc_df_B01N64D5FF/?tag=googleshopdsk-22&linkCode=df0&hvadid=341791787261&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=11085893069673429682&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9072423&hvtargid=pla-309635066778&th=1

I would look at getting one if I thought it really worked, as having to wipe and wipe and wipe 16 paws multiple times a day is frustrating.  Not sure how it would work for multiple dogs?  I realise I would then need to dry the paw off, but drying a wet paw is easier than trying to wipe mud off.

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No hijack at all since it's all about the MUD!!!   lol.  I, too,  am curious if anyone has used this.  I am also going to try to think of a way to make my own.  I have had to resort to paw wiping, however, two 7 month puppies are hard to corral and hold still after running amuck in the yard.  Wiping their paws is like hitting a moving target.  In addition, I now have a long line of scatter rug runners that lead from the door, through the hall, to the kitchen.  They are getting the mud that I missed, and I just have to toss them into the washing machine each week.

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We sit just inside the back door with the towel, and only let the dogs in one at a time, grab them, make them sit and clean their 'tootsies' as soon as they enter.  This is helped by the fact that we have a fridge on one side and a wall on the other,  right next to the back door, so there is limited space for the dog to try and get past us.  We also have one of those "magic mud grabbing" mats at the back door, which may or may not actually help.  It does seem to pull moisture off. 

 

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