Mud Season is here!
Here at Countryside Camp in the Endless Mountains we have the joy of experiencing all four seasons in all of their splendor...Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. But did you know that we have an bonus season here in the great Northeast? The snow is melting, the ground is un-thawing, April showers are making way for May flowers and thus - Mud Season appears! There simply is no other way of getting from the cold, snowy and icy weather to warm spring days without getting through the dirty trenches of mud season - which we have been gliding around in for the past couple of weeks.
Mud Season is inevitable every year and while sometimes it is fun to get down and dirty, it sure does add extra work and worries for us at camp!
When we are out hiking the dogs each day, we are constantly trying to dodge muddy areas to avoid making dirty dogs. This, of course, is easier said than done. Most dogs LOOOOVE to roll and play in the mud and even though we try to dissuade them and pull them out of the muddy areas, they just keep going back. While we do fill in the particularly muddy patches with gravel many times per year, unfortunately, after a couple of weeks, the gravel gets sucked into the ground and the mud reappears.
Mud =1; Camp Counselors = 0
As you can imagine, all this mud adds an enormous amount of work for us! We scrub, scrub and scrub and we give bath after bath after bath! Damn you mud season!
Now, if pups rolling in the mud and extra un-muddying work was all that worried us, we could certainly live with it. However, it is also the fact the pups drink the muddy water and actually eat the mud that makes Mud Season extra yucky. No matter how we beg and plead and pull the pups in the opposite direction, they only seem to want the mud! AND even though we have buckets of fresh and clean water standing everywhere, they still prefer the taste of mud. Sigh! Unfortunately, these mud-eating-contests often lead to upset bellies and diarrhea.
Of course if we notice that a pup is having tummy troubles at camp, we address it immediately. Rice, pumpkin, metronidazole, a call to our on-site camp veterinarian Dr. Dorothy for a parasite test and treatment if needed are all actions that we take to keep our mud loving campers happy and healthy.
However, at times, it takes a few days before the belly issues manifest. Unbeknownst to us, a dog might return home for a day or two before their bellies act up. We often get worried phone call or emails from dog parents wondering what is going on with their fur child and what they can do. Our advice is always: IF you are genuinely worried about the health and wellbeing of your dog, contact your vet and have your furry friend checked out. Your vet might want to do a parasite/bacteria test to make sure there is nothing lurking in the tummy and then treat accordingly if necessary.
If a parasite/bacteria test comes back inconclusive (which happens more times than not) the vet might suggest a bland diet and prescribe metronidazole – an antibiotic that stops the growth of certain parasites and bacteria. However , you might prefer to try some natural home remedies before spending time and money at the vet. You can have your dog fast for one day, making sure he/she drinks plenty of water and then start your pup on a diet of three small meals per day consisting of boiled chicken and rice (no spices or grease). More times than not, this will take care of the problem.
Please don't get us wrong...we are HAPPY that Spring is (almost) here and we accept the fact that there is no way around mud season in the country - it just happens every year!