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Most people with short-coated dogs don’t think much about hair between the paw pads being too long. When the hair between your dog’s pads grows out past the pads, it’s time for a trim. Your dog’s coat looks better with neatly trimmed hair in all areas. But you might be wondering how to trim dog paw hair properly. We’ve got a complete guide for you.
The fur on your dog’s paws may get matted, as well as attract debris. Matted dog hair can be painful because of the pressure they cause by pulling on the dog’s skin. Your dog is also at risk of stepping on anything tangled in the hair, such as grass burrs
A Guide on How to Trim Dog Paw Hair
You’ll find that it is easy to trim excess hair from dog paws. This process needs to go slowly, and you’ll need to be careful because dogs have sensitive feet. You’ll want to avoid accidentally cutting your dog’s paw pads.
1. Find the Right Grooming Tool
Scissors or a smaller pair of clippers may effectively remove hair from your dog’s paws. Clippers are often a better option because they are safer than scissors. Besides being safer, clippers have also been designed for dog grooming, offering better cuts—best to use when learning how to trim dog hair.
Groomers will generally recommend against using scissors, citing safety concerns. Using larger pairs of scissors increases the risk of cutting into the pads of the dog’s feet. Cutting a dog with clippers is possible, but not as likely, and the clippers are easier to handle.
There are different types of clippers suitable for trimming dog paw hair. However, some of the best options use a guard to help protect against cutting too close to the skin. Such clippers make it easier for you to give your dog a more precise cut.
2. Get Your Dog Accustomed to Paw Handling
Your dog needs to get used to the feeling of having his feet touched if he is uncomfortable with having his feet handled. When your dog is calm during grooming, there is less chance of having accidents that cause injury. Dogs that associate grooming with something painful will be difficult to handle.
When you touch a dog’s feet without grooming tools, he will be more likely to accept handling. Touching your dog’s paws when he is resting is a great idea. When your dog allows you to hold and massage the paws, you will want to give treats as rewards for good behavior.
You may need to learn how to sedate your dog for grooming first in the case of an anxious or nervous dog. Semi-silent clippers are often helpful for pets afraid of clipper noises. Quiet grooming tools are more likely to arouse curiosity than cause distress.
3. Sensitize Your Dog to the Grooming Tool
When your dog has become accustomed to having his paws touched, the next step will be an introduction to your chosen grooming tool. If a dog gets used to a tool before you use it for the first time, he won’t have a negative association with the tool. You will find it easier to overcome any stress on your dog’s part with a careful introduction.
Leaving the tool out and letting your dog sniff it to determine there is no threat is a great first step. Picking up and going through the motions of using the tool near the dog’s feet is the next step. Once the dog has had a chance to sniff out the tool, he will see it as something familiar and harmless.
Lightly touching your dog’s feet with the tool, combined with praise and treats for calm behavior, is an excellent way to work up to using the tool. Using a positive tone that attracts your dog’s attention is the best way to praise your dog for desired behavior. Giving the praise and treats at every step shows the dog that you want him to be calm.
Such methods are useful when grooming your pet by yourself, as well as learning how to remove hair from dog paws. For example, many dogs are difficult to manage during nail trimming or ear cleaning. Similar introductory methods to grooming tools may help make grooming easier all around.
4. How to Remove Hair from Your Dog’s Paws
Holding your dog’s paw in one hand and the pet hair clippers or scissors in the other hand will help you get started. Spreading the toes apart and then clipping the hair in between the toes will help you get this task done. With the dog’s toes spread, you can reach more of the hair for a better-quality clip.
Clipping should continue until the hair is level with or below the paw pads. The shorter you keep the hair, the less likely your dog will deal with matting. Once your dog has become used to an initial trim, you’ll be able to trim the hair again before it gets too long.
You will also want to consider trimming long hair on top of your dog’s pads. Although keeping the hair short is a good idea, the dog should still have enough hair for protection. Trimming the tops of a pup’s paws is more of an issue with long-haired breeds, although some dogs with shorter coats can also experience such problems.
If getting your dog’s hair to stand is an issue, a soft-bristled comb will help the hair stand up so you can trim it more effectively. One of the reasons combing your dog’s hair is a good idea before trimming is to avoid cutting down too far. Hair on top of the paws is somewhat thinner, increasing the chances of accidentally cutting into the skin.
What Breeds Have Special Paw Grooming Needs?
Some dogs have more grooming needs than others, and their paws are no exception. Even though these breeds require more grooming than others, taking care of paw hair helps prevent a lot of problems. Anyone who has one of the high-maintenance dog breeds will want to think about grooming more often.
The Great Pyrenees have long, thick coats and require more frequent trimming on their paws. Most of these dogs also have double sets out dewclaws, which makes getting the animals used to having their paws handled early necessary. The breed’s large size makes better control during grooming more necessary.
Afghan Hounds have long coats with a lot of grooming required. These dogs are more vulnerable to matting than other breeds because of the coat length. Any mats that these dogs have in their paw fur are likely to be more painful.
Bichon Frises have coats that are more like human hair, rather than fur. Monthly trimming helps prevent painful matting for these dogs because they don’t shed. These dogs are active, and healthy paws help them make the most of their activities.
Poodles also have high-maintenance coats that require more attention to paw hair. Although the clips that many show Poodles have to involve shaved paws, owners need to watch for hair in between the paw pads that may become an issue. Regular trims will help keep stray hairs from bothering these dogs.
What Else Can Help Keep Your Dog’s Paws Healthy?
Besides trimming, there are some other important steps to take that help to promote healthy paws . Giving your dog’s paws a regular look is a good practice to adopt. One of the reasons checking your dog’s paws is a good idea is being able to take a more proactive approach to any problems underway.
Taking a look at your dog’s paws should involve a detailed look, as well as observing your dog’s reaction to having his paws handled. Another thing to observe is how the dog’s paw feels. Raw paw pads indicate dry skin that possibly requires attention on your part.
Cutting your dog’s nails on a regular schedule is also recommended. Long nails may become ingrown, painful, and infected. Paw injuries from long nails make caring for your dog’s paws more difficult because he will likely resist handling. Using the best dog nail grinder with great features will ease this task.
Dogs have sensitive pads that may require extra protection. For example, the exceptionally cold or hot pavement may hurt dogs’ paws, making booties a helpful choice. When the dog’s paws have greater protection, he will not be as likely to have problems because of touchy paws.
If you have any concerns about removing hair from a dog’s paws, the following should help address these questions.
1. How do I trim my dog’s paw hair safely?
The safest way to trim your dog’s paw hair safely is to use clippers after sensitizing your dog to them. Holding the paw gently in one hand while using the clippers with the other keeps this process as stress-free as possible.
One thing that makes this process easier for your dog is giving out praise and treats. Your dog will associate good behavior with treats and attention, making a win-win situation.
2. When must I trim the fur on my dog’s paws?
If the hair between the paw pads grows out and can start bunching, it’s time for a trim. Dogs can become uncomfortable with too much hair in this area.
When the hair is too long, your dog will have less traction running or walking, making slides and falls inevitable. A paw fur trim may be one of the best ways to help prevent injuries in dogs who are active.
3. Why do dogs lick their paws?
Sometimes a dog will lick its paws because of anxiety or boredom. However, sometimes dogs lick their paws because of health issues requiring attention.
Allergies, injuries, parasites, or skin issues are some of the issues that cause paw licking. Any of these conditions may require veterinary care for effective treatment and healing.
4. Why don’t dogs like having their paws touched?
Dogs often feel awkward or vulnerable when having their paws touched. The areas between the paw pads are especially sensitive.
Dogs that have had their paws handled from puppyhood are less likely to have issues with having paws handled. Getting a dog used to paw handling as an adult requires a little more work.
5. How do you shave your dog’s legs and paws?
Shaving your dog’s legs starts with handling the paw in one hand as you do with paw hair trimming. Starting with the armpit area and working down toward the feet and toes is the easiest way to shave your dog effectively.
Keeping the clippers within a safe distance of the skin will help prevent painful accidents. You want your dog to see hair-trimming as something positive, instead of something that will cause pain.
6. Should I rub coconut oil on my dog’s paws?
Coconut oil is something that is a great choice for your dog’s paws because it protects his paws from becoming irritated and sore. This type of oil helps form a protective barrier while moisturizing your dog’s paws.
There are many types of coconut oil on the market, some of which have been designed for moisturizing dogs’ paws. One of the things that you should look for is the absence of ingredients harmful to your dog if licked.