You might long for Manolos, but your dog requires practical footwear. Fashion isn't the purpose of canine boots or shoes, but your best friend's four feet might need protection from ice and snow in winter and hot pavement in the summer. Finding boots that stay on is another story.
Dog Boot Problems
Dog boots that don't stay on properly or constantly twist aren't just a waste of money -- they can harm your pet's feet or legs. If your dog accompanies you when you're jogging or cycling, dog boots can help prevent blistering on his feet -- but ill-fitting or slippery boots just make the situation worse. There are dozens of dog boots on the market. A good boot not only stays on, but is easy to put on your dog's feet, even if Fido isn't crazy about the idea.
Muttluks, a Canadian canine footwear company that began marketing its dog boots in 1994, is recommended by both the Whole Dog Journal and the ASPCA. The WDJ website calls them "the Mercedes of the dog boot world." These machine washable dog boots are available in eight sizes, ranging from "itty-bitty" to extra, extra large. Muttluks come in fleece-lined and all-weather varieties. Both types of boots include self-tightening straps for fitting security, leather soles for flexibility and reflective straps so you can easily see your pal in the dark. Muttluks are more expensive than many other brands.
If your dog requires protective footwear after veterinary treatment, a different type of protective boot is used. However, these medical boots still must stay on without twisting, a situation even more important if your dog is recuperating from an injury or surgery. While your vet likely will choose the boot for your dog, she might send Fido home in a Medipaw. Dogs wearing these boots often don't need an Elizabethan collar -- or cone of shame -- to keep them from gnawing at their feet. Medical boots reduce the need to constantly rewrap the foot or leg and feature breathable, easily cleaned materials.
Are Snow Boots Necessary?
Even if you live in a cold climate, it's possible that Fido's footpads will be just fine without protection in wintry weather. In a study published in 2011, Japanese researchers found that canine footpad vasculature contains a heat-conserving element. A similar network of veins has been found in arctic foxes and penguins. That means the temperature has to drop well below zero before your dog's feet really get cold. Think about that before you put your pooch's snow boots on. Given most dog's opinions on canine footwear, he'll probably thank you for letting him go barefoot.
- Whole Dog Journal: Best Dog Boot - A Product Review
- Muttluks: Muttluks
- Time: Dogs Have Built-In Snow Boots, Researchers Find
- Medivet Products: Medipaw® Protective Boot
- ASPCA: Exercise for Dogs
- Wiley Online Library: Functional Anatomy of the Footpad Vasculature of Dogs -- Scanning Electron Microscopy of Vascular Corrosion Casts
- David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images