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How to Trim Hair on Dog Paws: 6 Expert Tips

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

clean dog paw after cutting hair and pedicure

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Dog paws that are too hairy can be a problem for various reasons. They can be slippery on bare floors, causing a dog to lose their balance. They can attract dirt and debris that gets stuck between the toes and causes irritation. Hairy dog paws can also interfere with a dog’s senses while adventuring outdoors due to their inability to feel the ground effectively.

Fortunately, there is something that you can do about your dog’s hairy paws: Trim them! It can seem daunting at first, but after a bit of practice, you should find that it’s just another grooming task. Here are six expert tips on how to trim the hair on your dog’s paws.

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How to Trim Hair on Dog Paws

1. Choose Trimmers Over Scissors

Electric trimmers are much safer than scissors when it comes to working with your dog’s paws because they can be fitted with guards that will ensure that the blades will not touch the paws or nails. When working with scissors, it is possible to accidentally cut or even stab a paw with the tips, which could cause serious damage. If you’re using standard electric trimmers, start by using a #15 blade, which should take off enough hair to clear the pads. If the hair is exceptionally thick and/or long, a #30 blade may be necessary.

groomer cutting paw hairs of curly poodle dog by haircut trimmer in grooming salon
Image Credit: olgsera, Shutterstock

2. Use the Tip of the Clippers

To get rid of your dog’s unwanted paw hair, utilize a corner tip of the clippers, as this will enable you to trim the hair more precisely and get into tight spaces, like between the toes. Be careful not to go too deep, or you may nick the webbing between the toe pads. There is no need to worry about trimming the sides and tops of the paws unless it’s for aesthetic purposes.

3. Get Your Dog Used to the Clippers Before Your First Trimming Session

It’s important to make sure your dog is comfortable with the clippers before your first trimming session, or they might struggle or wiggle too much for you to safely complete the task. Turn the clippers on, and place them in the same room as your dog. Let your dog get close enough to inspect them. Continue doing this for a few minutes at a time until they become comfortable and relaxed around the device.

Next, with the clippers turned off, mimic the act of trimming your dog’s paws to see how they react. If they seem nervous, have them lie down next to you, and pet them to relax them. Then, slowly and calmly, try again. Once they allow you to mimic the process of trimming their paws, you should be able to turn on the clippers and get the job done for real.

groomer cleaning dog paw at the grooming salon
Image Credit: BY-_-BY, Shutterstock

4. Hold Your Dog’s Legs Close to Their Body

With your dog lying on their side, hold each of their legs close to their body while you trim the paws. This will help you maintain control of the leg movements so you don’t accidentally nick a paw. If your dog does not want to lie down, they can sit while you pull up each leg toward their body to work on their paws. It is important that your dog feels safe and comfortable no matter what position they are in.

5. Rub Coconut Oil on Your Dog’s Paws Afterward

To help keep your dog’s paws healthy and supple, you can rub coconut oil on them. This can help relieve dry, cracked paws and any irritation that they might be feeling after trimming. It may even help improve any damage that has been done to your dog’s paws due to wear and tear from outdoor adventures.

smiling dog looking at the bottle of oil
Image Credit: Te9I, Shutterstock

6. Reward Your Dog for a Job Well Done

It’s always a good idea to reward your dog for putting up with the paw-trimming process. It certainly is not fun for them, so if they are willing to cooperate, they should be recognized with a few pats on the head and a favorite treat from the cupboard. If your dog is rewarded after every paw trimming, they will be more likely to associate the grooming task with something positive.

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In Conclusion

Trimming your dog’s paws can be a chance for you both to bond and create more trust between one another. The tips and tricks outlined here should help make the process efficient and even enjoyable for everyone involved, and your dog is sure to appreciate their trimmed paws!

Featured Image Credit: PixieMe, Shutterstock

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