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How to Clean Dog Paws? Pawsome Tips and Tricks

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Author: Jacob Kay

Have you ever wondered what your dog’s paws go through every day? They walk on different surfaces, encounter various objects and sometimes step on things that can hurt them. Your dog’s paws 🐾 are not only their means of transportation but also their way of sensing and interacting with the world. That’s why keeping them clean is so important for their well-being.

how to clean dog paws

Clean paws are essential for your dog’s hygiene and health. By cleaning your dog’s paws regularly, you can keep your dog 🐕 safe and healthy. But, how to clean dog paws? Let us discover how clean paws can improve your dog’s health, comfort and happiness and how to clean your dog’s paws simply and gently which both you and your dog will enjoy. So, get ready for a paw-some handshake with your Fido.🤝🐶

How Often Should You Clean Your Dog’s Paws?

There is never a thumb rule for a Fido’s grooming schedule 🗓️. It always varies from one dog to another depending on their age, breed and activity level as well. Just like bathing, your dog does not need his paws to be cleaned or washed every day.

So now the question arises how often to clean them? Well, it depends on how dirty they are. If your dog loves staying outdoors and you take him for hikes then you should wash their paws after every trip. However, there is no need to wash them after regular play 🥏 sessions or daily walks 🚶‍♂️ unless the roads are wet and muddy.

dog paws

If you have a lazy 😴 pooch who stays indoors and just prefers going on a light neighbourhood walk then you don’t need to bother about washing their paws. You can clean them while bathing 🛁 the dog. However, if the weather during the walks is harsh and your Fido has got dirty paws then you want them to be cleaned.

Thus, the frequency of cleaning a dog’s paw depends on the dog itself. You need to monitor their paws and check them on a regular basis.

How to Clean Dog Paws? A Step-by-Step Guide

Cleaning dog paws is one of the simplest processes, you just need to take the dog, grab his dirty paw and some materials and tools that’s it. If your dog has muddy paws then you may need to wash them thoroughly. Follow these simple steps to clean your dog’s paws.

Step 1: Washing

You can use a sink and a hand shower or a sprayer to wash the paws and remove the dirt. For large dogs, you can use a bathtub 🛁 too. If the paws are exposed to any sticky substances then you need to remove the stickiness using a small proportion of dog shampoo.

Scrub the dirty area and completely rinse away the shampoo. Never use cold water or too hot water to rinse the paws. Always use lukewarm water to remove the dirt and kill any germ or bacterial growth.

Step 2: Clean Around the Toes and the Nails

Washing between the toes and around the nails is important. If dirt between the toes is not clean then it will get accumulated there leading to fungal infection. Moreover, If your dog accidentally licks the dirt or ice(during snow) from between the paws then it may cause oral ulceration and irritation.[1] Therefore, always separate each of the dog’s claws 🐾 for proper cleaning.

Step 3: Dry Paws

Lastly, make sure that the paws are clean with no dirt, mud or any sticky substances on them. Pat the paws with a clean, dry towel. Wipe out the water completely and let the paw air dry to completely release moisture from the fur around.

Do not rub the towel harshly against the skin to dry it as this can cause irritation, redness and swelling and may hurt the dog.

How to Clean Dog Paws Without Water?

When the paws of your dog are not too dirty then you can clean them without water. If the paws are a little dusty after a regular walk then you can wipe their paws with a paper towel or a wet wipe. This could be a cost-efficient way to clean the paws. You can use dog-friendly wipes and dab the paws to remove the dirt.

dog wearing boots

For longer hair breeds, you should try trimming the hair around the paws whenever possible. Along with the paws, the hair around them becomes dirty and muddy and thus, regular foot hair trimming is necessary. In addition to this, you should also take care of the nails. It should be perfectly trimmed to avoid any injury to the dog.[2]

One of the preventive ways to keep the paws 🐾 clean is the use of boots. You can have your dog wear boots when on a routine walk during harsh weather like wind or snow, where there are more chances that the paws will get dirty.

If your dog has a cut or injury on their paw, you may need to bandage it properly. See how to bandage dog paw for steps on applying a secure bandage.

Home Remedies to Clean Dog Paws

While there are many substances available in the market to clean the paws, sometimes home remedies also work well. If you run out of the cleaning solution and need to clean the paws then here are some home remedies to clean dog paws.


Dogs sweat through their paws and it is important to keep the paws dry. This is because the moisture on the paws can lead to the rise of germs and bacteria. This, white vinegar and apple cider vinegar can be used to clean the sweaty paws from yeast infections and bacteria build-up.

You can soak your dog’s paws in a 2:1 water and vinegar solution. Remember, vinegar is acidic in nature and could irritate or even damage the skin of a dog’s paw. Thus, you should keep the proportion of vinegar less.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is the most natural ingredient with no side effects on the skin. You can use coconut oil in winter to counteract dry paw pads. “It’s been known to help skin conditions like hot spots, bites, stings or itchy, dry skin.“, confirms Jan Reisen at the American Kennel Club.

It can also help to soothe cracked paws and promote wound healing. However, make sure that your Fido does not lick the coconut oil in large quantities, though a small amount would still be fine.

In addition to coconut oil, some pet owners recommend using paw balms or salves to moisturize dry, cracked paws. Look for a high quality balm made specifically for dogs, like the best paw balm for dogs UK.


What can I use to clean my dog’s paws?

Dog wipes or other moist wipes labelled safe for pet use can help clean muddy, sandy or salty paws quickly and are convenient to carry in a bag if you’re travelling. You may need to upgrade to a warm, soapy washcloth, however, for serious messes.

Should I scrub my dog’s paws?

Yes, you can scrub the paws to remove the excess dirt and mud from the paws. You may even use a small amount of dog shampoo to wash the paws thoroughly and gently scrub them. However, you should not scrub the paws so harshly that it hurts the dog and damages the skin.

How often should I soak my dog’s paws?

Paw soaks are recommended at least once per day if your dog does not wear booties outside. Some people have a routine where the dogs walk through the water bowl then they walk on a towel or rug or they use a paw plunger that will squeeze off the excess water and debris.

Can you put coconut oil on a dog’s paws?

If you find that your pup’s paws are dry or cracked, you can use coconut oil to help soothe and heal them. Make sure to rub the coconut oil thoroughly into your dog’s paws or your dog will mistake this treatment for a snack and lick off all of the oil!


In a nutshell, keeping your dog’s paws clean is a simple but essential part of caring for your furry friend. By following the tips and steps, you can ensure that your dog’s paws are free of dirt, bacteria and irritants.

By regularly cleaning your dog’s paws and applying moisturizers like paw balm for dogs, you can keep their paws healthy and happy.

You can also prevent common paw problems such as cracks, infections or injuries. Remember to check your dog’s paws often, use pet-friendly products and reward your dog for being patient and cooperative. Your dog will thank you with happy and healthy paws! 🐾🐶


  1. Ice melt toxicity in pets. (2023). ASPCApro.
  2. Mmyers. (2022, March 11). Polishing Up On Animal Nail Care – Pet Talk | VMBS News. Texas A&M University.
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Jacob Kay
Jacob Kay is a Veterinary Advisor and Editor at WWD. He’s also a dog lover and has two pet dogs of his own. He has extensive knowledge in the field of veterinary medicine and is always happy to share his insights with others.

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