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

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Let’s talk about hairy dog paws!…

The underside of my dog's furry paws - in need of a trim

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.

BEFORE:

AFTER:

A closeup of my dog's paws AFTER trimming the tops and bottoms of each paw. This simple little thing makes your dog looked well groomed... without paying a dog groomer!

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?…

You don't have to pay a groomer to trim the fur around your dog's paws! See how easy it is to trim paw fur yourself.

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?

Notice the fur growing on the bottom of this dog's paw -- in and round the paw pads themselves. See how to safely trim your dog's paws.

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.

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:

It's easy to trim the entire exterior of each dog paw, with your dog standing still. See how I do it, step by step.
  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: You don’t have to use fancy dog grooming scissors. I just use the smallest pair of scissors from this scissors set (the 5.5-inch size craft scissors).  
  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! Use several tiny snips in the same area to precisely cut the fur on your dog’s paws.
  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 — between the bottom of the dog’s paw and the floor.

Tips For Cleaning Your Dog’s Paws In The Winter

This is an example of a neatly groomed dog paw.

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

Furry dog paws and hardwood flooring don't mix - you should keep your dog's paw fur trimmed. Here's how to do it...

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

Related: More about dogs and hardwood floors.

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Do you trim your pet's hairy dog paws or not? Yes, you should. Here's why... and how to do it yourself.