How to Trim a Dog's Feet

Easy
10 - 15 Minutes
1 Month

Introduction

When you have a dog with hairy paws, learning how to trim them properly is very important for the continued health of your pup. If you don’t keep the hair on his paws, between his toes, and between his pads tidy, it will become painful and challenging for your pup to walk. 

You can often tell when the hair is too long by watching your pup, he will start favoring paws that hurt. Thankfully, trimming this hair is very easy and should only take a few minutes each time.  

Dog's Perspective

It's a sure bet your dog doesn't want every step he takes to be a painful experience. At the same time, he doesn't want to slip and have problems with trying to walk on linoleum, tile, or wood floors. Not only can long hair under his paws make it hard to work, it can twist his feet out of alignment, putting excessive strain and stress on his joints and muscles. 

The Small Dog Method

Effective
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Slicker Brush
Scissors
Comb
Step
1
Start with a table
The first thing you need is a grooming table made to fit your pup. Do not buy one that is too small. Call your pup to you and place him on the table. If he seems a bit anxious, go ahead and hook him up to the safety restraint.
Step
2
Start at the back end
Start by lifting one of his rear paws up and forward until you can turn his foot back to the point at which you can see the pads of his foot. Using a pair of straight shears, trim all the hair between each of his pads until it is just below the pads or level with them.
Step
3
Time to clean
Each time you have a paw lifted and trimmed, take the time to check for damage to the pads and the areas between them. Look for cuts, scrapes, dry pads that have split, blisters, and any other injuries. If necessary, take him in to see his vet for medical care.
Step
4
No toe jam here
Use your fingers to gently spread his toes so that you can trim the hair growing between them. Work from the tips of his toes to the joints in both directions to ensure you get it all trimmed back.
Step
5
Do the rest
Repeat the above step for each of the remaining paws. Using clippers or shears, trim the hair around his ankles and lower legs. Now he should be able to once again walk without any pain or slipping around.
Recommend grooming method?

The Have a Seat Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Scissors
Nail Clipper
Comb
Step
1
Gather up your tools
Start by gathering up the tools you will need for this task. These include shears, a comb or brush, and some treats to give your pup when you are done.
Step
2
Bring your dog over
Call your dog and have him come sit in front of you. Give him the 'stay' command and then give him a treat. This should put him in a calm state of mind and get him ready to have his paws trimmed.
Step
3
One paw first
Starting with a front paw, lift it to a point where it will be comfortable for both of you to work with. Never put excessive amounts of pressure on his joints as this can cause serious injury. If your pup finds this uncomfortable, you may find it works better to have him lay on his side.
Step
4
Clear the top
Start by using a sharp pair of shears to trim the hair on the top of each foot, trimming it back until it is as close to skin level as you can.
Step
5
Toes next
Spread his toes using your fingers and trim the hair between them. Then trim the hair between his pads until it is just below the pads. This is what will make walking more comfortable for your pup.
Step
6
Trim his nails
While you are trimming the hair on your pup's feet, you might as well take the time to trim his nails using clippers or a guillotine cutter. Never cut into the quick as this could lead to serious bleeding and pain. Take your time and your pup is sure to feel much better when you are done.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • You must use sharp safety shears to make clean cuts and to reduce the risk of injury.
  • Be sure to examine his paws carefully for any signs of injury, thorns, blisters, or infections.
  • This job may be easier with your pup laying on his side.
  • Be very careful when using shears around your pup's paws as it is very easy to cut or injure him.
  • Should you see anything out of the ordinary as you examine your pup's paws, be sure to take him to see the vet for a complete checkup.
  • If your pup has really long hair on his feet and it gets matted, don't attempt to brush or comb it out, just use shears to cut the mats out.
  • Be sure to give your pup plenty of time to get used to the tools you will be using. This will make trimming the hair on his feet much easier. 

Conclusion

The last thing you should want is for your pup to be walking on hairy paws that make it painful and hard for him to walk. It is your job to keep his paws neatly trimmed. It shouldn't take more than 10 or 15 minutes to trim this hair, but the end result is a much happier pup who has no issues walking around. 

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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