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The Ultimate Dog Paw Care Guide

Those little pawprints all over your house might be frustrating to clean up, but they're reminders that your furry friend is probably just around the corner. Keeping your dog's paws healthy is vital to their mobility, hygiene, and overall well-being. Even domestic dogs use their paws for various everyday activities, so monitoring their feet is essential to your dog's quality of life. Here are some key considerations for checking up on your dog's paws, knowing signs and symptoms of common issues, and products you can use to ensure your dog's paws stay in good shape.

Need some inspiration for your dog's paws? Check out our line of dog sneakers!  

Check Paws Regularly

Paws are a crucial part of a dog's body, and any paw concerns should be taken seriously and addressed promptly. Inspect your dogs' paws regularly to ensure there are no visible issues, such as abrasions, swelling, or foreign objects. Additionally, get in the habit of cleaning your dog's paws when they come in from outside. Have your dog sit while you sit behind them and lift up their front paws for inspection one at a time. To examine the back paws, have your dog lie down on its side so you can see both back paws. 

Nail Issues

close up of dog nails

Nail issues are common in dogs. No matter what type of nails your dog has, ensure you take care of them properly. 

Long Toenails

Long nails can make it uncomfortable for dogs to run around or do other things with their paws. Also, longer nails break more easily and are more susceptible to problems. Take care of this by keeping your dog's nails at an appropriate length by trimming them regularly yourself or taking your dog to the groomer. 

Ingrown Nails

Ingrown nails can be pretty painful for dogs and can also lead to infection due to sores or excessive chewing. If you see signs of an ingrown nail on your dog, such as increased sensitivity or swelling, take them to the vet to have it properly trimmed and treated.  

Torn Nails

Torn nails are another common injury, but they can often be treated safely and properly at home. A torn nail is painful for a dog, and it usually bleeds. Control the bleeding and then assess a vet visit if the nail doesn't heal. 

Proper Grooming

Just like you, your dog needs some TLC every once in a while. Below are a few best ways to keep your pup clean and fresh. 

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Clean Paws

Keep those paws as clean as possible to avoid a host of issues. First, clean your dog's paws when they come inside, especially if they've been digging in the ground or have caught an animal. Warm water and a small towel will work fine, or you can use moist wipes to clean off their paws thoroughly. 

Related: How Do I Know if My Dog is Allergic to Something?

Trim Nails

Due to their sensitivity, trimming your dog's nails should be done extremely carefully. Firmly grip your dog's paw and use your thumb to apply pressure and expose the nail. Carefully cut straight across, ensuring you don't cut too deep and harm the nerve endings. A good rule is to cut your dog's nails when they start touching the ground. 

Trim Hair Between Nails

Hair between your dog's might not seem like a big deal, but it has the potential to cause paw issues. If your dog's paw sustains an injury, the extra fur can make it tricky to clean and contribute to an infection. Help avoid this by regularly trimming the hair between your dog's nails with safety shears or a small pair of scissors and a small comb. 

Dog Shoes for Summer and Winter

small white French Bulldog wearing RIFRUF dog sneakers

Fortunately, we’ve got dog sneakers to keep your pup’s paws protected in all weather. Our sneakers are made to keep dog’s paws comfortable in the heat, rain, shine, or snow! 

Dog Paw Issues to Look Out For

If you pay attention, your dog will probably show signs of discomfort if there's something wrong with their paw. So here are a few things to stay on alert for.
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Excessive licking is one way your dog will try to soothe a sore paw. Check for an apparent injury and pay close attention to see if they have anything stuck in their paw, like a thorn or piece of glass. Your dog licking their paw could also indicate a skin condition such as dermatitis.


Dogs can cut their paws accidentally, especially if they spend a lot of time outdoors. If your dog cuts their foot, you'll need to treat it much like a human wound by thoroughly cleaning the cut and stopping the bleeding. Contact your vet in case the cut develops an infection that needs treatment. 

Lameness or Limping

This is a more obvious sign that your dog has injured their paw. This could be something as minor as a small cut or something more severe as a broken bone. You can use at-home treatments such as ice packs, but be prepared to seek medical attention for your dog if the pain seems to persist. -

Related: Why is My Puppy Limping?

Loose Flaps of Skin on Pads

Loose skin on a dog's paw pad usually indicates that it's been torn or peeled off due to an injury. The best thing you can do is bandage the paw up to prevent further irritation. Do not pull the loose skin off your dog's paw yourself, but make an appointment with the vet to have it trimmed and monitored for infection

Foul Smell From Paw

A foul smell coming from your pup's paw is likely a sign of bacterial infection. This could be the result of an injury that was left untreated, or it might be from your dog stepping into a foreign substance. You can help the situation by cleaning your dog's paw and trimming excess fur to ensure more debris doesn't end up there. 

Take Care of Your Pup's Paws

a couple holding their dogs paws

Dogs use their paws for almost everything, so it's important to keep them as healthy as possible. Check their paws from time to time, and make a note of any changes or new developments. Frequently, you can clear up paw issues on your own with basic treatment, but sometimes paw problems might require advanced veterinary care. Keep an eye out for issues and keep your dog's paws as clean as possible. 

Are you looking for a way to protect your pup's paws during outdoor activities? RIFRUF has all of your dog's paw needs covered!

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