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How to Disinfect Dog Paws: The Complete Guide

It’s natural for dogs to play in the mud or dirt. Every pup owner enjoys letting their pups do what they do best while outdoors.  However, that means frequently cleaning your dog’s paws. 

In today’s world, cleaning your dog’s paws is not enough. You need to disinfect them to keep away contaminants such as viruses, bacteria, and other health risks.

If you go around asking dog owners, how to disinfect dog paws? Most of them will suggest you to simply wipe them with a towel. But, that won’t get the job done at all. 

Read more: How to get dog pee out of carpet

So, how do you clean and disinfect your dog’s paws? By following this guide you’ll know everything there is to know about disinfecting your dog’s paws.

Why Is It Important to Disinfect Your Dog’s Paws?

Hygiene is an important factor for all animals. You always remember to give your dog regular baths and brush his teeth. But what everyone tends to forget is to clean and disinfect their paws.

This is quite ironic, as paws happen to be the dirtiest parts of a dog and I’m sure your carpets wouldn’t disagree. However, keeping your rugs clean isn’t the only reason to keep your dog’s paws clean and disinfected.

You should consider the risk of infection. Your dog puts its paws in all kinds of places that filled with bacteria and germs.

Read more: How to get dog poop out of carpet

On the other hand, your dog’s feet are an indication of his health. Some dogs develop cysts between their toes which can be painful for them. Whenever you handle these things it’s necessary to wear protective equipment.

Apart from your dog’s health, dirty paw’s can damage carpets, floors, and furniture throughout the house. If your dog somehow puts its mouth on a door handle, you have to make sure to disinfect it

How to Disinfect Dog Paws

Giving your dog a full-body bath using a gentle pet shampoo might be your best option. However, it can cause skin dryness and irritation if you do it frequently. Also, no one has the time to give their dogs a bath every day.

So, if you are only looking to disinfect your dog’s paws, here are the steps.

Step 1: Use a Waterproof Doormat

A waterproof doormat should be your first line of defense against dirty paws. For doing that you need to train your pup to use the mat. You can do that by hiding a few treats under the mat.

The mat will absorb any excess water without leaking on to the floor. You should always clean the mat after a day or two.

The best part is, you can use the mat as a feeding mat and play area for your dog’s stuffed chew toys.

Step 2: Get Baby Wipes For Minor Cleanups

Don’t waste your money buying pricey paws wipes. Just make sure that the wipes are safe for pet care. Many wipes that humans use contain alcohol and fragrances which are harmful to your pet’s health.

For a cost-effective approach, a paper towel or washcloth soaked in warm water does the job quite well. For extra dirty paws, you can use a bit of shampoo on the washcloth.

Step 3: Carefully Wash the Dirty Paws

Sometimes mud or debris gets stuck between the toes. So, washing the paws thoroughly is very important. You can do it easily in a sink with a sprayer or you can use the bathtub.

You can use your sink for small dogs or a tray of water by the door can do it too. However, for larger dogs that have a lot of furs, you need a tub with a sprayer. 

Although, there is a better option, a dog paw cleaner. Buying a dog paw cleaner can save you a lot of trouble. 

When buying a dog paw cleaner it’s better to look for a product that has multiple silicone bristles. These bristles help loosen dirt and mud as you twist the paw. 

For best results, fill the cleaner with some dog shampoo and clean water. You should definitely try it out if your dog has no problem with you holding his feet. That is why I’ve tracked down the best dog paw washers in the market.  

Our Recommended Dog Paw Cleaners:
Dexas MudBuster Portable Dog Paw Cleaner
Paw Plunger for Dogs
Dog Paw Cleaner
Dog Paw Cleaner & Pet Grooming Brush
Our Recommended Dog Shampoos:
Veterinary Formula Clinical Care
Pro Pet Works All Natural Organic
Natural Dog Shampoo with Colloidal Oatmeal
Wahl 4-In-1 Calming Pet Shampoo

Step 4: Clean The Toes and Nails

You never want your dog to lick their paws after they have been exposed to road salt or any other kind of ice melts. Some dogs are very sensitive to these elements, especially in winter. 

In order to clean the area, gently turn the dog’s paw toward you and carefully wash between the pads. You should always separate each of the dog’s paws to clean them properly. 

After cleaning the paws, make sure to finish up with a dry towel. After all, you don’t want your dog’s wet footprints all over your home. Also, you do not want them to slip with the wet paws. 

Dog on leash

How to Keep Your Dog’s Paws Clean?

Trim Paw Hair

You should consider trimming the hair around your dog’s feet. In long hair dogs, you should cut the hair around the paw pad that might catch dirt. You can pay a groomer if you’re not comfortable doing this.

Buy Some Dog Shoes

A quality pair of dog boots can be a great preventive measure. These shoes work quite well in keeping your dog’s feet safe. When buying booties, look for the ones that are suitable for day to day walks.

Take Care of Your Dog’s Paws

You should check your dog’s paws from time to time for cuts and dried areas. Even though dog shoes do a great job protecting their paws but it is not enough. Apply natural balms to avoid rough, cracked or peeling paw pads. 


So, that sums up our guide on how to disinfect dog paws. The thing is, no matter what type of precautions you’re taking, your dog will eventually bring in some dirt. I know carpet stains and dirty paws are irritating but use it as a reminder to keep your dog’s paws clean.

Always remember that a little caring can go a long way for your pet’s health.