Keeping a pet comes with its own set of responsibilities. How To Trim Paw Pads At Home? is the frequently asked question by pet owners. While other pets – such as fish, birds or even cats for that matter – require either no grooming or just a minimal amount of it, dogs have to be groomed on a regular basis. Regular grooming sessions greatly help to maintain the optimal health as well as emotional well-being of dogs. Grooming can be done at home or at many professional grooming centers offering their services at fairly competitive rates.
While professional grooming is preferable when you have in mind a complete makeover for your dog, grooming for the sake of practicality can easily be done at home as well. There are many breed-specific how-to videos and write-ups posted online that clearly explain the nuances of grooming at home. In addition to such how-to videos and write-ups, there are many discussion forums as well wherein anyone can post their quires and get them answered by others within minutes of posting online.
For grooming at home, the following are usually required
1. Dog Hair Clippers & Dog hair trimmers
2. Brush – can be either slicker brush, pin brush or bristle brush
3. Comb – de-matting comb or ending comb
For a pet parent trying his hand at grooming at home for the first time, it is essential to understand the basic difference between hair trimmers and clippers. While clippers are generally larger-sized and used for cutting long hair, clippers are much smaller in size and used for styling and detailing.
Grooming at home involves the following processes –
brushing, ==> bathing, ==> cleaning of teeth, ==> checking of eyes, ==> cleaning in and around the ears, ==> clipping hair at the paws.
Grooming Dog Paw Pads
In a dog, the term “paw pads” is used to refer to the thicker skin at the lower end of the paw, covering the base of the digits. Clipping the excess hair around the paw pads is essential. If left unattended and allowed to grow long, the hair at the paws can make dogs slip on hardboard floors.
Paw pads in dogs serve the following function:
- Help in walking over rough ground
- Protecting tissue inside the paw
- Providing insulation against excesses of the weather
- Added cushioning safeguarding the joints and bones from shock
Regular inspection of the paw pads is essential for ensuring that they are free from infections, wounds or any other trapped foreign material.
Cleaning Between the Pads of the Feet
While shorter-haired dogs do not require much cleaning between the pads of the feet, medium or longer-haired dogs have to be regularly trimmed around the paw pads. Usually, breeds such as Cocker Spaniels, Border Collies, Golden Retrievers and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel have fur that grows long between the paw pads.
Though not a difficult task, a dog that is uncooperative might complicate the process. It is advisable to also clip the nails of your dog while you are clipping hair between the paw pads. Begin by looking for any trapped foreign material in the paw pads. Look out for pebbles, debris and other foreign matter; and remove them with the help of a pair of tweezers. Then, gently comb the hair between the digits and trim any excess hair.
Cleaning between the pads of the feet might require the following products:
1. Comb – a comb is used primarily for dislodging and easing out any debris that are stuck inside the paw pads. As the mats are clipped out in their entirety, it is best, while combing, to leave the mats as they are.
2. Electric clippers – electric clippers will be needed for cutting the excess hair between the digits. Clippers can be either battery-operated or the plug and use variety.
3. Clipper blades – the most appropriate blades for your clipper depends upon your personal preference as well as the texture and length of your dog’s hair. Always keep in mind that the lower the number of the blade, the longer the hair that you will end up with. That is, while a Number 5 blade leaves behind one-fourth of the original hair, a Number 10 will leave behind one-hundredth of the existing hair.
4. Thinning shears – generally, a clipper is sufficient for removing hair at the paw pads. Nevertheless, in certain cases, thinning shears might be required to balance out the rest of the hair at the foot, in order to create a look of uniformity.
5. Shears – though not advisable, some people prefer using shears to clip the hair at the paw pads. Using shears requires great care and precaution as any fidgeting on the part of the dog or the groomer holding the shears can result in grievous injury to the dog.
6. Styptic powder – despite all precaution, if you do end up nicking your dog, use a styptic ointment or powder to aid coagulation and stop the bleeding.
In addition to grooming tools and products mentioned above, a moisturizer might be needed as well to soften dry and cracked pads. Always use a moisturizer made specifically for canine use. Moisturizers that are manufactured for human usage can excessively soften the paw pads of a dog, leading to injury.
Cautions While Grooming Dog
Caring for the paw pads is an essential part of the grooming process. To maintain optimal health of the paw pads, regular checking and cleaning of the paws is important. When it comes to the paws of your pet, do not underestimate any of the following:
1. Wounds: Paws can be hurt when the dog steps onto debris or shards of glass. Superficial wounds that do not go deep can easily be treated with the help of an antibacterial wash, followed by a light bandage. Deeper cuts, on the other hand, require a veterinarian.
2. Winter care: The paws require especial attention during the winter season. Prone to cracking and chapping in the biting cold, preventive measure include applying a layer of Vaseline on the paw pads. Chemicals used for thawing the ice can lead to sores, blisters and other infections. Always, wash your dog’s paws with warm water on his return from a walk outside in the winter season.
3. Summer care: Paw pads are very sensitive and can feel the intense heat acutely. As a preventive measure, avoid taking your dog for a walk on hot sand or blistering pavements. Keep an eye on any blisters, ulcers, or reddish skin that might appear on your dog’s paw pads. Minor burns can easily be treated with an antibacterial wash and covered loosely with a bandage. Serious burns, on the other hand, require the immediate attention of a veterinarian.
4. Prevention is better than cure: Do pay close attention to your dog’s paws on returning from a run or hike with you. Ensure that your home and yard does not have any shards of glass or other broken things that can injure your dog.
Taking certain simple precautions can go a long way in ensuring that your dog’s paw pads are well maintained.
Proper paw care – that includes removing foreign objects trapped between the digits as well as clipping of excess hair – lends an overall neater appearance to your dog. As the excess hair on the paws is cut short, there are reduced chances of your dog slipping on hardboard floors. Keeping the hair on the paws short also keeps your pet happy and free from irritations.
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