How to Clean Dog Paws After a Walk to Keep a Clean Home

how to clean dog paws after a walk

As a responsible dog owner, you should learn how to clean dog paws after a walk because dogs love frolicking outdoors, whatever the weather. Even in dry conditions, a dog’s paws can get dirty. 

The best way to clean your dog’s paws after a walk is by using vet approved dog wipes or a moist towel before they come into the house. Gently wiping their paws and legs will get rid of any excess dirt attached to them. Depending on the level of dirt on your dog’s paws and legs, you may want to give your dog a quick bath before coming inside, to help remove any access dirt and mud from their paws.

Giving your dog a thorough cleaning after a walk doesn’t just keep your house dust-and-mud-free, but washes away debris around the paw pads, between the toes, and underneath toenails that could harm your dogs. Therefore, clean paws are healthy paws. 

But should you wash your dog’s paws after every walk? Absolutely. We’re not suggesting that you give him or her a bath every time he or she ventures outdoors, but there is a broad spectrum of dog paw cleaning solutions available to you to help you keep your canine’s paws spotlessly clean and in good condition. 

In this article, we’ll provide you with recommended dog paw cleaners, as well as household items you can safely use on your dog. We’ll also include some preventive measure to keep your four-legged family member from getting dirty and the reasons why shouldn’t neglect cleaning a dog’s paws. 

Why is Cleaning Muddy Dog Paws Necessary?

After taking your hound for his or her daily walks, you may quickly wipe down the paws to prevent mud from being tracked around the house. 

However, a quick wipe down of this sort isn’t enough to remove all traces of dirt that are caught in your dog’s fur, between the paw pads, and in the nails that could result in infections, abrasions or skin inflammation if it’s not removed. 

Sourcing the appropriate dog paw cleaner aids, even if it’s just warm water and a hand towel, is enough to remove stubborn particles of dirt. 

What Could Happen if I Don’t Clean My Dog’s Paws? 

Your dog traverses through various terrain, including sand, mud, ice, sleet, which leaves their paws exposed to the elements. 

Cleaning is essential because you can examine the condition of your dog’s paws under the layers of muck and dirt, identifying scrapes, cuts, and other injuries that cause discomfort and pain. 

Winter is particularly unforgiving on a dog’s paws, where some breeds are susceptible to the cold and salt. If you have a long-haired hound, snowballs can get stuck in their fur, which can be highly uncomfortable for your canine because, while trying to remove the small pieces of ice by licking, he or she may also remove hair.

Injuries aside, dogs might pick up toxins on walks, which may include de-icer agents. Because dogs lick themselves clean, they may accidentally ingest something poisonous if you don’t wash or wipe their paws properly. 

DIY Dog Boots, Hair Trimming, and Other Preventive Measures You Can Employ

Prevent your dog’s paws from getting cold, wet, dirty, and injured by investing in multiple pairs of dog booties. 

Some individuals may question the effectiveness of dog boots, but the truth of the matter is that this apparel is more than about dressing up your dog. Booties are protective gear that safeguards your canine’s footpads in harsh weather. Not only that, but booties are effective in keeping dog paws clean.

In winter, the salt found in ice contains acid that can cause injury to a canine’s pads, which becomes a very real and detrimental reality when the ice begins to melt. At the same time, hot tar can burn their paws, and while walking through rougher terrain, your dog could step on thorns, glass, and other sharp objects, which may result in nicks and nasty cuts if your dog’s feet aren’t protected. 

While dog shoes may put a stop to sore paws caused by a variety of surfaces, it’s important to note that a dog’s sweat glands are found in their feet, which is something to keep in mind if you plan on taking your pouch on long hikes with you. Frequently stop along the way to give their feet air breaks. 

If your dog refuses to wear shoes, another method to minimize the mess brought indoors is to trim the hair around your dog’s paws. By doing this, less dirt and ice gets trapped in the fur. However, it’s important to note that if you don’t have experience with trimming dog hair, it’s best to leave the task to professional dog groomers. Otherwise, you might nick your dog’s paw by accident.

Product Picks 

  • Protect your dog’s feet with these anti-slip, waterproof dog boots that can withstand all types of terrain and weather. Learn more here.  
  • Keep your dog groomed and happy with the Oneisall Dog Shaver Clippers, featuring an easy-to-use, cordless trimmer. 
  • The Casfuy Dog Nail Grinder gently cuts nails without over cutting. 

How to Clean Dog Paws Before Coming Inside 

An easy way to clean dog paws, and the best way to clean dog paws after a walk is with vet-approved dog wipes. Not only does this product remove dirt, but it also moisturizes cracked and dry paws. 

Can you use baby wipes on the dog’s paws? Many of the brands that we use on our infants’ soft skins are harsh on our pet’s paws because of the ingredients found in these products, such as parabens and alcohols, which can also be toxic if your mutt ingests it. It’s best to err on the side of caution by checking with your vet first. 

If you’d rather not use wipes, warm water, and a hand cloth lathered in a dog-approved shampoo also works wonders for filthy paws.

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The Best Way to Clean Dog Paws After an Extremely Muddy Walk

How do you keep your dog clean? While a task that takes time, bathing is necessary to prevent grit, grime, and fleas.  

At the same time, while it’s ideal to rub down your canine’s paws with dog wipes, sometimes you’re forced to bath your smelly mutt, especially if they’ve rolled around in mud or stepped in tar.

For small dogs, you can clean their paws in the sink, while you’ll need to give a foot bath to dogs that are larger in the tub using a sprayer. Dog paws are sensitive, so remember to keep the water at a lukewarm temperature.

If you’re looking for more permanent solutions that prevent dogs from getting ultimately muddied in the first place, take a look at our article on How to Fix Muddy Dog Trails. You can also say goodbye to mud being brought indoors by training your dog to be an outside dog, read our article on Dog Training here

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Are Paw Cleaning Mitts Useful Cleaning Aids?

Cleaning and drying your pet with a towel and water might be frustrating for them, so getting them to keep still may be near impossible for active pooches. Instead of chasing after your canine, who will think you’re playing, purchase a paw cleaning mitt instead.

Paw cleaning mitts are a pleasure to use for owners, comfortable for dogs, and effective in removing tough dirt. Made from unique microfibers, the mitt or glove removes mud, dust, or ice while also drying wet paws. 

Not only will your dog’s paws be spotless after using these mitts, but you’ll remain dirt-free in the process. It’s also an effortless task that requires you to slip on your gloves, then gently grab onto your dog’s paws and massage them for a couple of minutes. 

Although reported as long-lasting and highly effective, cleaning mitts don’t work as well on long-haired dogs. In this case, it’s better to find an alternative puppy paw cleaner. 

Product Picks

Best Dog Paw Cleaners Recommended by Vets

Paw Washers

A quick wipe down may not be enough to clean your dog correctly, which is when paw washers for dogs come in handy. 

The device, which looks like an oversized coffee mug, has a lid with a hole in the middle, which is where you’ll place your dog’s paws to clean. The hole is lined with bristles, which is the part that washes away dirt, is gentle on dog paws, and tough on dirt.

Paw washers are generally cheap, but you’ll find that a pitfall to using this product is that your mutt might be afraid of sticking his or her paw in. 

Paw washers come in all shapes and sizes. You can stick one out at your front or back door, making sure to clean dirty paws before entering inside, or you can carry a smaller version around with you on hikes and in case of emergencies. Dogs will be dogs, where mud, puddles, and other filthy areas become extremely attractive to them on walks. 

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Dog Paw Cleaning Mat

Believe it or not, there are mats designed to trap dirt brought in by dogs that help to keep your house and floors clean. Unlike traditional mats, you won’t have to train your dogs to wipe their feet!

Dog cleaning mats are usually made with micro-fiber noodles, which stop debris from entering your home. The non-slip rubber material that’s attached to the bottom of the rug is another notable feature, which is used to absorb outside water and prevents your floors from being ruined. The non-slip material also keeps the mat from being bunched up when your excitable dog runs across it and into your home at top speed. 

Product Picks

  • My Doggy Place Dog Mats are ultra-absorbent and available in assorted colors. Purchase yours here.  

Dog Wax 

As an animal lover, a messy home shouldn’t be the only reason to clean your dog’s paws. The pads of a dog’s paws, while exposed to a variety of terrains, are susceptible to cracking and bleeding as a result of running on hard surfaces or temperature changes. In some cases, cracking paws can be a symptom of a medical issue, which may require veterinary assistance. 

Paw wax provides a protective barrier to prevent scrapes, punctures, burns, and the cold from damaging their paws. Protection wax can be applied on and around the pads, as well as in between your dog’s toes, where small grit often gets trapped.

When buying the wax, you need to ensure that it’s a ‘breathable’ and water-resistant product. Waxes or balms made from shea butter, beeswax or lanolin are generally safe to use on animals. 

Product Picks

  • Mushers Secret Paw Protection protects paws and keeps them healthy and moisturized – take a look!

A Step-by-step Process on How to Clean Dog’s Feet 

You’ll find that your dog may put up resistance, especially if your dog hates water or bathing. Follow the below steps to ensure a hassle-free foot bath or wipe down for dogs. So how do you soak your dog’s paws?

Be Patient And Reward Good Behavior

Approach cleaning a dog’s paws and body calmly and slowly. Showing impatience may result in your dog developing negative associations with the activity. Praise your dog when he or she behaves well.

Keep A Spray Bottle By The Entrance Of Your Home

After your walk, immediately spray your dog’s feet with water to remove visible signs of mud and dirt. Followed this up by wiping his or her feet with the best dog paw wipes you can find online, damp paper towel, or a hand towel. 

Snowball Removal 

This step will only apply if you live in a cold area. Apply a cloth soaked in warm water to your dog’s paw, making sure to massage your dog’s icy pad, which will help loosen and melt ice. 

It’s essential to do this because icicles caught between your hound’s pad are extremely painful for your dog. 

Check Between The Toes 

Gunk and dirt accumulate between the toes and underneath the toenails, so if your dog allows you, clean in those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. 

Look For Cuts

When examining your dog’s feet, part the toes to check for cuts and splinters. If a dog’s in pain and is gingerly favoring an injured paw, you must be gentle. Depending on the severity of the cut, you can use dog paw disinfectant on the wound. Otherwise, you may need to take your pet to the vet for stitches or a checkup. 

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Make Sure Your Dog’s Paws Are Properly Dried 

If you don’t, you’ll end up with wet paw prints all over your house. 

Cleaning Dogs Paws With Vinegar 

Take a look online, and you’ll see that apple cider vinegar is said to have multiple benefits for dogs. These range from soothing their digestive tracts and remedying irritated skin or a dry coat to combating yeast infections that commonly grow on canine paws. 

Apple cider vinegar comprises antibacterial and antioxidant properties, which are safe for dogs to ingest in small amounts, so applying the solutions to your dog’s paws won’t have detrimental effects unless your pooch is allergic to the liquid. 

Because of their anti-bacterial components, apple cider vinegar can be used to treat injured paws, but be warned that vinegar can sting if applied to raw or open wounds!

Can You Use Peroxide on Dog Paws?

While hydrogen peroxide is typically found in most first aid boxes for humans, the jury’s out on whether the chemical should be used to treat canine wounds. 

While safe to use on our four-legged family members, it has no added benefits over using soap and warm water to clean their wounds. 

Here’s what you should not do if you decide to use hydrogen peroxide on your animals:

  • Don’t use it on large wounds. If your pet is severely injured, he or she should promptly see the vet. 
  • Because peroxide stings upon application, it’s essential that you dilute the solution in water beforehand.

Recap: How Do I Clean and Soak My Dog’s Paws Free of Dirt? 

Dogs are an excellent addition to have in our homes, but they’re messy animals who love being dirty. As a pet owner, it’s possible to have a clean house with an animal around by cleaning your dog’s paws after they’ve been outside. This article has outlined the following:

  • If you’re a responsible pet owner and houseproud, you should get into the habit of cleaning your dog regularly, not just to manage a tidy home but for the sake of your pet’s health. 
  • Dogs traverse over all types of terrain, ice, hot ground, rocky terrain, hilly areas, and more, which means they’re more likely to pick up dirt, sticks, chemicals, gravel, and more in the hard-to-reach spaces of their paws. To prevent injury and your pets from being poisoned by ingesting harmful substances, you need to clean and thoroughly inspect your dog’s paws, making sure to check the areas around their pads, underneath their nails, and between their toes.  
  • A dog’s pads are vulnerable to scrapes, cracking, cuts, and more. Removing the layers of dust and dirt with a thorough cleaning will help you to identify these issues and treat them accordingly.
  • There are numerous dog-cleaning aids on the market, including dog booties or shoes, paw washers for dogs, cleaning mats, various types of more. These products are inexpensive that are sure to keep your house spotless while improving your dog’s quality of life at the same time.