In the wild, canids have been known to cover massive areas of rough terrain and inhospitable wilderness without ever needing 2 pairs of shoes to protect their paws. However, just because they don’t wear shoes doesn’t also mean they can’t. Canine footwear serves two fundamental purposes. One is to protect your furry friend’s paws and the other one is to protect your very own floor and other surfaces at home that you may not want your pooch to scratch. And if these footwear will make your pooch stand out in the crowd, then that would be a welcome plus. Functional or aesthetic or both, it is important to buy only the best dog boots for your doggie. We’ve researched the market for some of the best and we’re sharing them with you in this article.
Dog Boots Buying Guide
Buying shoes for doggies is the same as buying human shoes. The size of the dog’s feet is the single most important consideration when buying a doggie bootie. It may be fashionable and ultra-protective, but if it doesn’t fit your pet’s feet, then everything else is for naught. Other buying considerations can include the type of material used in its manufacture, the security of its closure, the level of comfort it provides to the feet, and the weather proofing and overall protection it affords mutts. However, these are not the only things that will have to be factored into your decision. That is why we’ve prepared this comprehensive dog boots buying guide to help you narrow down your choices.
Uses and Benefits of Footwear for Canines
Experts say that not all dogs really do need such contraptions as this can get in the way of their natural instincts. For example, dogs are better able to run on their naked feet than if they are wearing these shoes, regardless of how well-designed these footwear are for improving traction. The tactile feedback from the ground surface is simply not there and this can somehow confuse the pooch.
Nevertheless, this is not to say that canines cannot benefit from such accessories. For the most part, there are a variety of reasons why people put on footwear on their doggies’ feet. These can be generally classified in the following.
- Protection against extremes in environmental temperatures
Temperature extremes can be quiet a concern among dogs. An unusually hot summer day will often spell oven-baked pavements as well as sand. While the footpads of pooches are relatively thicker than those found in humans, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t feel the heat of these surfaces anymore.
Likewise, if you have a canine breed that is not particularly adapted to the icy cold conditions of winter, then there is a chance that they will also experience some problems on their feet. This is, of course, often in addition to the risk of injuring the feet in cases where there is sharp ice sticking out from the ground. Obstacles that may be buried in snow can also be stepped on by canids and this can lead to injuries if they don’t have adequate protection for their feet.
As absurd as it may seem, putting boots on your doggie’s feet can help provide for a more comfortable walk on very hot or even very cold weather conditions.
- Protection for an injured feet
If your canine friend happens to have an injury on its feet, you will also need to protect this against further injuries. More often than not, there will be a bandage wrapped around the injury itself. You need to protect this bandage from getting loose because of your pet’s scratching or even chewing.
This is critical as the bandage and the medication underneath it can help speed up the healing process. In some cases, the doggie boot can come with extra padding to further provide ample shock-absorption. This helps limit the worsening of the existing injury. Just look at it as a more fashionable way to wear a cast.
- Protection on harsh terrain
Booties can help protect your pet’s feet against pointed or sharp objects on certain terrains such as rocks, broken shells, glass shards, and the like. So if you’re taking a walk down the beach and there are broken twigs or sharpened edges of seashells, these won’t injure your pet’s feet. Hiking in the woods can also be risky for your pet as there can be a lot of debris like sharp twigs, ragged rocks, and others that can injure the feet. Rough bits and other debris can also be prevented from getting in between the pads, too. That is why you may also want to put on booties on your pet’s feet.
- Protection for your floors and other surfaces
Whether you want to admit it or not, having booties on your pet’s feet can help you feel more at ease about the integrity and safety of your couch, sofa, beddings, and even floors which can all be scratched by your pet. Even if you don’t have a pooch that is a tenacious scratcher, the mere fact that it will be picking up dirt and debris outside your home and bring these inside can also somehow bring harm to your floors and other surfaces. At least, having booties on will help you retain the integrity of your furnishings.
- No need for constant cleaning of your pet’s paws after coming from the outside
If you went out for a stroll on a drizzling afternoon, chances are your pooch will be picking up plenty of mud, dirt, small rocks, twigs, and debris through its paws. Before you let them inside your home you will have to wash their feet and dry these completely. It can be a worthwhile activity, but for most of us it’s very inconvenient. If your pet wears boots every time it ventures outside, then you don’t have to fret about cleaning up its feet later on. You can simply remove the boots and let your furry pal in.
- Enhanced canine appearance and style
Canines that wear boots really look adorable. This is especially true if the footwear they are wearing has been customized to match their overall getup. It really is a great way to improve their appearance and boost the ego of their pet owners.
How to Measure and Pick the Right Dog Boots
One of the most important things that you need to do even before you purchase the most appropriate pair of boots or footwear for your furry friend is to make sure you get the correct size. There are a variety of ways in which you can measure the correct size of your pet’s paws. Here, we will describe the steps to allow you to choose the most appropriately-sized footwear for your pooch.
- Get a blank sheet of paper and have your pooch place its paw on it.
- Try to lift the opposite paw so that your dog’s weight will shift towards the foot that is on the paper. This is to make sure that the paw is firmly planted on the paper.
- Get a marker, a pen, or a pencil and draw an outline of your pooch’s paw, making sure you accurately draw the figure. Alternatively, you can draw a line that marks the leftmost edge of the paw and another line on the rightmost edge. This constitutes the width of the paw. For the length of the paw, you will need to draw a line just at the level of the tip of the paw’s longest nail and another one at the back of the paw.
- Get the measurements of both the width and the length of the paw using a ruler. You can measure it in inches or even in centimeters.
- Once you have taken the measurements, you will need to compare your pet’s foot measurements to the sizing chart of the doggie shoes you are planning to purchase. Make sure not to generalize these measurements as different brands will often come with their own sizing charts. That means a small size on one brand may already be considered as medium size by another brand, and vice versa.
Additionally, it is perfectly okay to allow for an additional quarter inch from your measurements as you wouldn’t want a really tight fit for your pooch’s feet. The ideal size is that it should fit snugly over the feet but not too loose that it will fall off. While you may think that these footwear come with Velcro fasteners that you can easily use to secure the boots, this only helps secure the footwear to the leg of the animal. Its foot will be too loose inside the boot, allowing for excess movement which can be quite hazardous, too. You also don’t want it to be too tight as it will impede the normal circulation of blood across the animal’s feet.
How to Put Your Dog Shoes On
Knowing how to put on these booties on your pooch is equally important as knowing how to choose the right size for them. Otherwise, you’ll end up with an utter piece of junk. Here are the steps on how to put your dog shoes on your pooch.
- Make sure your pooch is standing whenever you have to put on its booties. This is to help ensure that its feet is well inserted into the space intended and to secure it properly.
- Open the top of the bootie to its fullest extent. If there are straps, make sure that these have been either removed or unfastened.
- Carefully insert the paw of your pet through the opening. Use your finger to assist in sliding the foot through. If the bootie’s upper is tall enough, then you will have to insert the pet’s dew claw as well, otherwise it will be largely uncomfortable for the pooch.
- Raise the opposite leg so that your mutt’s weight will shift to the leg where you put the bootie on. This will also aid in the proper placement of its feet.
- Try running your finger through the bootie to ascertain the proper or correct placement of the foot especially at the front portion of the boot.
- Let your canine friend stand and try to assess the placement of its foot inside the bootie. You can lightly squeeze the toe portion of the bootie.
- Once you’re certain that the foot is in its correct position, you can lower the opposite leg and secure the opening with its strap.
- Tuck in any excess fur or hair that may be protruding outside the bootie. This gives it a neater appearance while also minimizing dirt and debris from clinging onto these excess hairs.
- Close the shoe and proceed on putting on the rest of the shoes.
Tips to Get Your Dog Used to Wearing Shoes
It is one thing to put booties on your canine friend. It’s a different matter having it get used to wearing these shoes. Here are some tips to help you make your dog get used to wearing footwear.
- Train your pooch – Like all things new, it is imperative to break in the process of wearing and using these booties on your pooch. You simply cannot expect them to start enjoying the walk with these footwear the very first time you put these on them. Patience is a virtue that all responsible dog owners So be ready to train your pet slowly and one step at a time.
- Start with thin boots – We did mention that the absence of tactile feedback from the ground to their paws can be unsettling for pooches. As such, you can start with boots with relatively thinner soles. These may not provide you adequate protection but it’s a good start to get your pet really acquainted with the bootie.
- Start with the 2 front paws – One of the helpful tips that we’ve found is to put on the footwear on the front paws only, leaving the rear fully bare. This is to slowly acclimatize pooches to the sensation of having the feet not in direct contact with the ground surface.
- Don’t forget positive reinforcement – Praising and giving treats to your dog can go a long way towards making it comfy in its shoes. The thing is dogs love to please their human masters. And if they can associate your praises or your treats with wearing the shoes, then they’ll be more than happy to oblige you.
- Engage in your pet’s favorite activity – This is a lot similar to using positive reinforcement. Incorporating activities that your mutt love the most while wearing its booties can help reinforce the notion that the footwear IS equivalent to fun and fulfilling activities.
- Persistence is the key – As we have already said, dogs don’t really like putting on shoes. As such, it will take a while before they get used to it. This is where tons of patience and persistence can be exceptionally handy.
Dog shoes are fast becoming an important accessory for pooches. These provide protection not only for their feet but also for your furniture and other items at home. It is therefore important to learn how to choose the best dog boots for your pooch especially its correct size. It is equally important to learn how to put these on and how to encourage and acclimatize your pet into loving its shoes.