How to Trim Dog Paw Hair

Is your dog sliding across the floor? Or coming inside with ice balls stuck between his toes? Sounds like he’s overdue for a paw hair trim! Head to the groomers for a professional job, or try your hand at trimming dog paw hair yourself.

How to trim dog hair between paws yourself

Kathy McFall, certified professional pet groomer and owner of Kathy’s Pet Salon, recommends starting with ballpoint scissors (or a small electric razor) and a slicker brush.

Here are Kathy’s paw hair-trimming tips:

Step 1. Lay small dogs on your lap or larger dogs on the floor.

Step 2. Use the slicker brush to brush the hair on top of the feet — the “wrong” way — so it stands up.

Step 3. Hold the scissors just above the top of the foot, not touching the skin, with the ball tips pointed toward the leg. Make three separate cuts above the space between the toes.

Step 4. Lightly trim the outside edges of the three toes on the front of the foot.

Step 5. For trimming the back “heel” of the dog, lay the scissors across the top of the back pad and trim the excess hair sticking out between the paw pads.

If your pup is anxious, have someone else hold your dog and feed her treats. A treat lick mat with peanut butter or wet food can help your dog love his paw pad trims!

dog paw hair brush
Brush your dog’s paw hair backward, so it stands up straight and is easier to trim. © Kristina Lotz

 Try these dog paw hair trimming tools:

When to see a dog groomer for a paw trim

A professional dog groomer typically does a cleaner and quicker job, which nervous dogs will appreciate! Kathy says to seek professional help if you see matting or foreign objects in-between the pads of the foot. Ideally, dog paws should be trimmed every four to eight weeks and, she adds, that’s the perfect time to trim those nails, too!

With the proper utensils, a steady hand and a patient dog, you can trim your dog’s paw hair at home. If you are nervous or your dog has a lot of mats, leave it to a professional groomer.

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