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  • Hahnbee Choi, Cert. CN

Paw Soak | Non-Toxic Soak to Remove Toxins & Allergens

Updated: Mar 14, 2022

Being the primary source of sweating and contact with the outside world, dogs' paw pads are like mini Swiffers that pick up whatever they walk on a day-to-day basis. This includes harmful cleaning products, air sprays, pesticides, herbicides, pollen, dust, mold, dust mites, and more.

Pets also do not wear protective clothing like we humans do, such as socks and shoes. This means that they're naked and are exposed to whatever allergens & particles are in their surroundings.

They also bathe a lot less than humans. While humans shower once a day, some dogs only get washed once a month or less. The paws build up a pretty good amount of toxins and allergens during this time. This can enhance allergic side effects (licking, chewing, etc.) and irritate paws.

Furthermore, the paw pads and nose are the only places dogs sweat. When the paws are damp, they become even more susceptible to picking up particles in their surroundings. But with a simple paw soak, you can ensure clean and allergen-free paws for comfort and health.

Did you know that, according to Dr. Karen Becker, mechanically removing toxins and allergens from your dog's paws can reduce paw licking by 50%?

Mechanical removal refers to physically washing the allergens and debris off the paws to have clean and particle-free paws. And the most successful and fool-proof way to do that is with a paw soak.

What's Povidone-Iodine?

Povidone-iodine is the star of the foot soak technique below. Povidone-iodine is an organic iodine solution, and it is 100% safe and non-toxic for your animals. You can use a veterinary solution or buy it from pretty much any pharmacy or drugstore. Some owners are wary if their dog has white fur/paws that the iodine would stain. But fear not, as long as the solution is adequately diluted, this is not a problem.

Povidone Iodine has antifungal, antibacterial, antiseptic properties, which means that it is the perfect solution to relieve some irritated paws. The exact brand used below can be found here, but any povidone-iodine product works.

Easy-Peasy Foot Soak

Materials Needed:

  • A set of adorable paws

  • Povidone Iodine

  • Bucket or Tub

1. Gather all materials needed.

2. Fill a bucket, sink (if the dog is small enough), or a tub with enough lukewarm water to cover the dog's paw pads completely.

3. Add in povidone-iodine until the mixture becomes the color of sweet tea (or as shown below). If it's too light, add more, and if it's too dark, add more water.

4. Place the dog's paws in the solution for 2-5 minutes. This is an excellent time for some yummy treats!

5. You don't have to do anything special except make sure that all paw pads are covered.

6. Once the 2-5 minutes are over, rinse and towel dry the paws.

There's no magic number to how frequently you should do this, but a good starting point is around once a week. If you find your dog is extra itchy or has been around lots of pollutants, you may want to increase the frequency.

Alternative Methods

If your dog won't stand still in a tub or sink, here are some other methods you can try.

Small Bowl

You can make the solution in a smaller bowl and soak each paw one by one. It is a bit more time-consuming than doing all four at once, but it gets the job done!


If your dog allows for the small bowl, you can drench a towel in water, pour a bit of povidone-iodine on it, and hold the paw in the cloth for a few minutes.

Paw soaks are super easy and effective and great for yeasty dogs, allergy dogs, and just for an overall healthier dog. I hope you learned something new today & Always Keep Exploring!

Visual Learner? Video Version Here

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