Does your dog know any cute paw tricks, like Shake or High Five? Does Fido sometimes put his furry foot on your leg when he wants attention or to politely ask for pets, walks, or treats? Fido’s furry feet have become his unofficial sigil: we often use paw prints to designate that certain items or pieces of art are for or about dogs. Those paws are actually critical to your pet’s health and well-being. A local Wichita, KS vet offers some information about caring for your dog’s paws in this article.

Should I Clean My Dog’s Paws After Every Walk?

It’s not a bad idea to wipe your dog’s feet down after you’ve walked him. In summer, this can remove dust and pollen. That’s going to be really helpful if your pet has allergies. 

In winter, Fido can get painful burns and abrasions from things like salt, sand, and chemical de-icers. If possible, opt for pet-friendly de-icing products: these are gentler on your pet’s feet.

An easy way to do this is to keep pet wipes or clean cloths and a spray bottle of water near the door. Teach your pet that he’ll get a snack for letting you wipe his feet.

If your canine buddy is a very good boy, you may even be able to teach him to wipe his own paws! This will be easiest if you keep a bath mat or thick doormat near the door you and Fido go in and out in. Remember to offer your pup a treat! Ask your Wichita, KS veterinarian for training tips.

Should I Moisturize My Dog’s Paws?

Yes! Keeping Fido’s cute little toe beans moisturized can prevent cracks and chafing. It can also help by forming a barrier between your dog’s skin and hot or harsh surfaces.

What Is The Best Thing To Put On A Dog’s Paws?

You’ll want to use some sort of paw balm or paw wax. There are plenty of suitable products. Or, just make your own! The AKC has this recipe on their site:


  • 2 tbsp. olive, sunflower, or sweet almond oil
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp. shea butter
  • 4 tsp. beeswax

Melt the oils, shea butter, and beeswax In a small pot or double boiler over low heat. Stir continuously until all is melted and well blended. Then, pour the mixture into small tubes or tins. Let it cool until hard, and then label it. This is also a good gift for Fido’s buddies, though you’d want to list the ingredients, just in case any of the pups or their people have allergies.

You don’t have to go all-out, though. In a pinch, you can use olive oil, coconut oil, or even Vaseline.

How To Care For A Dog’s Paw?

Fido will need regular pawdicures to keep his nails from getting too long. This is actually more important than many people realize. Overgrown claws can be quite uncomfortable for your canine buddy. They will also interfere with the angle of your pet’s toes against the ground. That can cause all sorts of problems. For one thing, your pooch will have a harder time gaining traction, especially if he is walking or running on slippery ground. That, in turn, can increase the chances of your pet slipping and falling, which you definitely don’t want.

Another issue with overgrown claws is the fact that, over time, they can cause your pet to shift his weight and/or stride. That is also uncomfortable. Plus, it can contribute to or exacerbate bone/joint issues, such as arthritis.

Last but not least, long nails are more susceptible to getting ripped and torn. That can lead to painful (and even dangerous) infections.

How Do I Get My Dog To Tolerate Having His Claws Clipped?

We’ve gone over the reasons that it is so important to cut your dog’s nails. However, if you try to explain this to your pooch, you’ll probably just get a cute head tilt and a confused look. It may take a bit of time, patience, coaxing, and, well, a bit of bribery to get your pup on board.

Start by just massaging his paws. Give him a yummy treat when you do this. Tricks can also be quite helpful here. You want Fido to think that he’ll get something yummy for letting you handle his paws. Choose something high quality, like a bite of steak or some deli meat.

At first, don’t do anything. Just hold his paws, and then give him his treat and let him go. Once he’s gotten used to this, incorporate the clippers. Don’t cut right away. Run them over his feet and make the clippers ‘click’ so he gets used to the sound. Offer a treat, a head pat, and a compliment. Keep repeating this.

When Fido seems to have gotten pretty calm about this, you can start clipping. Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to do all four paws at once. You can do one at a time and keep rotating. This may work better if your dog will only sit still for a few moments.

If your pet really doesn’t want to tolerate having his feet played with, you can bribe him a bit. You’ve probably seen some reels of people using peanut butter and other goodies to distract Fido. This may work, but with a few caveats. If you go the peanut butter route, you’ll need to make sure to choose one that does not contain xylitol, as it is toxic to dogs. (Also, we recommend using a plate, rather than your head or a shower wall.)

No matter what you do or what kind of clippers you use, be sure to keep styptic powder on hand, in case of any bleeding. Also, ask your vet to demonstrate proper techniques. This can help you avoid cutting the quick, which is where your pet’s nerves and blood vessels end. 

How Do I Protect My Dog’s Paws?

Simple vigilance is really your best bet. When walking your pet, keep an eye on the terrain. If it’s cold or hot out, stick to soft grass as much as possible. In summer, stay off hot surfaces. This goes double after your pet has been swimming. Dogs’ paws get very delicate when wet, just like our skin does. Fido can get blisters very quickly after being in the water.

Should I Put Boots On My Dog?

Honestly, that’s really up to Fido. If your furry friend will tolerate them, boots can be a great way to protect his feet. However, you don’t want to force it.

How Do I Tell If My Dog’s Paws Are Okay?

It’s always a good idea to do some causal paw inspections on your pet. Of course, if you see your dog limping or favoring his paws, there may be something wrong. Aside from that, just get into the habit of looking things over. This is easy to work into cuddle time or trick training sessions. You’ll want to look for bumps, bruises, cuts, ticks, blisters. Keep an eye out for foreign objects, such as ticks, thorns, foxtail grasses, or even gum. You can treat a very minor scrape at home with antiseptic, but see your veterinarian for anything more than that.

Should I Cut My Dog’s Toe Fur?

You may want to. We know, those little tufts are cute. However, they can also pick up things like gum or ice balls, which can lead to painful mats. Ask your Wichita, KS vet for more information. 

Book A Visit At Our Wichita, KS Pet Clinic

Do you have questions about caring for your canine pal’s feet? Is Fido overdue for a visit to our animal clinic? Please feel free to contact us, your Wichita, KS pet hospital, anytime!