How to Groom a Large Dog's Feet

Easy
15 - 20 Minutes
1 Month

Introduction

Having a dog whose paws have more than their fair share of hair, knowing how to keep an eye on them and keep them properly groomed, is a very important part of your role as a pet owner. Allowing the hair on his paws to grow too long can affect the way your pup stands or walks. It can cause his paws to sit off-kilter on the ground, which can affect the way his joints line up and in turn, cause damage to the joints, ligaments and tendons, resulting in permanent damage that can be extremely painful. 

Dog's Perspective

Put yourself in your pup's paws for just a few minutes. Now imagine what it would be like if someone filled your shoes with little wads of hair that you had to walk on all day long, making every step agony. This is what your dog must deal with when you don't keep his paws properly groomed. It only takes a few minutes once a month to keep everything trimmed back. So, show your dog just how much you love him by keeping his paws and nails neatly trimmed.

The Sitting Down Method

Effective
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Slicker Brush
Scissors
Nail Clipper
Comb
Nail File
Step
1
Prepare for the task
Before you call your pup over to groom his feet, gather up the tools needed for the job. You need a pair of sharp shears, a brush, clippers, and of course a handful of your pup's favorite treats.
Step
2
Call your pup
Call your pup over and have him sit in front of you (you can have him lay down if it's easier for both of you). Go ahead and give him a few minutes to relax and then give him a treat.
Step
3
One paw at a time
Each paw can be done from start to finish, before moving on to the next. Start by lifting his paw and inspecting the pads, toes, and bottom of his foot for any signs of damage or injury Remove any burrs, thorns, impacted dirtballs, and anything else you find. If you find anything serious, take your pup to see his vet.
Step
4
On top of it all
Using your shears or clippers trim the hair nice and short on top of his paw up to his ankle. You can lift the hair easily by combing it against the way it naturally grows.
Step
5
This little piggy
Time to trim up the hair on and in between each toe. While there, if you see any damage to his toenails this is a great time to take care of it. It is also a good time to trim his nails. When done clipping his nails, be sure to file the sharp edges down. Give your pup a few treats and you are done! See how easy keeping your pup's paws well-groomed is?
Recommend grooming method?

The Day Spa Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Shampoo
Scissors
Nail Clipper
Comb
Towel
Step
1
The spa is open
Run a nice warm tub full of soapy water (be sure to use vet-approved soap or shampoo). Keep the water at about the same temp you would use to bathe a baby, so you don't burn your pup's feet. Go ahead and gently wash each paw with a washcloth, inspecting them for damage, injury, infections, or anything that needs to be taken care of. If the injury is significant, take your pup in to see his vet.
Step
2
Rinse and dry
Rinse each foot when you are done washing it and then use a nice soft towel to dry them off. This gives you one more chance to inspect between the pads and toes.
Step
3
Time to trim
Using a pair of sharp safety shears, trim the hair between his pads until it is level or just below level by gently spreading the pads apart. Then do the same with each toe, taking great care not to cut into his pads, toes, or the webbing between his toes. Brush the hair on top of his feet back and trim it close.
Step
4
Trimming his nails
Now is the perfect time to clip his nails using a pair of scissor-style nail clippers. Be very careful not to cut into the quick. You should always have styptic powder or cornstarch around just in case you go a little too far. If you cannot staunch the bleeding, take your dog to the vet or animal hospital.
Step
5
Finish up
To finish up, go over your dog's paws with a good quality vet-approved lotion or wax. This will help the pads to stay nice and soft. It will also help keep his nails in good condition.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Be sure your shears are very sharp, dull shears will pull on the hairs and rip them out.
  • Giving his paws a nice bath gives you plenty of time to look over his paws thoroughly.
  • Be sure to take him to the vet if you see any signs of serious injuries or infection.
  • Be very careful when using shears around your pup's pads and toes as you can easily cut these areas.
  • Never try to pull mats out between his pads or toes, use the shears to cut them out. This reduces the risk of serious injury.
  • Take time to let your dog get used to the sight and sounds of shears and clippers, this can help reduce his anxiety and the risk of injury. 

Conclusion

It is your job as a pet owner to take care of your pup. While it is very easy to take care of the things you can easily see, such as his coat, areas like the bottoms of his paws are easier to ignore. However, not taking care of his paws can lead to very serious injury, deformities, and worst of all, it can lead to permanent musculoskeletal damage. It only takes a few minutes once or twice a month to take care of your pup's paws but will make a huge difference in how your pup feels. 

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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