Dog boots can protect paws, offer traction on wet floors, and even lessen digging; they’re not just for show. Finding boots that stay on your dog’s feet can be challenging, though! In this article, we will walk you through some of the criteria you should take into account when choosing booties for your furry friend.
If you’re unfamiliar with dog boots, you might wonder whether canines actually require footwear. Surprisingly (for many), the answer is yes, at least on occasion. Dog booties undoubtedly have a cute appearance, but they serve a much more serious purpose (just like backpacks or sweaters). Boots can shield your dog’s paws from inclement weather, road salt, and scorching asphalt. When taking your dog outside during extreme weather, boots are practically necessary.
Why do dogs need to wear shoes?
There are several reasons why your dog might benefit from wearing shoes, including protecting their feet from the heat of the pavement during the summer and all year in warmer climates. Even when the outside air is not particularly warm, concrete, sand, and particularly tarmac can become extremely hot and cause painful paw burns.
Even though your dog might be fine walking on the chilly surfaces for brief periods of time, the salt and chemicals that are used to melt the ice on the pavement can burn your dog’s paws. Additionally, it’s probably not a good idea to get chemicals or salt on your dog’s paws as they might decide to lick it off after your run or walk. Dog boots will therefore shield them from both: the cold and those chemicals.
When hiking or trail running, rocks and gravel that may come across can cause nasty cuts on your dog’s leg or paws, especially if your dog is unrestrained and able to run at full speed over that terrain. Getting dog booties will also lessen the possibility of other trail debris, like thorns, cactus needles, and foxtails, getting stuck in your dog’s toes or in delicate areas of his or her paw pads. When worried about the broken glass and other trash their dog might step on during hiking, pet parents also think about getting them some dog boots.
Shoes are also beneficial for giving the dogs more traction on slick surfaces both inside and outside. Hardwood, tile, and laminate floors can be challenging for dogs to walk on or get up from, particularly if they have a condition that would benefit from the extra traction that booties can provide.
Additionally, if your dog has a paw infection or injury, you might think about getting them dog boots to keep their paws clean and free of further harm while they recover.
Sizing a Dog Boot
A boot must fit your dog properly in order to avoid discomfort and potential protection issues. One of the most basic methods for determining your dog’s paw size is as follows:
- Start off with your dog standing because it’s crucial to gauge weight distribution when the paws are bearing down.
- Place your dog’s paw on a piece of white paper.
- Make a mark on the paper at the forefoot (including the toenail, but trim it first).
- The length of the paw can then be determined by marking the back of the paw and measuring the distance.
- Follow the same procedure for the paw’s left and right sides. To determine the width, measure the distance between these two marks.
The next step is to pair your dog’s paw measurements with the appropriate boots. Unfortunately, there is no standard measurement and different dog boot manufacturers use different sizing techniques. However, most boots have a sizing chart so you can quickly determine which one to purchase.
Remember that you’ll need to find a boot that won’t catch on your dog’s dew claws if it has them.
Features to look for when choosing the best boots for your dog
When selecting the best shoe brand and style for your dog, keep the following qualities in mind:
- Adjustability and fit options – Easy-to-put-on dog shoes are going to be quicker to train your dog to put on and are also helpful if you plan to use dog boots on a paw that has been hurt or is sensitive.
- Fastener style – To keep the booties on your dog’s feet, the majority of dog boot options have straps. These are typically either buckles, snap-locks, or velcro straps or hook-and-loop closures.
- Material– Dog booties come in many different varieties. The best choice will depend on your needs. Waterproof plastic boots are excellent, but they frequently come off easily. Although leather boots can offer excellent protection due to their thickness, they can be challenging to put on and may become slick when wet. Polar fleece is excellent for colder temperatures while nylon offers less protection but prevents your dog’s paws from getting wet. The soles of dog shoes frequently contain rubber.
- Durability. Dog hiking boots must be able to withstand a lot of punishment, particularly if your dog runs on jagged rocks or rough terrain. For this reason, look for a boot that is made to last. Buyer reviews of dog boots are frequently the most reliable indicators of their long-term durability.
- Water resistance– If you want your dog’s feet to stay warm and comfortable for a longer period of time while wearing booties in the snow or rain, make sure that the booties have some level of water resistance.
- Textured sole for traction– This is a crucial feature to ensure that your dog feels secure and at ease while wearing the boots.
- Flexible sole– Similar to shoes you might wear, flexible dog boots will be more comfortable and natural to walk in than an excessively rigid dog boot (which may cause issues with strange gaits or over-compensating for shoes discomfort).
- Disposable or Long Lasting – While most dog booties are built to last, some are only meant to be used once. These boots typically come in multi-packs and are made of rubber. A disposable option might be a good option if you’re looking for a cheap boot for sporadic use. However, they aren’t as strong or protective as real boots.
Tips for training your dog to wear boots
For the most part, dogs find the idea of boots strange. A dog will typically act strangely, try to shake off the boots, and prance around the room. As the dog becomes accustomed to wearing boots, this behavior usually stops. Playing with your dog and diverting him from the boots will hasten the process. Any activity that your dog enjoys, such as snacking on treats, can be an excellent way to accustom him to shoes. The idea is to make the dog think of the boots as being associated with “good things.”
The boots may take some time to become completely “worn in,” though. So hold off on taking your dog for a lengthy walk right away. Instead, extend his time in them gradually until they are fully worn in. If your dog absolutely detests wearing boots, you might want to start by only covering his front paws. Keeping your dog on a leash the first few times you go for a walk in the boots is also a good idea. This makes it simpler to locate a lost boot if it wasn’t tightened correctly or just didn’t fit.
As a side note, in hot weather, dogs perspire from their paw pads. They are kept cooler as a result. When it’s hot outside and your dog is wearing boots, make sure you regularly remove them for short periods of time to prevent overheating.
Alternatives to dog booties for paw protection
In addition to dog socks and shoes, think about bandages like vet wrap that you can use to wrap your dog’s legs to protect them. This can be useful in some situations. Vet wrap is simple to wrap (not too tightly) around your dog’s paws; it sticks only to itself and is then fastened with medical tape.
Consider using a balm like Musher’s Secret to protect paw pads in cold or hot weather (from snow and ice to rough and hot surfaces). This food-grade wax product, known as “paw butter,” creates a barrier to protect their paws when applied a few times per week. Additionally, it aids in avoiding the problem that some dogs have in the snow where they accumulate tiny snowballs between their toes!
Finding ways to exercise your dog indoors is another option for those instances when it’s actually too cold or hot to go outside. Although they are not a replacement for a good walk and sniff, dog treadmills are becoming more and more common.