Why Do Dogs Like MUD So Much?

Does it seem like every time you take your dog outside, your dog appears to aim right for a puddle of mud? So, why do dogs like mud so much?

Dogs love mud for several reasons. They may jump in if they’re too hot, like the taste or smell, or want to play in it for fun.

why do dogs like mud
Why do dogs like mud so much?

Although your pup enjoys getting dirt caked in their fur, it can be frustrating when you have to clean them up. Luckily, there are a few ways to keep your dog out of the mud.

Why Do Dogs Like Mud?

There are several reasons dogs enjoy a good mud puddle. Here are the reasons why dogs like mud so much:

It Comes From Primal Instincts

Like other strange canine behaviors, loving mud is in their genetics. Experts believe that dogs are drawn to muddy puddles because it’s a self-defense tool. By covering themselves in mud, dogs can erase their scent, masking them from potential threats.

Belgian Shepherd running in the water
Belgian Shepherd running in the muddy water!

Rolling around in mud doesn’t necessarily imply that if your dog does so, they feel in danger. Your domesticated pup may feel its instincts kick in when they see the mud and may not even know why they’re doing it.

Mud Can Help Regulate Temperature

What do dogs and other wild species have in common? They’ll jump into a muddy water puddle to cool themselves off when they get too hot.

dirty Cocker Spaniel
Cocker Spaniel needs a proper grooming.

Think about when you’ve jumped into a pool or the ocean on a hot summer day. The water is generally cooler than the air, and it feels refreshing to surround yourself with it.

Your dog feels the same way. The difference is that your pup doesn’t mind if the water is dirty. In this scenario, your dog is probably jumping into a water source to feel more comfortable.

Your Dog Likes the Smell or Taste

It’s hard to remember sometimes that dogs hail from wild animals. They have their favorite toys and a cozy bed and don’t need to hunt for food. Although your pup lives the good life, its ancestors lived in nature.

Husky dig and sniff
A Siberian Husky dig and sniff on the ground beside the fence.

So, your pup may like the smell or taste of the environment. They may also use the mud to mask a specific scent, like shampoo from their last bath.

If your dog eats mud from time to time, it’s likely nothing to worry about. However, regularly eating non-food items, like mud, may signal a health condition like pica.

Additionally, dogs who regularly eat mud are more likely to be exposed to harmful bacteria or parasites. So, it’s best to discourage the behavior.

Your Pup Wants Attention

Your pup may jump in mud or get dirty to get attention from you. Dogs are intelligent and will learn your patterns with them. So, if your dog got dirty the first time you started shouting, laughing, or reacting in any way, they know it’s a surefire way to get you to notice.

Cocker Spaniel runs through the field
Cocker Spaniel puppy runs through the field towards owner.

You may need to work on their training if this is the case. Then, when you walk past a mud puddle, you should be able to say “no,” and your dog will obey.

Mud Is Fun To Play In

Lastly, mud is just a good time for your dog. Mud splashing around is interactive, so your dog may enjoy running around and trying to catch the splatter.

German Shepherd soaking wet
German Shepherd is soaking wet and needs a proper bath.

Your dog may have even noticed that you may laugh when they start playing in the mud and think you love the dirt as much as them.

How To Keep Your Dog Out of the Mud?

It isn’t much you can do to change your dog’s love for playing in puddles of water or muddy grounds. However, there are a few ways you can prevent it from happening.

Avoid Muddy Walks

The best way to avoid a muddy dog is to prevent the mud altogether. Aim to walk on sidewalks or areas where the soil is less likely to pool. If you see a dirty spot as you approach, do what you can to avoid it.

dog with his owner
A dog with his owner runs under a light rain!

Say “No!”

Training your dog to obey commands is one of the best ways to eradicate unwanted behavior. When your dog starts heading for the mud puddle, sternly say “no.”

Sussex Spaniel stands on the grass
Sussex Spaniel stands on the grass looking on for his owner.

If your dog averts their gaze from the mud and continues walking, reward them with a treat.

Don’t Encourage the Behavior

We encourage our dog’s behavior more than we often realize. Don’t react when your dog jumps in the mud; even an adverse reaction can encourage your pup.

happy dog jumps
A happy dog at the park is jumping.

Don’t shout or try to scold your dog if they’ve already gotten dirty. They won’t understand why you’re yelling or upset and won’t make the connection that you’re unhappy about the mud.

Ensure Your Dog Has a Balanced Diet

You may need to double-check the nutrients in your dog’s food to ensure they’re getting enough if your dog often eats mud. They may be eating dirt in an attempt to make up for the inadequate nutrition.

Dalmatian eats healthy food
A Dalmatian eats her favorite healthy dog food!

Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best way to provide a nutrient-dense diet for your pet.

Cover Mud in Your Backyard

If your dog tends to get muddy running around in the backyard, there are a few ways to prevent it from getting out of hand. Try using a thick layer of hay or straw to cover up any muddy areas in your yard.

German Shepherd sits on a rug
A German Shepherd sits on a rug on the front porch.

Another method is to create a patio in-between your door and the backyard. Use concrete or flagstone for this area and top it with outdoor matting designed to scrub the dirt off. Alternatively, you can use a dog doormat.

While this method may not solve the issue of full-body mud, it can help keep your pup’s feet clean before they come inside.

What To Do When Your Dog Gets Muddy?

If your dog gets muddy, try not to panic. Do what you can to soak up the moisture before bringing your dog to the car. It’s a good idea to have dog towels and an empty bag if your dog gets dirty. You can also use a towel or old blanket to cover your seats and keep them clean.

Shih Tzu with towels
The Shih Tzu is getting ready for his bath with different colors of towels around!

Once you’re home, you may want to towel off your dog again to remove any dirt that dried in their fur. Then, direct your dog to the bathroom and wash your dog to remove the dirt that’s left.

After they’re dry, give your pup a good brushing. Dirty hair or fur can cause tangles, which can lead to uncomfortable matting.

However, keep in mind that each time you wash your dog, you remove healthy bacteria on their skin. Too many baths can lead to skin irritations or even infections. So, do what you can to avoid muddy situations.

Wrap Up

We love our dogs unconditionally, though it can be frustrating when it seems like they’re constantly dirty. Why do dogs like mud so much? Their love of mud comes down to instincts, enjoying the earthy smells and tastes, or getting your attention.

Ensure you train your dog with the “no” command to deter your pup from jumping in the second they see a mud puddle. Avoid muddy areas to limit the chances of your dog going for a muddy swim.

If your dog tends to get muddy in the backyard, cover those areas with hay or straw to limit it.