Orange tabby cat laying in the grass with its paws up.

Pets with long hair in between their toes and paw pads often get mud, ice or twigs stuck in their paws, and the long hair can cause them to slip on smooth surfaces. Having an abundance of long hair in the paw pads can also trap moisture which can lead to infection.

Although it’s always safer to leave trimming your pet to a professional groomer, you may sometimes need to trim your pet’s paws between grooming appointments. Here’s a guide to help you safely trim your pet’s paws.

Trimming a Dog or Cat’s Paw Fur

1. Make sure they are comfortable with the paw trimming process

Begin by training your dog or cat to get used to having their feet handled. Play with the fur between their paw pads and gently pull up the fur between their toes. Give them a yummy Freeze-Dried Treat for Dogs or Cats as a reward.

You may also want to clip your pet’s nails first, before trimming their paw pads. Check out this blog to learn how to trim your dog’s nails or check out this blog to learn how to clip your cat’s nails.

You will need a pet scissors with a blunt end and a slicker brush to assist with trimming. Here’s more info on different brushes for your pet and check out this blog for a helpful grooming supplies checklist.

2. Trim your pet’s paw pad

Have your pet either stand or lay down and gently bend their paw back into an L shape. The paw pads will have a V shaped area that contains fur. Carefully trim this fur back as close as you can, safely, without injuring your pet. If you accidentally nick your pet, seek veterinary attention because the added pressure of walking can slow the healing of your dog or cat’s paw pads.

3. Clean up other hair around the paw

After trimming as much hair as you can between each paw pad, trim around the entire paw to neaten them up so that excess hair clears the floor.

4. Carefully trim between your pet’s toes

Next, you’ll want to trim the hair between your pet’s toes. Using a slicker brush, fluff and brush all of the hair between the toes upwards. You can even put your fingers between your pet’s toes and gently pull the hair up. Once you have fluffed the hair up, use scissors to trim the hair flush with your pet’s toes. This method is safer than using a scissors in between the delicate webbing of your pet’s toes, but still works to help remove excess fur, giving your pet’s paws a neat appearance.

The Benefits of Trimming Paw Hair

Trimming your pet’s paws will help your dog or cat feel better by removing irritation and helping with traction. Your pet’s paws will also have a paw-lished appearance and your home may stay cleaner due to less dirt and debris being tracked in. Just remember to be patient with your dog or cat so that grooming is a paw-sitive experience for them.

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