5 simple steps to disinfect and clean dog paws 

Your pup's paw painting on the kitchen floor isn't as cute as they think it is. Here's how to help them out

A hand wiping muddy paw marks from a table with a kitchen paper towel.

There’s something really lovely about your dog bounding in through the front door after a long walk in the woods or park. However, that warm fuzzy feeling doesn’t last long if you don’t clean your dog’s paws before they start padding all over your clean carpet! Read on to find out how to clean dog paws after walking. 

Whilst caring for dog paws and keeping them clean is good for the home, it’s also really important for your dog’s health. So, if you’re wondering how to clean dog paws, don’t worry, you've come to the right place. Here are 5 simple steps for caring for dog paws that we’ll go through in more detail shortly: 

  • Cover yourself with a towel 
  • Clean away large clumps of dirt or mud 
  • Disinfect any cuts or scrapes 
  • Wipe the paws 
  • Clean the toes and nails 

Thorough cleaning is an essential part of paw care for dogs, and we’re going to show you how to clean and disinfect dog paws to make sure they stay healthy. From washing your dog’s paws to paw care for dogs, let’s look at the best ways to get rid of the mud and look after your pooch’s feet long term. 

Why clean dog paws are so important 

Before we show you the correct steps for disinfecting and washing dog paws, here are the reasons why it’s so important to keep up proper and consistent paw care for dogs: 

  • In addition to making sure that mud doesn’t get trampled all over the house, thorough cleaning is a vital part of paw care for dogs 
  • When you wash dog paws regularly, you’ll not only be keeping them clean, you’ll also be able to check for nasties like ticks, cuts, and scrapes etc.  
  • Consistent dog paw maintenance will also help prevent the build-up of bacteria and infections like canine pododermatitis,1 making sure your canine friend’s feet are clean, comfortable, and healthy.  
  • Taking care to regularly wash dog paws will help protect your dog from contact allergies.1

These four reasons are why it’s so important to keep your dog’s paws clean. Next, it’s time to discover how often you should be washing those dog paws. 

How often should you wash dog paws? 

You know it’s important to do it, and you may have an idea of how to clean dog paws, but do you know how often you should be washing your dog’s paws? As is often the case with these things, with paw washing for dogs, there are no hard rules. But here are a few tips to bear in mind for how often you should wash your dog’s paws: 

  • Invisible bacteria and fungi can live between your dog’s paws,2 so veterinary professionals at Veterinarians.org recommend that you check and clean them on a regular basis.  
  • Adjust your dog paw maintenance routine to the season as both hot weather and bitter cold winters can be hard on your pooch’s paws. 
  • Adjust your dog’s paw care to your dog’s exercise routine. A frequent hiker’s paws will need cleaning more often than a pup who spends most of their time indoors. 

Now you know how often you should care for dog paw pads, read on to discover just how simple it is to disinfect and care for dog pads. 

How to clean dog paws and what can I use to wash my dog? 

You know why it’s important and how often to do it, so now it’s time to show you how to clean dog paws. First, here are a few tips to prepare for washing dog paws: 

  • Plan ahead. 
  • Make sure you have everything you need ready to go before your pooch heads into the house or gets back into the car. 
  • Have some treats or their favourite toy at the ready, just in case your dog needs a distraction. 


Keep hold of them when you open the door if need be. That way you can wash those dog paws before they have the chance to spread the mud all over your lovely clean home.

Now all you have to do is follow this step-by-step guide for washing dog paws 

  1. Use a towel to keep yourself clean. After all, you want to clean your pup, not dirty yourself! Laying a towel over your lap will make the cleaning process a lot easier, and you can just pop it in the washing machine when you’re done, ready for next time. 
  2. Clean away large clumps.  Wondering how to get dried mud out of dog paws? Before washing them, remove large clumps of dirt and debris by hand. 
  3. Disinfect any cuts or scrapes. Check to make sure there’s nothing nasty on your doggie’s feet – if you notice any cuts or scrapes, you should disinfect your dog’s paws with an antiseptic or antibacterial product.


    Always consult a vet if the injury looks particularly bad or infected, or if you see something you’re not sure about.

  4. Wipe your dog’s paws. Use some Plenty MAX kitchen roll (or facial tissue if you’re out and about) and wipe down each of your dog’s paws in turn. They’re super strong and absorbent, even when wet, the perfect combo for getting clean dog paws. 
  5. Clean the toes and nails. Pay close attention to the areas between the toes and around the nails and be gentle as you go. 


Wondering how to clean dog paws after a walk? Keep a roll of Plenty Flexisheet right by the front door and in the car. With Flexisheet, you choose what you use, reducing waste when your pup’s paws aren’t too mucky, helping your kitchen roll last even longer.

Caring for dog paws: Other top tips 

Looking after doggie pads is a big part of overall paw care for dogs and helps stop the spread of muck in your house. The pads are common places for injuries like cuts and scrapes, so keeping a close eye on them is vital. Here are a few other important things to remember in your routine paw care for your dog: 

  • Keep your dog’s claws trimmed.2 Long claws can cause injuries and prevent them being able to walk properly. 
  • Moisturising can help protect their paws from cracking. Just don’t forget to purchase a canine-friendly product.3 You should never use human moisturisers. 
  • Can you wash your dog’s paws every day? Washing your dog’s paws every day is not completely necessary if they aren’t very dirty. If your dog’s paws are always muddy after walks, though, you can rinse them off as long as the pup doesn’t mind! But be careful not to use products or shampoos too often, or their paws might get irritated. 
  • Pop some boots on in the cold. You protect your own feet, so why wouldn't you do the same for your dog? Dog boots are a great way to protect their paws from ice and snow (and the salt laid down to help us humans stay upright on the slippery surfaces!) in winter. 
  • Be careful in the heat. As with the cold, you should protect your dog’s paws from excessive heat in the summer. To avoid them walking on hot paths and potentially burning their paws, walk them early in the morning or late at night when the surfaces are cooler. 
  • Always seek veterinary advice for more serious issues. If your dog’s paws are bleeding, you’ve found glass inside the paw or discovered other issues with their pads or paws, be sure to seek advice and reassurance from a vet. 

Dogs are our best friends, so let’s make sure that we do our best to care for them. Follow these tips for how to clean dog paws and not only will you be able to keep your home clean after walks, but more importantly, you’ll have a happy and healthy doggie too. 


¹ Canine Pododermatitis, National Library of Medicine

² How Often to Bathe a Dog, Veterinarians.org

³ Dog Paw Balm: 8 Best Products for Your Dog’s Paws and Nose, Veterinarians.org


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