How to Care for Your Puppy’s Paws

basic needs of a puppy - puppy paws placed in human handsYour dog’s paws cushion and protect their feet as they move around. It’s important to take care of them so your pup can move around without issue and without pain. Here is a short guide on how to care for your puppy’s paws:

1. Puppy Pedicures

One of the most common ways to care for your puppy’s paws is to give them puppy pedicures monthly with weekly touch-ups. Regular nail trims are important to prevent issues.

Nails should just barely touch the ground when your dog walks. If nails are loudly clicking against the floor, that means they are too long and it’s time for a trim. If you’re new to trimming a dog’s nails, your vet or professional groomer can give you some tips on how to do it safely.

How to Trim Your Dog’s Nails

Knowing how to cut your dog’s nails is important to avoid injury. Mostly, you want to make sure you don’t cut the quick of the nail, just in front of it. The quick is a sensitive section inside the nail that contains blood vessels and nerves, so you don’t want to cut into it.

If you do, it will be painful for your dog and cause bleeding. The quick tends to grow longer as the nail grows longer, so it makes sense to keep your dog’s nails short. Inspecting and trimming your dog’s nails regularly and using a nail file to smooth away rough edges will keep quicks short and your puppy’s nails healthy.

2. Trim Paw Hair

As part of the puppy pedicure process, you also want to trim the paw hair between the pads. This fur can get matted, which can make it painful for your pup to walk. Unruly paw fur is also prone to picking up more dirt, mud, and other substances that cause matting or just make your puppy’s paws more difficult to keep clean. Use a comb to gently brush out the paw hair and then cut it to be even with the paw pads. This will prevent matting and also help reduce the amount of stuff that gets stuck to your puppy’s paws.

3. Clean Between Paw Pads

As you are giving your puppy their weekly “pedicure”, make sure you clean between the paw pads. Even when the fur here is kept neat and trimmed, plenty of objects and other stuff can get stuck in this area. It’s also a good idea to check your puppy’s paws when they come in from being outside. You can even keep dog-friendly wipes on hand to easily clean off dirty, sandy, or salty paws.

Cleaning between the paw pads ensures this area stays clean and healthy and keeps your floors clean too. As you’re checking your pup’s paws or as you’re cuddling on the couch, you can massage their paw pads too. Not only does this get your puppy used to you handling their paws for more than nail trims and cleaning, it also encourages circulation to the area and can be relaxing.

4. Moisturize Paw Pads

Just like our skin can get dry and crack, so can your dog’s paw pads. These areas are susceptible to weather changes and rough terrain. It’s a good idea to moisturize paw pads regularly with a paw balm made for dogs, especially during the winter. You can even make a DIY paw balm.

While you’re checking over, massaging, or moisturizing your puppy’s paw pads, also look for cuts, scrapes, or irritated areas. Damage to this area can be painful for your pup and can easily get infected, so you want to monitor paws and paw pads regularly for anything that needs attention.

5. Gear Up

Another way to care for your puppy’s paws is to protect them with gear, like dog boots* (Amazon Affiliate Link). A sturdy pair of dog boots can protect your dog’s paws from hot pavement during the summer, from ice and salt during the winter, and from rough terrain while out on an adventure. It may take some time for your dog to get used to wearing them, but starting out with boots as a puppy will help your dog get accustomed to them early on.

With these tips, caring for your puppy’s paws can become an easy process that is also a relaxing, bonding time for you and your dog.

*Greenfield Puppies is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Greenfield Puppies may earn a commission for purchases made through Amazon affiliate links on our site.