Should You Trim Your Dog’s Hairy Toes And Paws?

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Let’s talk about hairy dog paws!…

Does your dog have a lot of fur that grows on the top of his paws, between his toes, and even underneath on his paw pads?

If so, should you trim the fur or just let it keep growing?

Here’s what I do…

Some dogs grow lots of fur on their paws — on top of their paws, between their toes, and even on the bottom of their paw pads.

Related: A list of dog breeds with hairy paws.

People with ‘show dogs’ usually trim this hair for better appearance in the show ring.

I don’t have show dogs, but I always trim the fur on the tops (and bottoms) of my dogs’ paws whenever I trim their nails.

Doing so, makes their paws look better groomed — and shows off the great trim job I just did on their nails.

A couple of extra furry dog paws.
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The underside of my dog's furry paws - in need of a trim
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A very furry dog paw.
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Did You Know?… “Dogs naturally produce their own supply of keratin, but Hyperkeratosis means they produce much more than they need. With too much keratin to go around, Hyperkeratosis results in the dog growing a hard, crusty material over their paw pads. There are varying levels of severity, but most dog owners say it looks like their pup has a layer of extra-hard fur growing out of their paw pads. In especially bad cases, the paws can crack and become infected.” — iHeartDogs

Here’s what you need to know about Hyperkeratosis and how to treat it.


Want Some Tips For Clipping Your Dog’s Nails?…

Here’s how to trim dog nails yourself.

Since I always get my dogs used to having their nails trimmed while they’re still puppies, my adult dogs are always super-relaxed while having their nails trimmed.

If you’ve been putting off clipping your dog’s nails (I know it can be frustrating if your dog is hyper and doesn’t enjoy the process), here are 15 important reasons to trim at least ONE nail a day… starting now!

Most of my dogs have been born with an extra toenail on each paw — it’s called a dew claw. Should you have your dog’s dew claws removed or not?


Trimming Hairy Dog Paws Is Not Just For Looks

If nothing else, you should trim the hair around your dog’s toes in the winter months to avoid build-up of ice in between the fur and the toes.

A white pups hairy dog paws.
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Slush, dirt, and road salt can really get packed in there tight and harden in a matter of minutes when it’s cold outside!

Here’s a good video showing you how to trim your dog’s hairy paws:

Here’s how I trim my dog’s paw fur:

  1. Use a smallish pair of scissors when trimming the fur on your dog’s paws (and other places) — because they’re easier to hold onto and work with in tight spaces. TIP: I like to use mustache scissors with either a 4-inch or 5-inch blade.
  2. Rest the scissors on your dog’s paw pad and trim away the hair — just tiny amounts at a time — cutting in the direction away from your dog’s skin. TIP: The sharper the scissors, the better. If you have to “saw” at the hair, your scissors are too dull. Tiny snips should precisely cut the fur.
  3. Give your dog a break for a few minutes. TIP: The idea is to get your dog’s mind off of being grooming temporarily, so you can continue the paw grooming session again in a few minutes.
  4. Observe your work — see if there are places you should cut shorter, or that you could make the cut sections blend in better with the non-cut sections. (You don’t want it to look too choppy.) TIP: If the dog will stand still long enough, I like to trim entirely around the sides of each foot.


Tips For Cleaning Your Dog’s Paws In The Winter

Having packed ice between the dog’s toes and/or sludge stuck in the fur of your dog’s paws could also cause him to excessively lick the area — almost raw — similar to a hot spot.

Your best course of action in the winter is to dry your dog’s paws completely, then rub them with petroleum jelly. (It’s okay if he licks some of it — but not too much.)

Or, you could just put some boots on your dog… like these!


Hairy Dog Paws vs. Hardwood Flooring

Excess fur between the toes can also make it harder for your dog to walk on slippery floors — because they can’t get good traction underfoot.

In fact, trimming your dog’s furry paws could save you save you money on replacing and refinishing hardwood floors:

Some dogs grow a lot of fur between the pads of their paws. They slip easily on wood floors when this grows out, and tend to try to dig in with their claws to compensate. Are you trimming the fur between the pads as short as you can? — Paulsc

Trimming the fur on top of your dog's paw makes your dog look well groomed.
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Related: More about dogs and hardwood floors.

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I like to help Dog Parents find unique ways to do things that will save time & money -- so I write about "outside the box" Dog Tips and Dog Hacks that most wouldn't think of. I’m a lifelong dog owner -- currently have 2 mixed breed Golden Aussies that we found abandoned on the side of the road as puppies. I've always trained my own dogs and help friends train theirs, as well. Professionally, I worked at a vet and have several friends who are veterinarians -- whom I consult with regularly. (And just because I love animals so much, I also worked at a Zoo for awhile!) I've been sharing my best ideas with others by blogging full-time since 1998 (the same year that Google started... and before the days of Facebook and YouTube). My daily motivation is to help first-time dog owners be better prepared from the first day your new puppy enters your home. I like to help dog owners understand what's 'normal' and what you can expect in terms of living with and training your dog -- how to get through the ups & downs of potty training, chewing, teaching commands, getting your dog to listen, and everything else that takes place during that hectic first year! When I'm not training, walking, grooming, or making homemade treats for my dogs, you will find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites). To date, I've written over 600 articles for dog owners on this site! Many of them have upwards of 200K shares.

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