Wooly Paws | PETS Magazine: Ask the Experts, by Desmond Chan

Wooly Paws | PETS Magazine: Ask the Experts, by Desmond Chan

Q: My Samoyed has joint problems and my groomer said that the fur under her paws worsens the situation because there’s no traction when she’s sitting or walking on our slippery tiled floor. Her paw fur grows like weeds, so I’m looking to get a set of professional grooming shears to trim her paw fur at home. What sort of shears do you recommend for trimming paw fur and what’s the best technique to use?

A: Our dogs rely on their paw pads for traction when they walk. When the fur between the paw pads grow excessively covering the pads, it makes it slippery for them to walk and put unnecessary pressure on their joints. 

To trim the paw fur, you can either use a pair of pet grooming scissors or clipper. 
Using a scissors
A short pair of pet grooming scissors with round tips is recommended as it provides more control and reduces the risk of cutting into your pet. Also, choose a pair that doesn't have teeth so it cuts off fur in one snip.
Hold your dog's paw and move it to the back just like how they would move it when they walk. The paw pads would be facing up. Keep it just slightly off the ground and not hold it up too high or in an unnatural angle as it would be uncomfortable.
Position the scissors flushed to the paw pad. Using your index finger and thumb, pinch the excess hair between the paws and trim it away. A good gauge is when the paws pads are not covered are exposed with no fur obstructing.
Using a clipper
Electric clippers are safe and simple to use. The clippers has a built-in comb and a cutting blade. When switched on, the cutting blade moves in an alternating motion and the comb guides the fur to the cutting blade and gets cut to the set length. 

With the clipper setting at 1.0mm, hold the clipper like how you'd hold a pen. At an angle of about 30 degrees to the paw pads, run the clipper slowly and gently across the paws in the opposite direction of the hair growth.

Be sure to constantly check the temperature of the blade as it might get too hot especially when it's switched on for awhile. Similarly, a good length is when the pads are not obstructed by fur. 

Always reward calm and cooperative behaviours. 
When deciding which equipment to use, take into consideration your pet's comfort level towards the piece of equipment, I.e some pets may be sensitive to the sound of the electric clipper. It is recommended to have a groomer to demonstrate and guide you before trying on your own. 
Paw pads hair should be trimmed once every 3 weeks. It is important to keep it short as it directly affects the traction when they walk. At the same time, it reduces the buildup of dirt, moisture and bacteria that might lead to infection.
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