No Space? How to Create a Dog Friendly Mudroom Anyway

Oh, how I drool over photos of fancy dog friendly mudroom ideas on Pinterest.

But the problem is, every house I have lived in had no space for me to build a mudroom.

Not having one causes a problem for me when I come home from a rainy walk or muddy hike with my dogs and they are caked with dirt.

If I let my dogs go right inside, they track dirt all over the house.

UPDATED: December 30, 2022

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So I’ve had to get creative when it comes to making a space where I can clean up my dogs when we come home.

Below, I share some of my “mudroom” entryway ideas.

My Goals for a Dog Friendly Entryway

A mudroom is a space set iside in a house where people and pets can take off their dirty clothes and clean up before entering the rest of the house.

I started with a list of what I wanted in a “mud entryway”.

I needed a space where I could:

  • Hang a towel that I could grab quickly to dry my dogs off
  • Keep dog grooming wipes handy so I could easily clean off feet, faces, and, knock on wood, remove a little dog poop.
  • Hang wet dog jackets, leashes, and harnesses to dry
  • Store the most-used, season appropriate items
  • Store other small items I may need like paw balm and poop bags

My problem I haven’t had a separate room to designate for this purpose in the houses I’ve lived in.

The available space in my entryways have also been very limited.

I had to get creative.

Where You Can Create a Mudroom if Your House Doesn’t Have a Space

If your house does not have space for a traditional mudroom, there are still ways to create a dog-friendly area for your furry friend.

Here are a few options you could consider:

1) Use an entryway bench or shoe rack

You can put hooks on the wall right inside your door and use a small bench or cabinet with drawers or organize shoes, jackets, and other pet supplies.

2) Utilize a small closet or pantry

If you have a small closet or pantry near your front door, you could convert it into a dog-friendly space.

YOu can add some shelves, or put a small dresser in it, to create storage for leashes and other supplies.

You can hang dog jackets and a towel on the inside wall using hooks.

3) Set up a mudroom area in the garage

This one is especially relevant if you have an attached garage with a door that enters into the house.

However, it’s possible to do that even if your garage is detached. It just might not be as useful because you will have to take your dog outdoors again before going inside.

Choose a corner by the garage door to place a storage cabinet and hooks for your supplies.

4) Create a designated area outside

If you don’t have any indoor space for a mudroom, you could create a designated area for your dog outside.

How I’ve Created a Cleanup Space in My House for My Dogs

In all cases, I’ve opted for versions of option 1 above – creating a front entry mudroom.

My first house

The first house where I attempted to create a dog cleanup space was and old house in Seattle.

There were stairs leading up to a very small covered porch and then our front door opened up directly into the livingroom.

I started with the porch. The porch is my first line of defense for my house against a muddy dog.

I bought a cute metal pail and put towels in it. Now when we come home all muddy, my dogs get toweled off here before they are allowed in the house.

Inside the door, I placed a small dresser and some hooks on the wall.

If my dog’s jacket and harness were really dirty, I took them off and left them on the porch until I could throw them in the washing machine.

If the jackets were just a little wet or dirty, I wiped the dirt off with the towel and hung them inside on the hooks to dry.

I placed a boot tray filled with “sea glass” inside the door for me so that air could circulate around my shoes and dry them faster.

I repurposed my little green dresser as a storage space for dog jackets, dog supplies, my headlamp, gloves and earmuffs, etc.

The area that I repurposed was a total mess when I started.

entryway 1

Check out my transformation of this space. I’m so proud!

Our current house

I thought space was limited before, but it was a new shock and challenge when we moved into a 650 square foot “small house”.

Again, our front door opens up directly into our livingroom, which is about half the size of our old one so there was even less space.

However, in this house, instead of walking through the livingroom to get anywhere else in the house, there is a pathway where I can walk past the livingroom and directly into the kitchen.

The livingroom is carpeted but that path, and the kitchen, are not.

Also, there is a covered porch leading up to the back door.

So even though our house is less than 1/4 the size of our old one, I actually have more options for a dog cleanup “mudroom”.

In this house, I placed hooks and the small green dresser in the little entry path adjacent to the livingroom.

This area works great in the summer when the dogs don’t get as dirty on walks and hikes.

The back door enters into the kitchen but it’s fairly large so I was able to put a boot tray and hooks behind the door.

In the winter when it’s wet, we go out the front door – the door where all the jackets, leashes, and supplies are – but come back in through the back door.

I hang a towel near the back door under the covered portion of the deck so it stays dry (warm is another story).

When we return to the house, I lead the dogs through the back yard, stop at the back door, and dry them off and try to brush off as much dirt and mud as I can.

If the dog jackets are wet, which they usually are, I hang them just inside the back door instead of the front door so any drips are caught by the boot tray.

Final Thoughts

I still dream about my perfect dog mudroom.

I still save pictures and articles on Pinterest for the one day we might live in a house with a small entry room I can convert to a mudroom for the dogs.

But the setup I created is really pretty good at preventing the dogs from tracking dirt, mud, and snow into the house.

About the Author

Hi, I’m Jessica. I’m a Dachshund sitter, President of the largest social Dachshund club in Washington State, a dog trainer in training, and I’ve been a Dachshund owner for 20 years. I have over 150,000 hours of experience with the breed. When I’m not working, you can find me hiking, camping, and traveling with my adventurous wiener dogs.

34 Comments

  1. You did a wonderful job Jessica. My husband and I lived in Seattle for 3 years so I know the struggle against tracking in wet and mud — and that was before we got our dachshund! Since it is so damp a lot of the time, I would worry that the towel in the pail outside might get a little mildewy. Not sure if that is long term out there, or something that gets placed in there on your way out the door for a hike.
    Love your blog!

    1. Thanks Angela!…on the entryway and reading oir blog. The towel sits out there but it is something I replace every other day if it gets used/wet. If it’s dry, I won’t change it out as often. The one in the video had been sitting there, unused, for a week with no problems. It does get a tad damp in there though.

  2. Love it ALL! The leash hooks and dog beds especially! My back patio door is my main entrance and opens into my dining room – I’m lucky enough to have a built in cabinet and drawer under the counter and I’m pretty proud of how I’ve organized all the food, grooming products and extras in the cabinet, complete with a coat rack! I’ve got a basket filled with treats, poop bags, leashes and collars on top of the counter, and Ruby has three different dog beds to choose from in the kitchen/dining area since that’s where she spends her days when I’m at work. It’s amazing what you can do with some creativity and a few cute functional focal pieces! Canine interior decorating!

    1. Your little space sounds great. If you have any pictures you should post them on our Facebook psge 🙂

  3. GREAT job!! It’s perfect! We live in an apartment and although we do have a hallway we like to keep it clutter free. I like the dresser idea!!

    1. I am moving in a year or so I and I am pretty sure our new place will be way smaller. It’s going to be a challenge keeping everything accessible but uncluttered for sure.

  4. Holy cow, this is inspiring! I’m pinning it. 🙂 We just adopted a little doxy mix. He’s our first dog ever, and boy, has it been a learning curve. We adore him. Your website has been a great help.

    1. I inherited Chester as a pup. I wanted a dog – a big dog – but had never owned a dog as an adult. I totally understand about the learning curve! I feel I am finally hitting my stride after 10 years 🙂

      The hardest thing for me to get used to was dog hair everywhere.

  5. you did a really great job everything looks awesome! That’s funny that your pups don’t like to cuddle dot dot dot for some reason they look like they should be so snuggly!

    1. I wish they would cuddle. It’s so cute. We settle for occasionally pushing them together and going “Awwww…they’re touching” Ha, ha.

  6. That is awesome! You did a really great job! Love the wipe you paw bucket outside! That is a great idea, I just throw mine on the floor!
    I’m still waiting for my husband to make me a dog wash station for our downstairs area where we let the dogs in from outside. I ask for one every year and still nothin!

  7. Hi! Thanks so much for sharing that! I have the same thing. No entry and 2 dogs! I really appreciate the inspiration! I’ve tried to leave you a comment before and link you to Piper and Scooter, the weiner pop star dogs who have their own CD but couldn’t figure out how to do it! If you want to see some of their songs performed, email me and I’ll send you the link to the youtube videos. Love weens! XO

  8. Really cute!

    We have a tiny tiled entrance with a nice rack for leashes and all, but of course it leads out the front door. Silas almost never goes out that way, since he doesn’t like to walk next to the street. Our back entrance–the one we use all the time–opens right into the dining room. It’s a little awkward. At least we don’t have your worries about the mud!

  9. Love it! I’ve done some of these things, but I am always trying to figure out how to get my items closer together as I have several large dogs and they want to go off in all directions when we arrive home. The mats on the inside AND outside of doors is a MUST! Great job and good to connect with you again!

  10. Great ideas! I had bought a single hook to hang in my laundry room for the 4 leash walker, but need more space to hang the individual leashes. I found a quilted pattern of a little house that has a block of wood at the bottom (between the layers of fabric and batting) that you screw cup hooks into. I’m trying to finish it to put on the other wall in the laundry room. Love the video!

  11. I LOVE the entryway, but I especially love the boot tray idea. Here is So. California we have to deal with fine dirt and dust. The boot tray would go a long way to keep desert dust from tracking into the house! Love everything though. So creative Jessica!

  12. Thanks. You gave some great ideas. I’m going to incorporate some of them since we don’t have an entryway either.

  13. First of all I LOVE LOVE LOVE your living room! I really loved this post because we live on the 2nd floor of a condo/apt building and we walk right into our living room too when we enter. We do have a mat by the door, my husband throws the leash on the chair by the door (I MUCH prefer those hooks you bought and need to check those out). LOVE your cabinet! I could put towels in it for rainy days. Dakota really doesn’t wear jackets.
    I think you did a great job of organizing everything and these are fabulous tips for those of us who are “space-challenged!!”

    1. Hey…that should have been the title of my post…”dog friendly entryway for the space challenged” 🙂 Thanks for the compliment and glad my little space inspired you.

    1. No. I bought the metal boot tray and put the “sea glass” in it. It’s tumbled, recycled glass used primarily for landscaping. I had a bunch leftover from a wedding centerpiece and hot this idea when I saw a lot of boot trays on Pinterest with “river rocks” in them.

  14. Awesome job, looks great! For those really dirty times, we go in the garage and get cleaned up before going in the house, otherwise we have a foyer with a large rug at the front door and a big mat at the back door. We still manage to track in all kinds of stuff, but it could be worse!

  15. Great idea and what a beautiful job you did. Usually when we come back from our walk if the dogs are super muddy I just bring them in through the gate and use the hose to wash them down. They can then wait in the screen porch until I can dry them off. It’s not nearly as nicely thought out as yours, but it works for us. 🙂

    1. I fear that blasting Chester and Gretel with a hose would wash them away! Ha, ha. For sure they would at least hate me 🙂

  16. Hi Jessica,
    We have like 4 dogs in our house, they sleep beside the small office door, problem is hairs are all over the office now, i think the wind direction is contributing where the dog hairs are blown..

    anyway, i love what you did there…i love dogs too..so this post is really adding new knowledge.. guess my aunt is going to get a new dog for her daughter.. so well send them here too… thanks

    1. We have wood floors (as you can see) so hairs find themselves all over the place in our house too 🙂

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