Shoes designed for pooches serve to protect their feet, typically during inclement weather or on rough terrain. Your pup's tootsies can easily become hurt by extreme temperatures, sharp rocks or insects. Before heading outdoors, strap some shoes on your pooch to safeguard his feet. You have a few choices.
While your dog doesn't need to wear shoes all the time, some instances exist whereby protective shoes can save his feet from potential harm. When outdoors during chilly winters, your pooch could develop frostbite on his feet from prolonged contact with ice and snow. Many deicing products contain chemicals that could result in chemical burns on your pup's paw pads or gastrointestinal upset if Fido licks his feet after a walk, warns Petfinder. Asphalt and sand get hot enough during the summer to burn your pup's feet. Thorny weeds, stinging bugs or broken glass can harm Fido's feet on a walk. With some protective shoes or booties, you won't have to worry about foot injuries.
Many kinds of dog shoes exist on the market; you'll find them online or in pet supply stores. Shoelike boots are the most protective of your pup's paws. Shoelike boots keep your pup's feet insulated against inclement weather and sharp objects; most are waterproof or water-resistant. Boots are more rigid than socklike booties and are made from materials like padded nylon, leather, plastic, rubber or suede. Many have thick, solid rubber or plastic soles. Adjustable hook-and-loop fasteners help secure such shoes onto your pup's feet after you slip them on.
Socklike booties, unlike dog boots, are stretchy and breathable. You usually just slip them over your pooch's feet. These booties are made from fabrics like cotton, wool, acrylic, and fleece; many have rubber pads on the bottom to provide traction and extra protection. Some of these booties are made of materials like stretchy thin rubber or plastic for easy cleaning, and look similar to balloons whose necks you spread wide to pull them on -- which can be tricky. If your pup won't tolerate wearing boots, he might prefer these socklike booties instead, which are lighter and more flexible and allow some grip and some feeling of sensation against the ground. While these types of socks don't provide as much cold protection, they will protect his feet from snow packing between the pads, as well as from dirt and allergens. Some are not waterproof; some are machine-washable.
Before purchasing any type of dog shoes, measure your pooch's feet so that you get a proper fit. If the boots are too big, they'll simply slip off your pup's feet' if they're too small, they could cut off circulation to his feet. Have your pup stand with at least one foot on a sheet of paper. Trace around his foot and nails with a pencil. Measure the length and width of what you have traced to get an idea of Fido's shoe size. Some dog shoes are sized by the length of the foot, others by small-medium-large. If your pup falls between sizes, choose the smaller size so the shoes aren't loose and fall off.
Slowly get your pup used to wearing boots of any kind by putting them on indoors for a few minutes each day. Reward him with lots of praise and treats whenever he wears them, the Cesar's Way website recommends. Purchase shoes and booties with rubber pads or soles to provide your pooch with improved traction both indoors and out, preventing him from slipping around on slick surfaces, especially if he suffers from arthritis or hip dysplasia.
- Cesar's Way: Ask the Vet: Winter Proofing Your Dog’s Paws
- Dog Health Guide: Dog Paw Protection
- Petfinder: Caring for Your Pup’s Paws in the Winter
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Top 10 Paw Care Tips For Dogs
- Petside: Dog Shoes -- Are They Necessary?
- Woodrow Wear: Why Dogs Need Socks
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.