Dog Questions

Do Dogs Have Unique Paw Prints


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Paw prints seem to be just like human fingerprints, so we wondered, “Do dogs have paw prints?” Through our research, we learned something interesting.

Do Dogs Have Unique Paw Prints?

Dogs don’t have unique paw prints like human fingerprints. While all dog prints are different, they don’t necessarily have a “fingerprint” or “paw print” that is considered unique.

According to MadSci Network, the paw pads cover what would be the palm of a human hand. Just like human fingers, a dog’s toes have three bones that bend in three places, with individual bones between each bend. However, a dog’s nail is located at the end of the toe, similar to a human fingernail. Declawing a dog, which involves removing the whole nail, is similar to removing the tip of a human finger. The bones in the remaining two toes are much shorter than human fingers. The bottom of the dog’s foot is similar to a human hand, with the “wrist” located about an inch from the bottom, the “elbow” near the body, and the “shoulder” above the elbow (which can be felt on the back). Overall, dogs and humans have similar bones, but with variations in size and placement.

do dogs have paw prints like fingerprints

Paw Prints Change Over Time

Another reason a pet’s paw prints aren’t like human fingerprints is that they change over time. Humans have a unique fingerprint that doesn’t change their entire life (unless they invasively alter it in some way).

Dog paws change from when they are puppies and continue to change throughout the Golden Years. The unique pattern of a dog paw print simply changes but continues to be quite different from their fellow canines. The only reason the unique pattern on a dog’s paw isn’t considered a “fingerprint” is because it changes.

In addition to the dog’s paw prints changing due to age, it also goes through a lot of abuse. Just think about how much your dog walks, runs, and jumps, especially on concrete! All of that scraping definitely changes a dog paw print, so there’s no way it can ever be considered a unique fingerprint.

What Is a Dog’s Fingerprint?

This may come as a surprise but it’s the dog’s nose print that is the human equivalent of the fingerprint. All dog nose prints are unique and do not change over time.

So, if you’re trying to identify a dog, take a dog nose print and compare it to one done as a puppy. You’ll find a match and only one match.

Unfortunately, since dogs don’t participate in crimes as much as humans do, there is no need to record all dogs’ nose prints.

It’s just good to know that dog paws are not the same as fingerprints, but rather, it’s dog nose prints.

How to Take a Pet’s Paw Print

Since we’re on the topic of a dog’s paw prints, the following is how to capture your dog’s unique paw prints.

You have a few different options when it comes to getting your pup’s little paws on a piece of paper or cardstock.

Ink Print

The easiest way to do it is to purchase a large ink pad. All you have to do is put your dog’s paw on the ink pad, press gently, and then lift and place a paper under the paw and press down.

large ink pad

Clay Mold

If you’re looking for something next level, you may want to consider one of the kits available on Amazon.

You can get your dog’s paw print preserved in some clay with this kit. It’s always cool to have it long past when your best furry friend passes.


Clay Mold and Frame

You can also remember the puppy years forever with a frame that has the paw print on it and pictures of your puppy.

paw print frame

If you’re looking for some other way to preserve your dog’s unique paws, there are many different products to choose from on Amazon, so check them out here.




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