How to Trim a Dog's Paw Hair

Easy
10 - 15 Minutes
1 Month

Introduction

If your dog has medium or long hair, you might find it necessary to trim the hair that grows between his toes and the pads on his paws from time to time. If you allow this hair to grow too long, it can make it difficult and painful for him to walk. 

The good news is that trimming this hair is not difficult and can be done relatively quickly as long as your pup doesn't fidget too much. It will go a lot more quickly if your dog has already been taught to obey basic commands such as 'sit', 'down', and 'stay'. 

Dog's Perspective

For your dog, walking on large tufts of hair between his toes and pads is akin to you trying to walk around with a sock that has rucked up under your foot. In other words, it is painful and miserable. Left to grow too long, the hair can make walking very difficult and could result in excessive strain being placed on his joints and muscles. 

The Sit Still Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Scissors
Nail Clipper
Comb
Step
1
Gather the tools
For this, you will need a pair of shears, a brush, and possibly a comb. Place them where they can be easily reached. This will reduce wasted time during the grooming process and let your dog see all of the tools before you get started.
Step
2
Come sit with me
Start by calling your dog over to your grooming spot and give him the 'sit' and 'stay' commands. Give him a treat. This may help to calm him down and prepare him for what's coming next.
Step
3
Lift the paw
Gently lift one front paw up to a comfortable working height for both of you. Do not put any excess pressure on his joints as this may be painful and could result in lasting damage. You may find it easier to do his rear paws while he is laying down. In fact, you can have your pup lay down and trim all four paws.
Step
4
Sharp shears only
Starting with the top of his paw, use a sharp pair of small straight shears to trim back the excess hair as close to his skin as possible without cutting his skin.
Step
5
Toes and pads
Now take the same shears and trim the hair between his toes and pads. Trim the hair between his pads down the point at which it is level with them. This will make it much more comfortable and easier for him to walk.
Step
6
Nails for the finish
This is also a good time to trim your pup's nails. Please refer to our guide on trimming your pup's nails to make sure you get it right as you can hurt your pup and cause his nails to bleed profusely if you aren't careful or don't know what you are doing. By the time, you are done, your pup will be overjoyed at how much better his feet feel.
Recommend grooming method?

The Grooming Table Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Scissors
Comb
Clipper
Step
1
Stand on the table
Have your pup stand on the grooming table and, if necessary, use a restraining harness to help keep him in place. In many cases, you may need to use a hip restraint to help prevent your dog from sitting down. It will also help to keep your pup from falling over when you lift one of his legs up to trim it.
Step
2
Back foot first
Lift one of his rear paws up, holding it forward so that you can turn his ankle to the point at which you can see his pads. Hold the pads in place and using a small pair of safety shears, trim the hair between the pads until it is level or just below his pads.
Step
3
Clean his paws and pads out
This is also a good time to clean out any dirt or debris lodged between his pads. This is a good time to look for damage or injuries to his pads or the areas between them. This can help reduce the potential risk of serious injury.
Step
4
Toes are up next
Spread out his toes and use clippers or a pair of shears to trim this hair back. With the clippers, you spread two of his toes out and use the clippers to scoop from the tips of his toes all the way back to his pads, do this in both directions to make sure you get all of the hair trimmed back.
Step
5
Repeat this process
Once you have completed both rear paws, you simply move up to the front paws and repeat the exact same process. Finally, trim the hair on top of his paws and around his ankles to give him that nicely groomed and easy to walk on look.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • You may find it easier to trim your pup's rear paws with him lying down as he is less likely to fall over.
  • Sharp shears are a must to avoid pulling or ripping the hair out of his paws.
  • If you notice any serious cracks, cuts, or other forms of damage to his pads, feet, or nails, be sure to schedule a visit with your pup's vet.
  • Extreme care is needed when using shears or clippers to groom your pup's paws. The skin in this area tends to be very thin and easy to cut.
  • If you see anything out of the ordinary during your grooming session, be sure to take your pup in to see his vet to make sure it is nothing serious and for any necessary care.
  • If you find mats in the hair on your pup's feet, do NOT try to brush or comb them out. They will need to be carefully removed using a pair of shears.
  • Give your pup a little time to get used to the shears and the clippers before you use them. This will help calm him down and make the whole process go more quickly and smoothly for both of you.

Conclusion

Your pup counts on you to take care of his needs, including grooming. Paws that have too much hair between the toes and pads can be uncomfortable if not outright painful for your pup to walk on. Excess hair under his paws can keep his pads from making solid contact, allowing his paws to slip out from under him. This could result in a painful injury. It only takes a few minutes to complete this task, but the end result is definitely worth it. 

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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