How to Correct Muddy Dog Runs in the Yard

Dog runs offer a place for your dog to exercise while keeping him safe. Unfortunately, even in a grassy dog run, frequent running in the same area often leads to a muddy mess, especially during rainy seasons. That mud then tracks into the house on your dog’s paws and fur, creating an even bigger mess. Changing the ground covering in your dog run can help control the muddy mess while providing a safe and enjoyable place for your favorite canine companion.

Dirty Dog
Chocolate lab playing in the mud.
credit: ArmanWerthPhotography/iStock/Getty Images

Considerations When Choosing Flooring

When trying to solve a muddy dog run, there are many things to consider. Cost is by far one component that limits the flooring type you choose. Your dog’s safety must be a top consideration. While some flooring options may help keep him clean and end the muddy mess, they may pose health risks. When choosing a new flooring option for your dog run, consider talking to local vets or dog parks to see what ground options they recommend.

A Private Patio Run

Concrete is one flooring option for a dog run that ends the mud problem but it can be expensive. When poured at a slight angle, it provides drainage and can be hosed off and cleaned. Unfortunately, it can absorb urine, creating spots and smells. When it comes to your dog, concrete is not always the most comfortable option. Concrete is a hard surface that retains cold in the winter and heat in the summer. If using concrete, you will want to build a raised bed or something similar for your dog to rest on. A similar option are tightly placed garden pavers.

Create an Upscale Kennel Deck

Another option is kennel decking. This material typically comes in sections that lock together to fit the size of your dog run. The decking is designed to sit above the ground and allows for drainage and easy cleaning. Most brands are chew proof, weatherproof and resist bacteria and insects.

Natural Solutions Have Pros and Cons

For a more natural look, you can choose ground covering such as sand, pea gravel, river rocks or mulch. While these options help with the mud problems, they come with problems of their own. Mulch or straw can harbor bacteria and fungus. Sand can become dusty in dry weather. Rocks can cause injury to your dog’s feet; smaller rocks may appeal to a hungry dog, resulting in possible obstructions. In addition, most of these options will need regular replacement or additional product to maintain an even surface.

An Artificial Natural Look

A more expensive alternative is an artificial grass designed specifically for dog runs. The design of this grass allows for water and urine to pass through, so it does not puddle. It is a soft surface, similar to natural grass and offers your dog a nice, comfortable place to play and rest. This artificial grass is often used in larger dog parks to reduce maintenance while providing a nice surface, regardless of weather.