Skip to Main Content

Healthy Pet Care Tips

Care Tips for Your Dog's Paws

Having healthy paws is an important part of your dog's overall health and wellness. Our PetVet Care Centers member vets provide tips on how to care for your dog's paws and keep your pup healthy.

Your Dog's Paws

Your dog's paws are tasked with bearing the totality of their weight and are essential for their everyday activities.

The pads of your dog's paws are made up of fatty tissue and elastic fibers and play a critical role in protecting the inner workings of the paw. They help cushion the bones and joints from shock whenever your pup is walking, running or even standing still. They also protect the tissues that are within the paw, allowing your dog to be comfortable as they move around.

The pads of the paw also help dogs tell what kind of surface they are walking on and assist in regulating their internal body temperature.

How to Care for Your Dog's Paws

Protecting the health of your dog's paws can help to keep your pup comfortable and free from pain whenever they move. Here are a few tips for helping your dog's paws stay in optimal health:

Check & Clean Paws Regularly

During your dog's daily travels, foreign objects like pebbles, prickly weeds, thorns, bits of glass, etc., can get lodged in the paws. Try to check your dog’s paws on a regular basis, especially after being outdoors, and use tweezers to carefully remove any debris.

Wipe or wash your dog’s paws as soon as they come in from outside. During the winter, this will also remove any snow/ice or de-icing products (road salt) that have gotten lodged between the toes or around the pads. A cloth soaked in warm water and a gentle massage can help loosen any ice build-up.

Dog booties are great during the winter as they protect your dog's paws from salt, ice, snow, and de-icing chemicals. The cold weather can also lead to dry, cracked paw pads, and exposed skin on the pads is at risk of frostbite, which booties may also help to prevent.

Keep Your Dog's Nails Trimmed

Your dog’s nails need to be trimmed regularly and fur around the paws should be groomed and clipped as necessary.

Long nails can injure your dog and cause issues while walking or running and are also prone to breaking and splintering which could be painful for your pup. Your dog’s nails shouldn’t touch the ground when they are standing on a flat surface.

If your furry friend resists having their nails trimmed contact your vet's office to see if they offer this service, (many do), or take your dog to a professional groomer on a regular basis for bathing and nail trims.


Dry paw pads can crack and bleed. Moisturizing your pup's paws can help to soothe damaged skin and prevent further issues from developing. Be sure that you only use moisturizers that are meant for dogs, and check with your veterinarian to find out which products are best for your canine companion.

Use First Aid

If your dog’s paws have a minor cut or wound, don't just wait for it to heal on its own. Clean it with a dog-friendly antibacterial solution, apply an antibacterial cream, and then wrap it in a light bandage.

Deeper cuts should be examined by your vet as soon as possible. If the cut is very deep there is a risk of damage to tendons, but with cuts of any severity, there is always the risk of infection. Prevent small injuries from developing into more serious concerns; consult your vet if your dog has an injured paw.

Preventative Care

Prevention is always better than treatment, help to protect the health of your dog's paws by checking areas in which your dog plays to ensure they are clear of any debris or objects that your pup might step on. When on walks, keep a sharp eye out for hazards such as broken glass, pieces of metal, and loose gravel/pebbles.

If it's not somewhere you would walk around barefoot, your dog probably shouldn't either.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets.

Contact a PetVet Care Centers location near you to make sure your dog's paws are in great shape with a routine wellness exam.

Find a Vet Near You

Our veterinary teams understand how precious your pet is to you. We offer the quality of care you expect for your furry friends.

Find a Hospital

Practice OwnersCareers