Our complete guide to Labradoodle paws takes a closer look at care, grooming, and why your Labradoodle is licking their paws.
- Grooming Labradoodle paws
- Why is my Labradoodle licking their paws?
- Labradoodle puppy paws
- Caring for Labradoodle paws
Labradoodle paws are perfect for helping your Labradoodle race through fields and clamber over obstacles! But, their paws can be delicate and prone to injuries. So, you must take care when grooming your Labradoodle’s paws and keep their nails regularly trimmed. It’s important that your Labradoodle is happy for you to touch their paws from a young age, to make this process easier.
About Labradoodle Paws
Dogs, including Labradoodles, are digitigrade animals. This means they walk on their toes and their heels do not touch the ground, unlike humans. Labradoodle paws usually have four digits (toes) with a claw on each.
Many dogs will also have a claw and a digit slightly further up each foot, known as the dew claw. Some owners choose to get these claws removed, but this is a very controversial practice, since dew claws have a purpose. A dew claw won’t touch the ground whilst your dog is walking, but can help to provide balance and stability when your Labradoodle is running, or if they need to climb or pull themselves up, for instance when climbing out of a river.
The Labradoodle originally descends from two common working breeds. Both purebred Poodles and Labrador Retrievers originally worked as retrieving dogs alongside humans. Many had to retrieve game on land and in water. So, their paws were perfectly moulded for this purpose, helping them maintain balance and speed when retrieving!
Grooming Labradoodle Paws
Our modern Labradoodles are less likely to have a working lifestyle than their ancestors. Most Labradoodles are kept as companion dogs. But, as an active breed, they still spend plenty of time running, climbing, and exploring. Keeping our Labradoodle’s paws clean and well groomed is an important part of grooming as a whole. It can help to prevent split nails, injuries, and excess dirt buildups. But, it’s often a part of the grooming process that is overlooked!
Dog fur extends over their entire bodies, including the tops of their paws. Labradoodles often have long, curly fur that will grow between their digits and paw pads. So, whether you groom your dog at home, or take them regularly to a professional, keeping paw fur trimmed will complete the freshly groomed look.
Shorter hair between the paw pads and toes can also lead to less dirt buildup from walks in muddy or snowy areas. And, it can help to prevent injuries, for instance from thorns that might get tangled in that fur and pierce the sensitive parts of your Labradoodle’s paw.
It’s not just the fur that needs attention when grooming your dog’s paws. Labradoodle nails must also be regularly trimmed. Highly active Labradoodles may adequately wear down their own nails when exercising outside, but many will need extra attention.
You might choose between clippers or grinders when cutting your Labradoodle’s nails. But, no matter what tool you use, it’s important to avoid cutting the quick of your Labradoodle’s nail. This part of the nail contains a lot of vessels and nerves. So, when cut, it will bleed and will be painful for your Labradoodle.
It’s also important that you acclimatise your Labradoodle to your chosen nail trimming tool from a young age, so that they are not scared when it takes place in adulthood.
Socialization to Paw Grooming
Grooming your dog can be a calming experience for them, as long as they are acclimated to the process. So, you should groom them from a young age, and keep the experiences positive. This can mean working in small sections, and providing plenty of treats to accompany clippers, grinders, brushes, and even touching certain parts of your dog. Including their paws.
Work in small steps to ensure your Labradoodle puppy is happy with you touching every part of their paw. This includes their claws, their paw pads, and even gently separating their toes. All of these are areas that you will need to touch when grooming them.
Once they are happy with this, you can introduce the tools. First, touch them to your dog’s paw or nails without using them. Over time, as your Labradoodle’s confidence grows, you can clip a claw or use the grinder briefly. Keep the experiences positive, and take a break if your Labradoodle’s patience wears thin, or they begin to appear stressed.
Labradoodle Licking and Chewing Paws
If you’ve noticed your Labradoodle licking and chewing their paws constantly, you may be concerned that something is wrong. But, there are many reasons your Labradoodle might lick or chew at their paws. Some of the potential explanations include:
- Cleaning their paws.
- Trying to soothe an injury or irritation.
- Response to fleas, ticks, or other parasites.
The reason behind your Labradoodle’s behavior will determine the next best course of action. So, if you’ve noticed your dog has started licking and chewing their paws more often, take a closer look at their paws. Examine the pads and digits for any injuries, dirt, or pests. If you cannot find any, your dog may simply be feeling anxious or bored. Try exercising or playing with them to prevent boredom.
If licking and chewing persists, it can be a good idea to take your Labradoodle to the veterinarian. They may notice an injury that you didn’t see. Licking an injury too much can cause further problems. Your veterinarian is the best person to help if your dog is suffering from a paw injury.
Labradoodle Puppy Paws
As well as paws helping our dogs and puppies to move around and soften impact from the ground, many people believe puppy paws have another key use. That is – helping us to predict a puppy’s adult size.
Mixed breed dogs like the Labradoodle can be quite unpredictable as they can inherit any mix of traits from their parents. This includes their overall size and their paw shape. Labradors tend to have narrower, more rabbit-like paws than Poodles, who often have rounded paws with long, slender toes. Labradoodle paws can be more like one of their parents, or the perfect blend of both.
Many owners and vets believe that the larger your puppy’s paws are, the bigger they will grow as an adult. Alongside this, you can take a closer look at your Labradoodle’s parents to see how large they may grow up to be. Female dogs are generally smaller than males when fully grown. All of these factors can help you predict your Labradoodle’s future size!
Looking After Labradoodle Paws
Labradoodle paws are prone to injuries and problems, so it’s important to watch out for signs of irritation or discomfort. These signs could be quite obvious, such as limping or whining when weight is placed on a certain paw. Or they could be more subtle, such as increased licking and chewing, or a lowered interest in physical activity. Some common problems for Labradoodle paws include:
- Cuts and scratches between toes or on paw pads
- Thorns stuck in paw pads or between toes
- Split or cracked nails
- Fleas or ticks
- Inflammation (pododermatitis)
Since our Labradoodle’s paws carry them everywhere, it’s important to ensure they’re healthy and pain free. If you notice an injury, take your Labradoodle to the veterinarian for the best solution.
Labradoodle Paws – A Summary
Labradoodle paws are often all unique, as their shape and size will be determined by the genetic combination they inherit! But, all Labradoodle paws require regular grooming to stay clean and healthy. If you notice a problem with your dog’s paw, you should take them to the vet as soon as possible to get the issue diagnosed and fixed!
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References and Resources
- Miao, H. (et al), ‘How Does the Canine Paw Pad Attenuate Ground Impacts? A Multi-Layer Cushion System’, Biology Open (2017)
- Ciucci, P. (et al), ‘Dewclaws in Wolves as Evidence of Admixed Ancestry with Dogs’, Canadian Journal of Zoology (2003)
- Buckland, E. (et al), ‘A Survey of Stakeholders’ Opinions on the Priority Issues Affecting the Welfare of Companion Dogs in Great Britain’, Animal Welfare (2013)
- Bajwa, J. ‘Canine Pododermatitis’, The Canadian Veterinary Journal (2016)
- Janezic, S. (et al), ‘Dissemination of Clostridium Difficile Spores Between Environment and Households: Dog Paws and Shoes’, Zoonoses and Public Health (2018)
- Schwarz, N. (et al), ‘Vertical Force Distribution in the Paws of Sound Labrador Retrievers During Walking’, The Veterinary Journal (2017)
- McGreevey, P. (et al), ‘The Reinforcing Value of Physical Contact and the Effect on Canine Heart Rate of Grooming in Different Anatomical Areas’, Anthrozoos (2005)