How to Groom a Small Pup's Paws

Easy
15 - 20 Minutes
1 Month

Introduction

Many breeds of small dogs need to have their paws groomed on a regular basis. From the hair that grows in between their paws and toes to the nails themselves, when you let these areas grow too long it can cause a range of problems for your pup. Hair or nails that are left ungroomed can be painful and make it very difficult for your dog to walk. Problems like this can also leave your dog standing with his paws twisted unnaturally, which can cause your poor pup's feet, ankles, knees, and hips to be permanently disfigured. 

Dog's Perspective

The last thing your pup wants is for his paws to hurt every time he takes a step. It's not so much that he cares if he feet look amazing, so much as he simply wants to be able to walk without pain. He counts on you to take care of his paws and groom them just as you do the rest of his body. While you could pay a pro to do the work, once you learn how, it should only take you a few minutes once or twice a month. 

The Clean Paws Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Shampoo
Scissors
Nail Clipper
Comb
Clipper
Nail File
Towel
Step
1
It starts with a bath
Start by filling a large plastic tub about halfway with some nice warm soapy water and place your pup in the water.
Step
2
Gently does it
Using a washcloth, gently scrub each paw, making sure to get in between his pads and toes. Since you don't know if there are any cuts or other injuries, this is the perfect time to be very gentle. Once all four paws are nice and clean, rinse them thoroughly and then dry them off with a nice soft towel.
Step
3
Inspection time
Lift each paw up and inspect it thoroughly for any cuts, scratches, damaged or cracked pads, broken or spit nails, burrs, impacted dirt, or any other signs of injury. If you find anything serious, be sure to take your pup in to see his vet.
Step
4
Trim time
Turn each paw so that you can see the underside and trim any hair between the pads back until just below the pads. Trim the hair between his toes back carefully so you can see his nails more clearly. You can also trim the hair on top of his paws and around his ankles depending on breed specific grooming standards (if you are concerned about them).
Step
5
Trim his nails
Using a guillotine style nail clipper, trim your pup's nails back, just be sure you don't cut into the quick. Have styptic powder or cornstarch on hand to stop the bleeding just in case you go too far. Finish off the whole job by filing the sharp edges of the tips of his nails and give each paw one more check over to make sure everything is all right.
Recommend grooming method?

The Acclimation Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Shampoo
Scissors
Nail Clipper
Clipper
Nail File
Towel
Step
1
Play with your pup's paws
Nothing will make trying to groom your small pup's furry paws harder than when he simply refuses to behave. Most dogs really hate having their paws touched, this is a natural instinct left from their ancestors. But, the good news is that if you start touching and playing with your pup's paws from the day you bring him home, he will simply grow up being used to having his paws handled.
Step
2
Start short
Start out with short grooming sessions of no more than 5 to 10 minutes at first, even if you don't get the whole job done in one sitting. Remember to be calm and relaxed as this will help your pup feel the same way. You can gradually add more time to each session until you can do all four feet in one session.
Step
3
Groom the hair
Using a comb or brush, go through the hair on your pup's feet. If there are any small tangles or mats, the brush or comb should take them out. If not, you may need to use a pair of straight-edge safety shears to remove them. This is also a good time to trim the hair between his pads and toes.
Step
4
The foot bath
Your pup spends all his time walking through who knows what with bare feet. Over time, his poor paws can get pretty dirty. They can become home to dirt, burrs, stickies, gum, impacted dirt and debris between the pads, and plenty of overall grime. Using a warm soapy water solution, give your pup's feet a gentle but thorough bath.
Step
5
Inspection time
This is a good time to give each paw a thorough inspection. If you see any signs of serious injury or damage, be sure to take your pup to see his vet for further diagnosis and any necessary medical attention.
Step
6
Nail it down
This is also a good time to check his toenails and trim them as necessary. Be sure to file them down when you are done. You should do this at least once a month or more frequently for breeds that have exceptionally long hair on their paws that grows quickly.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Be sure the shears you plan to use are safety shears (with rounded tips).
  • Dull shears can lead to serious injury; keep yours sharp or have them sharpened.
  • In the event you see any signs of injury or infection, be sure to take your dog to see his vet.
  • Be very careful and gentle when cutting the hair between his pads and toes to help reduce the risk of injury.
  • If you find any serious mats in his hair, do not try to remove them with a brush, use your shears to cut them out. It will be far less painful for your pup.
  • Let your pup get used to the shears and clippers before trying to use them. 

Conclusion

Taking care of your pup's paws is part of what should be his regular grooming. At the very least, you should groom his paws once a month. Not only will this make it far more comfortable for your pup when he is walking around, but it gives you a chance to check his paws for any signs of injury. 

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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