PETS Magazine: Ask the experts column, by Desmond Chan (Cleaning Paws)
Q: Are paw washers worth investing in? My two Malteses sleep with me on the bed and I’m not sure how clean their paws are after walks if I use just wet wipes. Will using a paw washer every day dry their paw pads and skin out? How can I make sure my dogs are clean enough to sleep on my bed in between baths?
A: Paw washers do a great job in cleaning out those muddy, dusty paws after walks or play. They usually involve a water reservoir and feature soft bristles to help dislodge stubborn bits of dirt or mud. It’s similar to rinsing your dog’s feet in the shower after each walk, just that it’s more convenient and less messy. Using paw washers should not dry out your dog’s paws or skin unless a shampoo or cleaning agent is used.
One needs to note that the extent of cleanliness also depends on the amount of hair between the paw pads, as well as how cooperative your dog is with putting its feet in the paw washer for the required time. Paws without much hair between the paw pads are easier to clean, and it is recommended that your pups get an under-paw shave once every three weeks. Also, it is of utmost importance to dry and brush the wet hair thoroughly after using the paw washer to prevent fur from clumping, matting, and becoming a breeding ground for bacteria.
Alternatively, wet wipes do a good job in removing dirt from the paws as well, perhaps slightly less thorough than when using the paw washer, but good enough for regular walks on dry pavements. Some pet wipes have antibacterial and moisturising properties that are beneficial to canines. Remember to use wipes specifically formulated for pets instead of regular wipes for humans, as the latter may contain ingredients or chemicals toxic or unsuitable for dogs.
To ensure your pooches are clean enough to share the bed, you can either clean their paws with the paw washer, rinse them under running water or use pet wipes. If you’re rinsing or using the wipes, do remember to pay more attention to areas between the paw pads. Additionally, you may like to use pet wipes to clean their faces, undersides and their bodies as they may have gotten dirty while sitting, rolling in the grass, or smelling the ground.
Ultimately, the priority of keeping our dogs clean after walks is not solely for the sake of being able to share our beds, but more importantly, to keep them healthy and free from infections.