Trimming Around the Paw Pads

Trimming Around the Paw Pads

Dogs with long coats often come in to be groomed with lots of thick hair growing between theunderside of their paw pads. Trimming this fur neatly is an integral part of a complete pet groom. 

Untrimmed hair coming from the underside of the foot not only looks messy, but it can alsocollect dirt, sand, salt, snow, sticky things, and icky things and track them into the house. It can also cause pets to slip and slide on smooth surfaces because the fur reduces the ability of the pet to take advantage of the natural traction paw pads provide. If the hair is not trimmed, hard tangles can form that grow close to the skin. These mats can hold moisture and cause skin irritation as well as serious discomfort for the dog. 

Work with a clean, dry foot because clipping dirty fur will dramatically shorten the lifespan of your clipper or trimmer blades. Trimmers with a 5-in-1 blade are small and nimble enough to trim this tricky area nicely and are safer than trying to cut the fur with scissors.

Lift the paw in a similar manner as you would to trim the dog's claws and hold the foot gently but firmly. Select the medium or short setting of your trimmer blade. Work from the toes toward the large paw pad using a scooping motion. Allow the blade to skim close to the skin to get a nice, tight clip. If mats are present in this area, it may take careful maneuvering to gently work the blade under the tangle to remove it safely. If the skin looks pink or irritated once the tangle is removed, a spritz of something soothing may be a good plan.

Once the area between the toe pads and the large food pad is tidy, you can use the trimmer to delineate a thin line at the rear edge of the large paw pad, which will help the finished foot look neat. The trimmer can also be used to carefully trim hair that grows along the outside edges of the toes around the perimeter of the paw. This will make your final scissor work go fasterbecause you have quickly and safely removed the hairs closest to the skin of the pads with your trimmer. 

Occasionally, a pet owner requests that this fur be left natural. In this case, be sure the hair is not matted between the pads by combing right down the skin. 

Nicely trimmed paw pads are a professional finishing touch for well-groomed pets.


Daryl Conner, MPS Meritus, CMCG has been devoted to making dogs and cats more comfortable and beautiful for 40 years.  You can find her happily working at FairWinds Grooming Studio with her daughter or typing away at her latest grooming-related article. Daryl was awarded both a Cardinal Crystal Award and Barkleigh Honors Award for journalism.  She shares her meadow-hugged antique Maine farmhouse with her practically perfect husband and a lot of animals.