How to care for your dog’s paws

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You want to know how to care for your dog’s paws. After all, his feet get quite a workout because rain or shine, smooth or rough surface, he walks without shoes! While it’s true he has paws with all that nice padding, those paws need care and maintenance.

Dog foot chart with labels


Pamper those paws with a pedicure

I bet you can’t say that real fast five times! Anyway, with those little feet of his taking a beating, what better way to show your love than with a pedicure! You might notice that his toes start clickety-clicking when he walks or worse yet, he catches them in the carpet. These are signs that those toenails are getting too long.

There is a special technique and tool for toenail cutting and you must do it with care to avoid cutting too close into the blood vein. It’s probably best that you have your veterinarian or a groomer show you how.

Hairy paws – Hyperkaratosis

Hyperkaratosis (also known as hairy dog feet) can become painful. This condition occurs when the skin on your dog’s nose or paws thickens, dries and hardens. As a result, infections can develop. It occurs when there is too much keratin in your dog’s system.

Hyperkaratosis is more common in Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Dogues de Bordeaux, Irish Terriers and Bedlington Terriers. It often occurs in the first year of your dog’s life after the genes pass it down.hairy dog paw

Furthermore, it may be a symptom of other problems like Canine Distemper, Pemphigus Foliaceus and Zinc-Responsive Dermatosis.

It can’t be cured but you can treat it by softening and trimming extra skin. Initially, visit your veterinarian concerning this.

Clean feet and between the toes

All kinds of things can get lodged in his foot pads – twigs, rocks and a host of small, foreign objects. As you can imagine, this could be painful. A pair of tweezers can come in handy for removing these items.

Also, your dog might walk on toxic surfaces such as grass that has been sprayed with pesticides. If so, make sure to clean his feet. You certainly don’t want him to track it all over the house and you especially don’t want him to lick his paws and ingest poison.

Soothe his cracked paws with a moisturizer specifically for dogs

Use a moisturizer and make sure to get one specifically for dogs. Do not use human moisturizer! And while you’re rubbing all that lotion on his paws you can give him a nice foot massage!

First Aid

It’s not unusual for dogs to suffer cuts and wounds from stepping on glass and other debris. If the wound is smaller than 1/2 inch in diameter, you can clean it with an antibacterial wash, apply antibacterial creme and then cover it with a booite or bandage. If the wound is any larger, it’s time to visit your veterinarian.

The summer heat can really hurt!

You may have walked barefooted on a sidewalk or street in the hot summer sun. It doesn’t feel good. Same with your dog. To avoid blisters and burns, try to stay away from hot surfaces while walking.

Fawn pug in booties in snowWinter can be hard too

This probably doesn’t apply if you and your pooch live in a warm climate but bitter cold can cause chapping and cracking. Rock salt used for slippery streets and sidewalks causes sores, blisters and infection. Try using Vaseline before your walk which is a great salt barrier or even put on dog booties.

Dogs often don’t like to have their feet messed with

All the above are great things to do for your best friend but he may not want you to touch his feet. I’ve found this to be true for dogs, cats and other animals as well. I think it must have something to do with the feet being important when escaping predators and if they’re restrained in any way, they feel helpless. Anyway, you may have to build some trust and confidence with your pooch and proceed slowly, And, with so many dog-related things, a treat always comes in handy as a reward!


Keep your buddy comfortable and happy with these tips on how to care for your dog’s paws. You’ll both enjoy your walk together even more!

We love comments so be sure to leave yours below.


6 comments on “How to care for your dog’s paws

  1. Sujandar Mahesan

    Thank you for sharing this article with us. I am actually deciding to buy a pet dog for myself for the past few months and I’m just preparing my self by reading articles on how to train them and how to take care of them. This article was really helpful for me.

    Now I know how to take care of its paw.

    Thank you for sharing this article with us.

    1. Christopher Mitchell Post author

      Hi Sujandar:

      Thank you for your comments!

      I’m so glad to hear you’re getting a dog! They’re wonderful companions and any information you have concerning their care is a great thing to have. You can read more at

  2. Rye

    Hello Christopher! Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful tips on how to care for my dog paws. I must say, this article and guide is very helpful for my dog and it is very educative for me too because I have learnt so much about dog paws today… Time to build the trust with my dog. See you soon and farewell.

    1. Christopher Mitchell Post author

      Hi Rye:

      Glad to be of help! Enjoy using these tips. Hopefully your dog will appreciate it. 

  3. Melissa

    Hi Christopher, I’ve always thought the dogs are truly the universes’ greatest invention 🙂 They bring so much joy, and of course they need much pampering and love in return. Their nails have always been the one thing though that sends me into a spin as I’m so concerned I’m going to accidentally hurt them. As I was growing up our little terrier would yelp and yelp as though he was being tortured and to this day I’ve been worried about clipping nails! So it’s always off to the vet for us to ensure it is done properly. Thanks for your post and I’ll be sure to check back here often.

    1. Christopher Mitchell Post author

      Hi Melissa:

      Yes, nails are tricky because you have to be careful not to cut too close. You should let your veterinarian show you how to do it.

      As I mentioned, many dogs don’t like their paws touched so it’s possible your Terrier was yelping because of that.

      Be sure to visit for more dog care tips!



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