Updated March 2022
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Buying guide for best dog paw cleaners

Picture the scene: you've just meticulously scrubbed your kitchen floor before taking your dog for a walk. You try your best to wipe off their paws when your return, but the remnants of mud leave a trail of dirty paw prints. This isn't an uncommon scenario for the majority of dog owners, but a dog paw cleaner could take care of this.

Not only will a dog paw cleaner keep mud out of your home, but it can also help prevent diseases or pathogens likely spread by mud, such as cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (better known as Alabama rot). There's plenty to consider before making a selection, such as the size of the cleaner, how easy it is to use, the material of the bristles inside, and how difficult the unit is to clean.

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Get your dog used to their paw cleaner gradually. If they don't like it at first, use positive reinforcement. Forcing your dog to stay still while you use it will only cause them distress.

Key considerations


Think about the size of your chosen dog paw cleaner in two ways.

First off, the hole into which you put your dog's paw must be large enough to accommodate their paws. It can be tricky to find dog paw cleaners big enough to suit large or giant breed dogs, so you may have to shop around if you have a bigger dog. It shouldn't be too tight of a squeeze, either, as it could be uncomfortable for your canine companion — if in doubt, size up.

You should also consider the overall size of the unit and how portable it is, especially if you want to use it out and about. Some models are small enough to tuck into a pocket in your backpack, while others are far bulkier.

Bristle material

The majority of dog paw cleaners have silicone bristles inside. These are super soft and flexible and won't irritate your dog's feet. You can occasionally find models with thinner bristles made from soft nylon or similar materials. These are sometimes more effective on long-coated dogs, as the thin bristles work into the fur better and are less likely to get tangled in the coat.

Ease of cleaning

You'll generally need to clean your dog paw washer between each use so you're not trying to clean your pup's feet with already muddy bristles. You should be able to remove the bristles inside for easier cleaning. We recommend avoiding models that don’t let you do this. Silicone-bristled models tend to be easier to clean than those with nylon bristles since silicone is non-porous and can easily be wiped or rinsed clean.



Some paw cleaners offer a range of color choices. It's not exactly a vital feature, but if your chosen model offers several color options, it makes sense to choose the hue you like best.


You can find dog paw cleaners with handles for easier grip while you use them. Some models also have loops or straps on them for hanging.

Watertight lid

Although it's not a hugely common feature, you can find options that have a watertight lid so you can fill the cleaner with water before you leave for a walk, which is useful if you drive to your walking spot and clean your canine companion's paw before hopping in the car. The easy alternative, however, is to carry water in a bottle.

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Did you know?
Some dog paw cleaners are dishwasher safe — but whether you want to wash yours in with your dishes is your call.


Dog paw cleaners are great for cleaning the worst of the dirt from extremely muddy paws, but your dog may still be left with wet paws that may have some traces of mud to dirty up your home. These accessories can be useful in addition to a paw cleaner to keep muddy prints at bay.

Your dog's paws might be clean after using a paw cleaner, but they may still be wet. This can make your floor soggy and leave traces of dirt behind. As such, using a towel to dry your dog's paws is a good idea. The Bone Dry towel is compact yet highly absorbent.

You might choose to use paw wipes as a backup on extremely muddy days or to clean in between pads or under claws. Earth Rated Dog Wipes are an eco-friendly compostable choice and are also hypoallergenic.

Rather than drying your pet's paws manually, you could place an absorbent mat at the entrance of your house to soak up any water left on your pooch's paws after cleaning them. The chenille pile on this mat from My Doggy Place fits the bill.

Dog paw cleaner prices

Dog paw cleaners are fairly inexpensive, but you will get a sturdier and more reliable model if you look on the higher end of the price range.

Basic dog paw cleaners cost less than $10. While you can find a small number of decent models in this price range, they tend to be small and flimsy, and they may be difficult to clean.

Mid-range models are priced between roughly $10 and $20. They may include extras such as a towel or sponge.

High-end paw cleaners tend to cost $20 to $25. These are generally large models to accommodate big dogs or extremely sturdy options from reputable brands.


  • Consider your dog's coat. Some dog paw cleaners work best with short-haired dogs only, as long fur can get caught up in the bristles. If you have a long-haired pooch, you may need to shop around a little.

  • Think about how regularly you'll use your dog paw cleaner. Do you go on long, muddy walks every day in the winter, or do you usually walk in drier areas? If you'll be using your dog paw cleaner daily, it's worth spending a little extra on a model that will last.

  • Learn how to use your dog paw cleaner correctly. With the majority of models, you pour a little water inside, pop your dog's paw through the hole at the top, rotate the cup to clean the paw, and repeat the process for the other paws.

  • Don't worry about BPA. BPA is a chemical found in some plastics that can be harmful if ingested. However, BPA is only a concern when it leaches into food or drink. So unless you're planning to drink from your dog's paw cleaner, it doesn't really matter whether or not it contains BPA.
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Some paw cleaners have slightly textured outers to make them easier to grip and less likely to slip from your hand.


Q. What should I fill my dog paw cleaner with?

A. You only need to fill your dog paw cleaner with plain water to get your pup's feet sparkling clean. However, you can add a drop or two of dog-friendly shampoo to the mix for extremely stubborn dirt, but you will need to rinse your dog's paws afterward.

Q. Do I need to refill the reservoir between paws?

A. Under ideal conditions, you should only need to fill the reservoir up once to clean all four paws, after which you can empty it and clean it so you’re ready for next time. However, if your canine companion has exceptionally muddy paws, you may need to empty, rinse, and refill after each paw. Otherwise, you'll be trying to wash your pooch's feet with dirty water, which won't be very effective.

Q. Should I choose an automatic dog paw cleaner?

A. You can find a handful of automatic dog paw cleaners that have bristles that rotate automatically by either using a lever or a battery-powered motor. The idea is that the process is easier since you won't need to manually rotate the cup. Our view, however, is that automatic paw cleaners are potentially unsafe, as your pet's fur could or skin could get caught in the workings. These models are rarely made by well-known or reputable manufacturers, which doesn't instill much trust. We recommend leaving automatic paw cleaners on the shelf.

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