How to shave matted dog paws

Written by rebecca boardman
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How to shave matted dog paws
Matted dog paw (Courtesy of

Some breeds of dogs, or even dogs of mixed breeding, have distinct coats. The coats can be curly, long, matted or any variety of lengths and textures. When a dog has a coat that needs care, the hair on its feet can sometimes become matted. It is necessary to remove this hair to prevent sores from forming beneath the matted spots.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Clippers
  • Brush
  • Scissors
  • Shampoo

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  1. 1

    Begin by choosing the proper clippers and blades. You can buy animals clippers at any pet store. The blade can be the standard blade that comes with the clippers, but you do not need to have anything finer than a number 20 blade.

  2. 2

    Clean your dog's paws with warm, soapy water. While you are washing, feel with your fingers and find the worst areas of matted fur.

  3. 3

    Make sure the hair is completely dry, and then begin clipping. For the legs above the paws and the actual tops of the paws, you can put the running clippers at the base of the hair, near the skin. Hold the clippers so the blade is flat and not pointed at the skin of the dog.

  4. 4

    Gently push the clipping blade through the matted hair and cut it loose. You may need to move the clipper back and forth, almost in a sawing motion, to get it through the worst of the matted fur.

  5. 5

    Carefully separate the toes of the paw and gently clip the fur between them. Do not press the blade directly down into the flesh of the toe, as this will cut the flesh. Keep in mind that this will tickle the dog to a great degree, and you will need to hold the paw firmly. Once the flesh of the toes is clean and clear, blow out any loose hairs you have cut.

Tips and warnings

  • Cut some fur above the matted spots before you attempt to cut the actual matts. This will give you some practice in using the clippers before you attempt to cut a spot that may be sore underneath.
  • Introduce the clippers--first with them off, and then on and buzzing--to your dog before you attempt to cut its fur. If you frighten your dog, you might get bitten.

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