Boots for dogs? Really? As a long time dog owner, when I first heard about dog boots I thought they sounded, well, kind of stupid. My dogs were rough, tough, and hard; they would certainly sneer at the thought of wearing little doggie shoes. What would their friends say? What would my friends say?
I imagined Minnie, the feisty little Jack Russell Terrier, or Blue, the defiant, hard bitten, mongrel being asked to wear shoes. The very idea seemed silly. They are dogs after all, not fashion-conscious dandies.
But then I started thinking about the number of various paw issues that my dogs had experienced over the years. Many were minor, but some caused the pups a fair amount of discomfort. And because dogs can be so stoic, who knows how many times they experienced irritation without “telling” me?
My dogs did a lot of walking with me over rough terrain. It wasn’t uncommon for them to pick up a thorn, burr or even the dreaded foxtail. In the winter, the ones with longer fur would sometimes get ice balls between their toes. That can leave them with sore, uncomfortable feet. And in the summer, if we were walking on the road – well, I sure wouldn’t want to walk on that hot asphalt in bare feet. Even at the beach, they would trot over pebbles and rocky areas without thinking twice, only to have tender paws for several days after.
Then of course there are the times when a dog gets seriously injured – cut paws, torn pads, and broken toenails are common injuries for an active dog. A boot can enable a dog to still get his exercise while at the same time keeping a bandaged foot protected and clean.
Also not lost on me was the fact that when I was wearing my strong walking shoes because the ground was going to be difficult, my dogs were managing with just their four paws (three in the case of my late tripod, Tango).
And of course, for most of the time, that is exactly what they should be doing; using their own natural tough feet and pads. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that a hard living, hard-working dog is often in a situation where having a set of well designed, purpose made boots would be a real boon.
Dogs are very dependent on their feet; that seems almost too obvious to state. But if a dog has an injured or painful foot, that instinctively makes him or her feel uneasy, as one of the dog’s main defenses in nature – the ability to run away – is compromised. It makes them feel vulnerable and afraid.
So I did my homework and found a set of dog boots for my oldest dog. Within a year, I had boots for all of my dogs, with each one having their own specific need for them. I had gone from rolling my eyes at the notion of doggie boots to being a strong proponent of them in certain situations.
Who Should Use Dog Boots?
If your dog only ever walks on nice grass or shady sidewalks, and has perfect health, then there is no need to consider dog boots – your dog’s natural feet can easily cope with these kinds of surfaces. If you take your dog over rough terrain, then boots can offer important protection.
Do you walk your dog in snow and ice? I don’t mean a trot around the back yard for potty time, but long walks or trips to the park. If you do, boots make the whole experience safer and happier for your dog. Do you take your dog hunting or hiking on trails? Briars and brambles can rip feet apart. Are you sometimes limited to walking your dog on hot city pavements?
You can avoid discomfort, cuts, damaged pads and blisters by using protective boots.
I mentioned Tango, my tripod. As a three legged rescue dog, she had a fabulous life. She was always the fastest runner on the beach! But as she got older, the stress on her other three paws, especially the front one, started to show. She became a little rheumatic, and was less enthusiastic to go on walks.
She was the first dog I tried with boots, and after a bit of complaining and anxiety, she took to them like the trooper she is. They became associated with going out for a fun time, and she was happy and excited when she saw me getting her Expawlorer boots out. (See more about these boots below.)
Considerations When Choosing a Dog Boot
We have our own favorites for different situations and purposes, and researched a number of other models.
Before you make your choice of boots, you should ask yourself the following questions:
Do I need heavy, medium or light duty boots?
Do I need waterproof boots?
Do I need reflective boots for night walking?
Do the boots I choose need to offer a range of sizes?
Do all my dogs need the same kind of boots?
Do these boots look smart?
Do these boots fit on easily?
Does my dog have special needs?
Our Choice of the Best Dog Boot for Adventure and Paw Protection
We love these boots for the real adventuring dog and his owner. If you are into trail walking, running or cycling with your dog, his feet are going to take a beating. These boots are constructed from mesh, for coolness, and have tremendously tough Vibram outsoles, which are textured to ensure great no-slip grip even under harsh conditions.
Easy to fit and adjust, they also have a reflective trim, and you can even match them with Rufflwear collars and leads. Oh, and there is a choice of three colors for the fashion conscious pooch. They come in a very wide range of sizes, so you can get the exact size to fit your dog, from tiny to huge. You can also buy them in twos or fours, so you can get the exact fit you need if your dog’s front and back paws differ in size. See them here.
- Provides traction on all terrains
- Breathable mesh construction
- Hook and loop closure
- Comes in three colors
Our Choice of The Best Value Dog Boot
These tough and well-made boots come at a great value price. These are ideal for the dog owner who has a lot of dogs to outfit. Decorated with a cute paw embroidery, they have adjustable Velcro straps for an easy and secure fit. Made from robust materials, they are a good choice for the price conscious dog owner, and they really do the job well. Note, though, that these are sized for primarily larger dogs.
- Thermal insulation
- Water resistant
- Velcro straps for easy closure
- Reflective for night visibility
Our Choice Of The Best Dog Boot For A Senior Dog
This boot is excellent for our older dogs (and is the one I chose for Tango). It gives a bit of extra padding, it’s very easy to get on and off, and I found them to be very waterproof. The reflective strips add extra safety for evening and early morning walking, and the fabric is tough and wears well. The sole is grooved, and this certainly helps with grip in the snow and ice. They are value priced. See them here.
- Flexible lug design
- Available in 8 sizes
- Ergonomic shape
Our Choice Of Best Boot For Small Dogs
Winsoon Dog Australia Boots
Did you ever know a small dog that actually believed it was small? We haven’t. Our Jack Russel wants to keep up with the big boys and girls, and this can be hard on his little feet when conditions which are easy for the others prove a bit tough for him. In particular, ice and snow are very hard. So he likes his Winsoon Boots, which fit well, protect his feet, are padded for warmth, but don’t seem to make him feel clumsy. (And let’s face it; they make him look even more cute and adorable!) They come in a choice of colors, and I’m afraid I chose pink!
(Note: these tend to run small, so you may want to order up a size.)
- Good traction
- Very protective Soles
- Good looking with several color options
Our Choice Of The Best All Round Dog Boot
These boots come in a range of sizes from IB (Itty bitty) to XXL, these are our overall choice of the best all round boot. Easy to adjust, they come in black with reflective strips for great nighttime visibility for road walkers. They are padded, and work for rough terrain, cold and hot conditions. The leather soles are very robust, and the price is reasonable. These are ideal for the average dog owner who wants to give their dogs extra comfort and protection in more difficult than usual conditions. See them here.
- Treated leather soles
- Self-tightening straps
- Adjustable leg cuff
- Machine washable
Musher’s Secret Dog Paw Wax
While we are focusing on foot health, let’s mention this great natural paw wax. It’s made from beeswax, it’s easy to use, and it helps protect pads from everyday abrasions on those days when boots really aren’t needed. Designed for sled dogs originally, it provides a protective shield for feet, especially in cold conditions, and it can even be used on elbows, ears and noses. Check it out here.
Maybe you’ve never thought much about dog boots before, or perhaps you have but haven’t actually tried them on your dog. Hopefully, this has given you some insight into their usefulness in enabling your dog to accompany you on your adventures, even when conditions aren’t perfect. Keeping your dog healthy, fit and active is for sure your number one priority, and dog boots enable you to do that, whatever the weather or conditions outside.