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How to Clean Dog Paws After Walking Your Dog

Dog paw in beach

The great outdoors brings excitement and much needed exercise for your dog. Going for a walk is a daily activity most owners will enjoy with their dogs and a breath of fresh air is always welcome. Dogs don’t wear socks, shoes or any of the sort and their paws will no doubt encounter dust, dirt and any other forms of unsanitary particles. Best practice for keeping your fur friend clean and healthy is to clean their paws immediately upon return home.

Dog paws are bare and exposed outside and cleaning serves a number of benefits to both your dog and home. Removal of dirt will eradicate bacteria that can infect your dog, this is especially important to remove before allowing your pup to roam freely around the house. Spreading of dirt and bacteria around the home is to be avoided at all costs. Be sure to check your dog’s body and paws for any signs of injury that will need some special care to prevent infection.  


How do I clean my dog’s paws after going out for a walk? 

Assessing the level of dirt picked up by your dog should be done through close visual inspection. Finding loose particles of dirt can be wiped away with a dry or wet towel. Sometimes a muddy puddle or two can leave quite the mess and a towel just won’t cut it. It’s time to prepare an appropriately sized basin of warm water. Apply a minimal amount of dog shampoo and work into a lather and wash off. It’s essential to make sure all shampoo is washed out as dogs will lick and groom themselves shortly after. Dry your pup’s paws thoroughly using a towel and blow dry if needed, this will help to prevent potential inflammatory skin disease.

frenchbull dog sad face and paw

When it comes to water, dogs have a mixed bag of feelings towards anything aquatic. Regardless of using a damp towel or a basin full of water, expect some resistance. If you’re having trouble cleaning your dog’s paws, consider using cleaning tools for an easier time and better quality of life for you and your dog. Pet cleaning foam is a better alternative to shampoo for washing convenience and an automatic dog paw washer can speed up the cleaning considerably. Use this tool by gently putting your pet’s paw into the washing cup, the device will automatically rotate the soft silicone bristles to wash and clean paws quickly and efficiently.   

automatic dog paw cleaner cat paw cleaner smart electronic cat paw washer dog paw washer

How do I make my dog’s paws even cleaner? 


Going the extra step or mile to ensure your dog has the cleanest paws to prevent bacteria spread is a worthwhile endeavor. Bacteria can latch onto long hair fibers and you might think that keeping your dog’s hair shorter in these areas would support hygiene, however, this isn’t the case entirely. Keeping hair around your dog’s paws serves as a self-form of cleaning as fibers trap remove dirt lodged between their paws. They also prevent dirt particles from seeping too deep. Keeping their fur and claws clean is important, make sure to regularly check claw length and condition, trimming them when needed.  

 dog paw big paws hair on dog paws

Keeping your home in a sanitary state is a priority, especially when a young child or baby is in the household. Bacteria carried from the outdoors can be a serious matter, contamination and infection is possible and needs to be prevented. Cleaning and applying antibacterial shampoo is an effective way to eradicate bacteria and prevent infection at home.  

 dog paw with human hands how to clean dog paws after walk

In emergency situations, you may need to sterilize an area of your dog’s paw. A DIY homemade sterile gauze can be made using alcohol. Alcohol promptly applied in minimal amounts can kill bacteria effectively but this should be avoided as much as possible. Alcohol evaporates in minutes, however, we don’t recommend use of alcohol to carry out sterilizing, some substances may be toxic and this approach should only be taken under guidance from your vet. Woof!

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