Most dogs, especially long-haired breeds, grow longer hair between their toes. Although some dogs don’t mind it at all, for others it causes a lot of problems in winter and summer. Owners wonder whether the hair on the paws should grow freely or be systematically cut. As with many other grooming procedures – opinions are divided.
Paws in winter
Winter in the city is a tough time for any four-legged dog. The pavements sprinkled with salt and other caustic chemicals harm your pet’s delicate paws. During this period, the skin on your pet’s paws and pads should be protected with special care.
Often, owners complain about longer hairs growing between their pet’s toes during frosts. If these hairs are long, fluffy and grow uncontrollably, snow will settle on them and they will clump together into compact snowballs. Frozen snow on paws makes walking difficult and can also frost your pet’s delicate paws. Remember that snow in the city is not the cleanest and too long contact with dirt can irritate your pet’s skin.
Despite trimming the hair, remember to protect the paws additionally, e.g. by lubricating the pads with petroleum jelly before every outing.
Many owners who experience similar problems in winter decide to trim their hair. It is best to do this with very small, rounded scissors, which are designed to safely manoeuvre into the nooks and crannies of the paws.
Most often the hair is trimmed along the paw line. However, some owners advise extending the pads gently by clipping the hair just above the skin. The optimal hair length is an individual matter for each pet.
Clipping not welcome
Not all dog owners have good memories of the experiment with trimming the hair between the toes. Especially clipping in the summer is frowned upon. Longer hairs protect delicate pads from being burnt by heated pavement or asphalt. Some dogs even get irritated when walking on trimmed paws. The hairs also protect from chemical stains, prickly plant parts, rubbish, etc.
Every owner should systematically check the condition of the dog’s paws. If he notices that the hairs on their paws are getting tangled, he should comb them more often. If this doesn’t work – it will be necessary to trim them.
Beware of delicate membranes
The procedure is best done on sleeping or lying down dog. It is easiest to trim the hairs after a long walk when the dog is tired from running and allows any activity that does not require it to get up. If the dog is nervous and pulls out its paws, it is not worth doing the procedure by force. We risk too much in the delicate area of the dog’s paws.
When deciding to cut the hair, we have to be very careful. The membranes between the toes are extremely delicate and any disturbance to them causes great pain to the pet. Every injury on the paw should be carefully cleaned, treated and protected against harmful contamination, dirt and moisture, which can lead to infection.