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Routine Paw Care

Routine Paw Care

Paws and nails are often forgotten about in routine dog care but it is so important to keep an eye on them. A change can affect your dog and make the uncomfortable. It is recommended that every week you check your dog's paws to ensure that they are still healthy.

What should I check when I look at the paws?

  • Nail Length
  • Paw Pads
  • Red Irritated Skin
  • Between each paw pads

Why are Nails so Important?

Nails help dig into the ground while dogs are running around which provides them with necessary traction. This includes dew claws for more strenuous activity. Some dogs do not have dew claws through to breeding. Some breeds have double dew claws to help with really strenuous activities.

Why Do they need to be a certain length/clipped?

Some dogs can maintain their nails through wearing them down on harder surfaces. Many dogs do not wear the nails enough. Therefore it's important to clip them as it can affect the structure of the dog's paws and their stance. By altering the structure of their stance it can put excess pressure on their joints and even lead to join issues. If the nails are consistently touching the floor (which you can normally hear on hard indoor surfaces) this will also change the dogs stance and over stimulate the nails, which can make them uncomfortable for the dog.

By clipping the nails you reduce the pressure on the paw and help the dog stay more comfortable. It also keeps the right amount of grip when your dog is running around. 

You do not want to clip them too short because this will also make the dog uncomfortable as the quick may be cut. By cutting them too short they do not function properly for traction which can also put more pressure on the joints. 

How often should I clip the nails?

Dogs nails should be maintained by clipping at least once a week. If you are reducing the size of the nails you should aim to clip every 2-3 days. 

What Length Should The Nails be?

The nils should be off the ground when your dog is standing square. The majority of nails should not click when walking on a hard/wooden surface. Due to the conformation and how the dog walks it can be impossible to stop the clicking. If you are concerned about the length of the nails do talk to your vet. As the fur on paws can make nails look shorter than they actually are.

How do I clip the Nails?

We recommend that you get a vet to show you about clipping them. You can also check out Cristina's book that contains a section about this:

Why are paws so important? 

Paw pads act as shock absorbers to protect your dog’s bones and joints. They also create a barrier between his feet and elements such as ice and hot asphalt. In addition, a dog’s paw pads contain scent and sweat glands that are crucial for marking his territory. Given the significant role they play, it’s important to protect their paw pads from cracking. Often a paw will become dry before cracking but it is not always the case. Therefore it's super important to keep an eye on them to keep them healthy and hydrated.

How to Spot Dry Paws?

Feel the pads and they should not feel rough to touch. Some dogs feel hard like concrete which is likely to be from those dogs that are doing high levels of activity.  If they feel like sandpaper it is a strong sign that these paws are dry. 

How to Spot Cracked Paws?

Paws should look smooth and not have and cracks within it. Sometimes when workload is changing your dog is more susceptible cracks as your dogs paws start to change to become harder to cope with the extra workload. 

The sides of the paws and under the claws should be checked as often this is where they can crack first. 

What Is Red Irritated Skin?

Red spots can be caused by a dog licking their paws or from allergies. It is important to be aware of the paw colour and know when red spots occur. These can be super itchy to your dog and it may be that a vet can help, especially if they are caused by an allergy. 

What would I look for between each paw pad?

It is important to check the paws between each pad, the hairs can become matted or grow too long. Matted hair is uncomfortable to the dog. Long hair can prevent the paw pads from contacting the ground and providing efficient traction. The longer the hair the more likely there is to be mats. 

It is also great to check that no stones/twigs/mud or grass seeds have been caught between them. These can make the dogs really uncomfortable when walking around and grass seeds can be dangerous.

They can also be cut / blister or even have red spots in-between their paw pads which you can address and help heel to help your dog be comfortable. 


is super important. By checking your dog's paws once a week (or after every walk) you can notice what is normal and any subtle changes that may need to be addressed. Sometimes these changes may be related to dog's behaviour, especially if they are feeling very uncomfortable. 

Summer and winter often provide different challenges for paw care, so do check out these blogs to help you. 


If you liked this you may also like to read about:
Routine Paw Care
Winter Paw Care
Summer Paw Care
Using Paw Moisturiser 


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