How to Clean a Puppy's Paws

Easy
5 - 10 Minutes
3 Days

Introduction

Puppies are well known for getting into the messiest of messes. When your hyperactive little pup decides to go for a stroll in a muddy puddle or step right into some roadkill leftovers, it’s important to know how to clean her paws to make sure she doesn’t track the outdoors into the indoors. Knowing how to clean your puppy’s paws will also prevent things like gravel, ice, snow, or dirt from building up in between her toes and causing pain or discomfort. It takes very little time to give her paws a look and a clean, so doing it regularly should become a good habit.

Dog's Perspective

Puppies aren’t very prone to sitting still, especially if yours isn’t used to having her paws touched and rubbed. It can be a little bit annoying to have to stand or sit somewhere and have someone mess with your paws. Your puppy’s patience and attention span may only be so long. Keep this in mind and try not to get frustrated when she bounces and jumps around, thinking you’re playing a game.

The Bathtub Method

Effective
0 Votes
Towel
Step
1
Fill the bathtub with water
The water should only be enough to cover your puppy’s paws and should be just a little warm. Too cold or too hot can be uncomfortable for your pup so making sure it’s pleasant to be in will make sure that she doesn’t try to leap out.
Step
2
Place your puppy into the water
Your puppy should be used to water, but if not, encourage her to stay in the tub with a treat or a toy. Being in the water should help remove some of the lighter bits of dirt or grime that are on her paws and the longer she stays in the water, the easier it will be to remove the rest.
Step
3
Use hands to wipe away debris
Use your fingers and hands to wipe at and rub away the dirt and debris from your puppy’s paws. This can help keep her relaxed and involve a little bit of bonding time between you and your pup. You can also use this opportunity to give some affection to offer some good positive reinforcement.
Step
4
Dry off the paws
Once her paws are clean, get a towel to dry them off. Make sure to dry in between the toes and on the underside of the paw pads to ensure that every area gets cleaned and dry. Drying the paws well will prevent your puppy from slipping and sliding around in your home.
Step
5
Check for any lingering dirt
Check the paws for any left over dirt to make sure nothing is left behind. If necessary, use this opportunity to trim the nails or clean underneath them. You can also use this opportunity to brush the fur on and around the paws.
Recommend grooming method?

The Quick Clean Method

Effective
0 Votes
Towel
Step
1
Wet a towel with warm water
Use a soft towel or small rag and get it damp with some warm water. Warm water will be more pleasing and better to the touch than cold or hot water. Try not to oversaturate the towel, as it can create a mess if you put on too much water.
Step
2
Hold your puppy in your arms
Provided your pup is small enough, gather her up in your arms to give yourself access to all four paws. If she is of a larger breed, sit down on the floor with her and pull her into your lap, if possible. Having her on her side is best in this case. Otherwise, keep her in your arms and off the floor so she doesn’t hop around or jump away.
Step
3
Use damp towel to wipe the paws
Wipe the towel along the paws and any other areas that require cleaning. Pay special attention to the toes, nails, and the paw pads. Check for any scrapes or any other injuries that might require further attention. If necessary, wet the towel again and continue to clean.
Step
4
Remove any debris
Check for any burrs, thorns, sticks, or clumps of dirt or mud that could cause discomfort and pain. What can be removed should be removed as quickly as possible. If there is hardened mud or dirt, soften it with the towel before attempting to wipe it away.
Step
5
Dry with a fresh towel
Once the paws are clean, get a fresh towel to dry them off. Make sure the new towel is clean, so you don’t just put mud or dirt back onto the paws after they’ve already been wiped.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Offering something tasty like a treat or a toy to chew on may help distract your puppy and keep her from being too uncomfortable. 
  • If necessary, do some exercises and training to get your pup used to having her paws handled in order to keep her from squirming too much. 
  • If the fur around the paws is especially dirty, use a little bit of puppy shampoo on each paw to get it extra clean.
  • Trim your pup’s nails after the paw has been cleaned. A nail that has just been wet can be softer and a little bit easier to clip than one that is dirty and hard. 
  • Try not to clean your puppy’s paws too often or too roughly, as this can irritate the paw pads or get rid of the oils in the fur that helps protect her paws. Clean them only as often as necessary to get rid of large bits of dirt or other debris.
  • Be cautious when handling your puppy’s toes. They can sometimes be fragile, depending on the breed.

Conclusion

Cleaning your puppy’s paws should be a fairly normal thing. It may take some time for her to get used to you handling her paws, but with enough practice, it can help prevent any later discomfort or stress from having debris or dirt stuck to or trapped in between her toes. With enough practice, you make the process quick and easy for both you and your pup.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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