How to Groom Dog Paws? (Expert Guide)
How to Groom Dog Paws?
Numerous dogs, particularly those with long or silky coats, experience an issue with excessive hair growth between their paw pads. This surplus hair can lead to various complications. One significant problem is the reduced grip on smooth floors, which can result in slips, falls, and potential injuries for the dogs.
To prevent these issues from happening, you have to groom your dog's paws. It has been clearly stated by vets that excessive paw hairs are the cause of many leg injuries. To make your dog's legs safe, it is necessary to trim the excess hair on his paws. In this article, I will explain to you how to groom dog paws. So stay with me.
Trimming your Dogs Nail First
Beginning with nail clipping, it's advised to start early and make it a frequent practice. The grooming educator suggests that waiting 6-8 weeks between groomer visits for nail trims is too long. This means you can either visit a groomer in between regular appointments or learn to trim your dog's nails at home. It's easy with the right tools.
If your dog is already comfortable with their paws being handled, you are ready to begin. Here is what you will need:
1. Nail clippers
2. Nail grinder
3. High-value treats
If you choose to trim nails on an elevated surface like a table, use a non-slip mat to ensure your dog feels secure. Remember, never leave your dog unattended on an elevated surface.
- Clotting Agents
Having a clotting agent like styptic powder in your pet's first aid kit is crucial. Even experienced groomers can accidentally cut the quick, blood vessel inside the nail. The styptic powder quickly stops any bleeding. Regular nail trims will cause the quick to recede, allowing you to gradually trim the nail shorter over time.
- Right Position
The right position for nail trims varies for each dog. Some do well on a table, others prefer to be held, and some relax on the floor during the process. Keep your dog comfortable and avoid pulling their legs into unnatural positions.
- Start Trimming Nails
Begin nail trimming by making small cuts to avoid cutting the quickly. This is especially important for dogs with black nails, where the quick is harder to see. Keep cutting slowly until you see the white nail pulp and a small black dot in the center.
Stop when you see the black dot, which indicates the start of the quick. After trimming, use a nail grinder to smooth rough edges and round out the nail. This comprehensive care ensures your dog's nails stay in good shape.
How to Trim Your Dog’s Paws
To prevent your dog from slipping on hard surfaces and experiencing discomfort, consider trimming the hair on its paws. However, this can be a challenge if your dog isn't accustomed to having their paws handled.
Help your dog become comfortable with paw handling by touching and examining them regularly. Involve your whole family in this process, ensuring that your dog is at ease with being touched all over, including their mouth, ears, and paws.
The ideal time to introduce paw handling is after a walk when your dog has settled down. Have your dog sit, then lift one of their paws. Take a moment to inspect their toes and nails, reward them with a treat, and gently lower their foot. Repeat this process a few times if needed.
Once your dog is okay with paw handling, gradually introduce them to the scissors. Begin by trimming a small portion of hair on their paw for a few seconds, then reward them and release their foot. Repeat this process, slowly trimming more hair with each session until the paws reach a suitable length.
Eventually, your dog will allow you to trim their entire paw, and you will only need to reward them when you are finished. It is important to keep rewarding them to prevent any reluctance from developing.
7 Important Considerations and Cautions
1. Consider applying vitamin E oil, paw lotions, or ointments on paws with rashes or sores, or simply to maintain your dog's paw health. Ensure that the products you use are safe for your dog if they lick them off.
2. Seek guidance from your veterinarian for addressing any injuries or infections found between the toes or on paw pads.
3. Prevent your dog from moving while trimming nails or clipping hair to avoid accidents. When using scissors, exercise extreme caution, keeping the point away from your dog's skin and holding them parallel.
4. Keep nail clippers, scissors, and clipper blades sharp, well-oiled, and cool during use.
5. Regularly handle your dog's feet to make grooming during grooming sessions easier and to identify debris trapped between their toes promptly.
6. Use assistance, non-slip mats, and restraints to ensure your dog remains still during paw grooming to prevent injuries.
7. If your dog has arthritis or orthopedic conditions that hinder easy access to their paws, explore alternative grooming methods. This might involve teaching your dog to lie on its side or back or having an assistant hold your dog in a position that allows you to groom their feet without causing stress.
There is an age-old saying: "No hoof, no horse. While not as extreme for dogs, their feet still matter! Taking care of your dog's feet is essential. Keeping them well-groomed, debris-free, and free from excess hair contributes to their foot health.
This practice prevents mats, debris, and bacteria from leading to hot spots, sores, and infections. Proper foot grooming also enhances your dog's grip on slippery surfaces, making them more comfortable and easier to maintain overall. Just like everyone feels better after a good pedicure, your dog benefits from a proper foot care tool.