How to Trim Golden Retriever Paws – A Step-By-Step Guide

Grooming a golden retriever is about more than just giving them baths and brushing their hair – although these do take the most effort and time.

Trimming their paws is an essential part of the grooming process, and you know it’s time to get trimming once you can see some of that hair sticking out past their pads.

Overly long hair in their paws is bad for them and not only because it can make walking slippery for them and puts them in danger of slipping and falling down, but also because dirt and debris can get stuck in there which can damage their paws.

So, it’s really important to keep that hair trimmed every couple of weeks.

Here’s how you can trim your golden retriever’s paws…

How to Trim Golden Retriever Paws in 3 Steps 

woman with scissors trimming dog paws to illustrate how to trim golden retriever paws

Here are the three steps to trim your dog’s paws:

  • Prepare your tools
  • Choose the right timing 
  • Do the trimming

Prepare your tools

Before you trim their paws you need to prepare your tools and here is what you will need

  • Clippers with a number 10 blade 
  • Fine-tooth comb (or a regular comb)
  • Curved scissors (you can use straight shears)
  • Brush 

Don’t worry if you don’t have any of these, I will mention some recommendations later.

Choose the right timing

Choosing the right timing sets the difficulty level for the trimming process in a way. You want your dog to be totally calm and relaxed while you’re trimming their paws, but you don’t want them too sleepy or they’ll be irritated by you not letting them sleep.

The best time is right after you get back from an exercise session such as your morning jog or walk. Give them dog a few minutes to settle and calm down and then sit by them.

The next thing you want to do is to introduce the tools; you want to make them feel comfortable around your tools, for example, brush their paws with the comp and hold the scissors while you are holding their paw, on the other hand, move the scissors closely to their hand and leave it to study their reaction around the tools.

If you are going to use an electric trimmer, you want to hold it close to them and let them explore it when it’s turned off first. Then, you want to move it away from them and turn it on. Let them get comfortable with the sound and the buzzing before using it with them.

Do the trimming

Let’s take how you can Trim their nails step by step so you can be really careful about it because when you are using the clippers or the scissors they can move their hand and end up harming their pads. 

Step 1 

First, you will need to remove all the hair out of their pad using the clippers with a number 10 blade, scoop some of the hair between their pads carefully.

You want the pads to appear without any hair that is higher than the pads themselves.

Step 2 

Take the fine-tooth comb and brush everything down.

Now it’s time for the curved scissors (recommended more than the straight shears because they are going to follow the shape of their foot) to start from the bottom of the foot till it’s neatened round before you trim the top.

Step 3 

Put the foot down and move around to the front of the foot, fold it forward.

Use the brush and comb to get all of the hair between their toes out, take your fingers and go through the toes to make sure you get all the long hair up so you can turn their paws.

Again, take the curved scissors and follow the shape of their foot, make sure that you cut their hair from right to left and vice versa not up and down.

Step 4 

Repeat the same process till you get all the little stray hair, so you want to go across them in a sweeping motion.

Pull their hair down again to see if there’s still some little extra long hair and cut them again with the curved scissors.

Finally, leave the foot and give it the final touch while it’s sitting down, move the scissors so it’s following the curve of the foot.

After trimming that paw, repeat the same steps with the other paws.

However, you can also do the trimming without the clippers if you are scared to use them on your dog, your dog is scared of them, or you might not know how to manage it carefully, you can always use just the scissors.

When you are using the scissors, you should still be careful because some dogs are scared of the sound the metallic scissors make while cutting the hair and they might pull their paw so you will need to make sure that you have a good grip on their foot.

If your dog isn’t completely calm during the process or if they flinch at any time, you want to take a minute to calm them down and see whether it’s a good idea to try again or maybe stop then and then try again later.

The Tools You Need (Recommendations) 

A note about the clippers; Do not get the Chinese clippers that are everywhere, please. There are some clippers, I won’t name any names, that are everywhere now, and they simply suck. How to know them? You will find a ton of clippers on every online store that all look the same, cost a lot less than the traditional pet clippers, and are under brand names you’ve never heard of.

That’s because these brands don’t exist, these are all just shops trying to sell the same cheap clippers with a sticker with their name on it. They are very low-quality but they are marketed heavily everywhere. I have tried them, they don’t last and they will do more harm than good. Trust me, it’s better to get good high-quality clippers like the Andis I recommend here as these will last a lot more and will actually save you money in the long run. These clippers from Wahl are also very good and highly recommended.

How often to Trim Golden Retriever’s Paws? 

You should trim your golden retriever’s paws at least every six weeks and you should trim their nails every 2 to 4 weeks and whenever needed such as when they break a nail. You should always make sure the hair in their paws is not sticking out of their paw pads.

Why Do Some Dogs Have Hairy Paws 

Some dogs have hairy paws because they have a genetic predisposition for hyperkeratosis of the paws such as golden retrievers, some terriers, labs, and Dogues de Bordeaux. Signs of the hairy dog feet can develop once they are 12 months old.

What to do if your dog has excessively hairy paws? 

There’s no cure for this skin condition at this time but it can be managed.

You can soften and remove the hardened hair and skin on their paws and nose, or you can make an appointment with their vet regularly to have this done. 

Here’s what you can use to smooth their paws and help them go back to their regular shape.

  • Coconut oil 
  • Shea butter
  • Olive oil
  • Natural balms 

They will help to soothe the rough skin and prevent any cracks, make sure while applying any of them that your dog doesn’t lick them because it can upset their stomach.

You can also help to protect their paws by covering them with some socks when they are at home or in the backyard, or booties when they are going on walks.

If you are intending to go for runs, though, I recommend taking a moment to learn about how to prepare for running with your golden retriever here.

What’s Next?

Grooming Your Golden Retriever is about a lot more than just brushing their hair. Now that you know about trimming their paws, you can also take a minute to learn about cleaning your golden retriever’s teeth here.

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Related Questions 

Should I trim the fur between my dog’s paws? 

Yes, you should trim the fur between their pads especially if they are breeds with long hair such as golden retrievers, german longhaired pointer, curly-coated retriever, labrador retriever, and labradoodle because that hair can get dirt and debris stuck in it which can cause pain to your dog.

Do golden retrievers’ whiskers need trimming?

No, you shouldn’t trim your golden retrievers’ whiskers because they are an important part of their senses, they help your golden retriever to navigate in the dark, they also play an important role in retrieving and they help your dog in any other activity.

Please if you liked this article share it with your friends and family, it might be useful to them as well.

Helpful Resources 

How to Cut Dog Paw Hair


Hey there, I'm Matt, the author behind With a deep love for dogs and a dedication to strengthening the bond between owners and their retrievers, I've created a hub of resources for enthusiasts like you. Through engaging articles, training guides, and product reviews, I aim to provide practical advice that makes a real difference in your life as a dog owner. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the world of retrievers, my approachable and informative writing style ensures that you'll find valuable insights. Join me on this incredible journey of discovering what makes retrievers tick, unlocking their potential, and creating an unbreakable bond with your furry companion. Let's embark on an adventure of dog ownership together. Thank you for visiting and being part of our vibrant community.

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