How to Clean Your Dog's Paws After a Walk in the Rain

Washing your dog's paw pads after they go out in the rain is crucial for not only your sanity, but your pooch's health.

Published August 16, 2023
Man holding dog's paw

Dog owners know the drill. Your dog runs indoors after a walk in the rain, and there are wet, dirty paw prints everywhere. Cleaning your dog's paws after the rain may take a few minutes, but it's important for your sanity and your dog's paw health. 

Like other parts of the body, your dog's paws can contribute to their overall health. If they aren't healthy, your dog won't be healthy. That's why it's important to pay attention to all parts of their body, including their paws and paw pads.

Why You Should Clean Your Dog's Paws

Woman cleanning dog's paw in the shower

Their feet are already wet, so you might as well wash them when they come inside. When it rains, the water can wash contaminants, like pesticides, oils, and even bacteria or parasites, onto the ground where your dog walks. These harmful substances can then stick to your dog's paws and fur. Dogs often lick their paws and could ingest these toxins, leading to potential health issues, such as upset stomach or infections.

How to Clean Your Dog's Paws After a Walk

Cleaning your dog's paws is a fairly straightforward process and requires some basic tools, patience, and a gentle touch. 


  • Paw washer or a shallow basin 
  • Dog-friendly soap or shampoo
  • Soft towel
  • Potentially a small brush or cloth for stubborn dirt.


  1. Prepare the cleaning solution: Fill the paw washer or shallow basin with warm water and a bit of dog-friendly soap or shampoo.
  2. Introduce the paw to the water: Gently place your dog's paw in the water. If using a paw washer, gently move it up and down to clean the paw.
  3. Scrub if necessary: If there's stubborn dirt, you may need to use a soft brush or cloth to clean your dog's paws. Be gentle to avoid causing discomfort or injury.
  4. Rinse thoroughly: Ensure you rinse off all the soap from your dog's paws to prevent irritation or dryness.
  5. Dry the paws: Use a soft towel to dry your dog's paws completely. Moisture trapped between your dog's toes can lead to fungal or bacterial infections.

Remember, it's a good idea to make paw cleaning a positive experience for your dog. You can reward your pooch with a treat or praise after cleaning to create positive associations with the process.

Quick Tip

Use dog paw wipes for quick cleanups, especially if your pup wore boots while out and about.

Check Your Dog's Toes and Paw Pads

Small stones, mud, or other debris can get lodged in the spaces between their paw pads, which can be uncomfortable and might even cause injuries. Checking your dog's paws allows you to spot early signs of issues like fungal infections, ticks, or skin irritation. Regular paw checks play a key role in preventing minor issues from developing into serious health problems, ensuring your dog's overall well-being.

Paw-Cleaning Tips for Dog Owners On-the-Go

Woman cleaning her dog's paws with a wipe towel

Keeping your dog's paws clean while on-the-go requires some pre-planning and the right tools. Here are some tips to make the process easier and more efficient.

  • Carry paw wipes: Dog-friendly paw wipes are portable, convenient, and perfect for quick cleanups while you're out and about. They can help remove dirt and disinfect your dog's paws.
  • Use a portable paw cleaner: Portable paw cleaners are compact devices that you can fill with water and a pet-friendly soap. Simply dip your dog's paw into the cleaner, twist or pump the device to scrub the paw, then dry off with a towel.
  • Bring a towel: Always keep a towel in your car or bag. This is especially useful for drying your dog's paws and preventing any mud or wetness from spreading in your vehicle or home.
  • Pack a water bottle: A bottle of water can be handy for rinsing off your dog's paws before wiping them with a towel.
  • Dog booties: If you're going for a walk in a particularly muddy or dirty area, consider dog booties or paw protectors. They can keep your dog's paws clean and can be removed before you get back into the car.
  • Plan your route: If possible, plan your route to avoid overly muddy areas, especially if you're not heading straight home after the walk.
  • Regular grooming: Keeping your dog's nails trimmed and fur around the paws neat can reduce the amount of dirt and mud they pick up.

Keep Your Dog Happy and Healthy

It's important to clean your dog's paws for their health and the cleanliness of your car and home. Mud can contain bacteria or parasites, and dried mud can irritate your dog's skin. Washing your dog's paws regularly can help keep them dry and healthy, preventing contamination or accidental ingestion of toxins.

How to Clean Your Dog's Paws After a Walk in the Rain