Grooming Tips for Dog Paw Care

Most experienced dog owners know that an important part of keeping a dog healthy is taking care of his paws. Routine dog paw care frequently involves meticulous filing of the dog's nails and removal of matted fur, as well as the use of nail trimmers. A sore or swollen paw could indicate injury, which can require more extensive efforts on the part of the owner, or possibly a trip to the vet.

Trimming Nails

The nails on a dog's feet never stop growing, so unless your dog can wear them down with regular exercise on a hard surface, you will have to make a habit of trimming his nails. Dewclaws are the nails on the back of the leg, located higher on the ankle than the rest of the toes. If your dog has dewclaws, they must be clipped. If nails or dewclaws are left to grow for too long, they can curl into the dog's skin, causing discomfort and possible infection. There are a few types of trimmers to choose from. The guillotine style has a hole for the nail and a blade that slides down to chop it off. Other kinds are shaped like human nail clippers, except with a convex rather than concave clipper part, or curved scissors. Only cut off the very end of the nail. There are nerves and blood vessels in the quick, or the core, of the nail, so if you cut off too much you could cause pain and bleeding.

Trimming Paw Fur

It is also important to maintain the quality of a dog's fur around his paws. When a dog walks, his toes rub together and the paw gets repeatedly pressed against the ground. Even if the fur around your dog's paws is very short, it is still possible for the hair to get tangled and matted. If these mats and tangles are not regularly removed, they can harden and cause discomfort. Dog owners should make a habit of removing these with scissors, and trimming the fur between the toes to prevent future matting.


If your dog is limping or holding one of its paws off the ground, it could have an injured paw. You should inspect the paw carefully, and decide whether you can treat the problem yourself or if you would rather let the vet handle it. If it's just a small cut, abrasion or puncture, you can likely take care of the problem yourself. Clean the area, apply some anti-bacterial ointment to prevent infection, and wrap the paw with a bandage. If the bleeding doesn't stop soon after the wound is treated, or if your dog's paw becomes swollen, contact the vet.

A very important part of keeping your dog healthy is proper paw care. Dogs rely on their paws for nearly everything they do, and it's part of your job to routinely maintain the condition of your dog's feet.