How to Groom a Large Dog's Paws

Easy
15 - 20 Minutes
1 Month

Introduction

While many large dogs appear to have short hair on their paws, don't be fooled. Most still need to have their paws properly groomed from time to time. In fact, you should pick one day of the month to groom your dog, including his paws. If you let the hair on his paws become excessively long, it can affect the way your dog walks, how his joints are aligned and can cause significant pain. 

Thankfully, keeping a big dog's paws in shape is pretty easy and shouldn't take more than 15 to 20 minutes. Just make sure your pup has learned the basic commands such as 'sit', 'come', 'stay', and 'down', as this will make the job a little easier. 

Dog's Perspective

The last thing your dog wants is for every step he takes to be painful. Can you imagine what it must feel like to walk around like this? When you let the hair on your pup's feet get too long, it would be like walking around with your socks rolled under your feet and stuffed between your toes. Your pup may not look like it, but you can bet he really loves how his feet feel after you finish grooming them. 

The Inspection Method

Effective
0 Votes
Scissors
Nail Clipper
Nail File
Step
1
The weekly inspection
Take a few minutes out of one day a week to inspect your pup's paws. You are looking for dry or cracked pads, nails that are torn, cracked, or split, cuts, thorns, or anything else that might be stuck in his paws or between the pads. If you find anything, remove carefully with a pair of tweezers. Be sure to praise your pup and give him a treat to help keep him relaxed.
Step
2
Trim time
Using a pair of sharp shears, trim any long hair between the pads down to below pad level, and trim the hair between his toes. All this hair can hide a lot of dirt and debris. Mats can become hard lumps between his pads, causing painful walking. Be sure to use small snips to remove the hair instead of large cuts, for the safety of your pup's paws.
Step
3
Nails next
Now that you have the hair trimmed back out of the way, it's time to take a good look at his nails. If necessary, trim his nails back to the quick using a pair of scissor-style nail trimmers. Care is needed here; if you cut into the quick, you will cause your pup pain and the nail will bleed. File the tips of his nails down using a hand file or rotary grinder to help prevent your pup from scratching you, your furniture, and any hardwood floors you have.
Step
4
Nail care
This is a good time to work a little Vitamin E oil or "paw wax" into your pup's pads. This will help prevent his pads from cracking and keep them nice and soft. You can buy paw wax in most pet stores and Vitamin E oil in most department stores and pharmacies.
Step
5
Keep an eye on your pup's paws
Be sure to keep a constant eye on your pup. If you see him biting or constantly licking at his paws, you may need to take him to see his vet.
Recommend grooming method?

The Foot Bath Method

Effective
0 Votes
Shampoo
Scissors
Towel
Step
1
It all starts with a bath
Start by running a plastic tub full of warm soapy water (use only vet-approved soap) and gently wash your pup's feet. By cleaning his paws first, it gives you a chance to look for cuts, scratches, cracked pads, broken nails, burrs, thorns, or impacted dirt. If you see any signs of serious damage, be sure to take your pup in to see his vet to make sure they aren't serious.
Step
2
Dry time
Take a soft towel and dry each of your pup's paws gently while continuing to look them over for any more signs of injury, matted fur, and anything else out of the ordinary.
Step
3
The pads
Using a pair of sharp safety shears, lift each paw and gently trim any long hair between his pads. The hair should be trimmed until it is just below the level of the pads. This will make it much easier for your pup to walk.
Step
4
The toes
Using the same shears, clip the hair between his toes all the way back to the web. Pay close attention here as it easy to cut the webbing between his toes. This will expose his toenails to further inspection and make it easier for you to trim them.
Step
5
The nails
Using a pair of sharp scissor-style nail clippers, trim each nail back to the quick. File them back at the end to take off any sharp edges, this will help keep your pup from scratching himself and everyone else.
Step
6
Finish the job
Last thing, apply a pet-safe wax or lotion to your pup's pads to help them stay soft and supple. Your pup is sure to appreciate it with every step he takes.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Always work gently and quickly, keeping up positive chatter while you work. This will help keep your pup relaxed, as will giving him a few treats along the way.
  • Always use sharp shears, they won't pull or rip the hair out of your pup's feet.
  • Bathing your pup's paws first lets you go over them more thoroughly, looking for injury.
  • If you see any signs of serious injury or damage, be sure to take your pup in to see his vet.
  • Use extreme care when using shears around your pup's paws, as it is very easy to cut him.
  • If there are any mats in the hair on his paws, be sure to use the shears to cut them out, never try to rip them out with a brush or comb.
  • Be sure to give your pup time to get used to the shears before trying to actually use them on his paws, this will help calm him down and make the job much easier.
  • Finally, if you see any signs of infection, excessive damage, or anything else that is out of the ordinary, be sure to take your pup to see his vet. 

Conclusion

One of the biggest jobs you have as a responsible pet owner is to take good care of your pup and his every need. Hairy paws can be very uncomfortable for your pup to walk on. Too much hair can keep his pads from actually contacting the ground or floor, increasing the risk of a fall and injury. Taking care of his paws should only take a few minutes, but is something you should be doing at least once a month. 

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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