How to Groom a Small Dog's Paws

Easy
15 - 20 Minutes
1 Month

Introduction

No matter what breed of dog you happen to have as a part of your family, you should clean and groom his paws at least once a month. Grooming includes trimming any excess hair between the pads and toes and trimming your pup's nails.  If you allow this hair or your dog's nails to grow too long, your dog could become permanently disfigured due to lasting damage to his bones, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. It can also make every step your pup takes feel like he is stepping on knives. 

Dog's Perspective

Your dog doesn't want to be in pain with every step he takes any more than you do, but short of trying to chew his nails and the excess hair off, he can't do much about it. As his "human BFF" he relies on you to make sure he is properly groomed and in good health. Keeping his paws properly groomed is serious business and a very important part of his continued good health. 

The Foot Rub Method

Effective
0 Votes
Shampoo
Scissors
Nail Clipper
Comb
Nail File
Towel
Step
1
Play with his paws
Since most small dogs seem to hate having their paws touched, let alone groomed, you need to start playing with his paws as soon as possible. Start by gently massaging them, playing with his toes, rubbing them all over. Take your time and do this frequently, it will help your pup learn to relax and actually enjoy having his feet touched and rubbed.
Step
2
Short sessions for the win
Be sure to start out with short grooming sessions at first of no more than 5 to 10 minutes. Just do what you can during this time. Just be sure to completely groom one paw before adding the next until you can groom all four.
Step
3
Hairy paws
Take a small comb or brush and go through the hair on your pup's feet. You can remove most tangles and mats this way, if they are too thick, you may have to trim them using shears.
Step
4
Trim the hair
Using a pair of safety shears, trim the hair between his toes and the pads of his feet, this hair should be trimmed to just below the level of the pads.
Step
5
Bathing time
Using a bowl of warm soapy water, gently wash your pup's feet and then dry them using a soft towel. This will help remove impacted dirt, debris, burrs, gum, and many other forms of debris from your pup's paws.
Step
6
A thorough inspection
This is the perfect time to give your pup's paws a thorough examination. Check for cracks, cuts, and other damage to his pads, cuts, impacted dirt and debris between the pads, and any other damage that might require you to take your pup to see his vet.
Step
7
Knock back the nails
Finally, using a guillotine style nail cutter, trim your pup's nails. Be careful not to get too close to the quick. Finish up with a file to take off any sharp edges and you are all done!
Recommend grooming method?

The Start Clean Method

Effective
0 Votes
Shampoo
Scissors
Nail Clipper
Comb
Nail File
Towel
Step
1
Yes, you may bathe my feet
Start out by giving your pup's paws a nice bath in a tub of warm soapy water.
Step
2
Gently, gently
Using a soft washcloth, gently wash your pup's paws, being sure to get in between his toes and pads. Gently dry them with a soft towel.
Step
3
Take a good look
Now it's time to take a good look at each paw. Look for cuts and scratches, signs of infection, cracked pads, broken nails, impacted dirt, or any other sign of injury. If you see anything you are worried about, take your pup to see his vet.
Step
4
Lift each paw
Lift each paw and trim the hair between his toes and pads--take your time to avoid injuring your pup. Trim the hair on his toes back to where you can see his nails, trim the hair between his pads to just below the surface of his pads.
Step
5
You've got nails
For small dogs, you should be using guillotine clippers. Clip his nails back to just in ahead of the quick and use a file to smooth the edges off. One last look over and you are done.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Never use any cleaning products made for humans on your dog, they could be toxic.
  • Never use dull shears as they can rip the hair out of your pup's paws.
  • If you see any signs of serious damage or injury, be sure to take your pup to see his vet.
  • Take great care when cutting between the pads and his toes to ensure you don't nick or cut your pup.
  • If you find any serious mats, do not try to pull them out with a comb or brush, use sharp shears to cut them out.
  • Be sure to use safety shears to avoid injuring your pup.
  • Be sure to give your pup plenty of time to get used to having his paws touched as well as to the shears or clippers. 

Conclusion

While we "groom" our own feet every time we shower and keep our own nails trimmed, your pup doesn't have this ability. He relies on you to take care of his paws for him. You should be checking them frequently and grooming them at least once a month. 

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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