Dog Boots. Friend or Foe?
While opinions are mixed about whether dogs really need booties to protect their paws from the cold, there are other benefits to dog boots. For one, they protect your dog’s paws from chemical snowmelt and salt, which can be irritating to paw pads, and, depending on the product, poisonous if ingested. Additionally, booties protect against snow and ice building up around the fur between the paw pads; this snow and ice buildup can be uncomfortable to the dog and may even cut her feet, yikes!
Videos of dogs walking funny in boots are popular on the internet, and maybe you have firsthand experience with this behavior. Despite the hilarity, if your dog is walking like a lunatic when wearing boots it may be because he’s uncomfortable. If the booties are made from a thick, sturdy material, he may not like them because he can’t feel the ground.
It’s also possible the booties don’t fit right. Finding the right pair can take some time and a bit of financial investment, but chances are you’ll find something you and your dog can both agree on. When putting booties on, it’s important to make certain they’re on the dog’s feet correctly, to make it easier to walk. Make sure your dog gets used to them before you set off on your first bootie-clad walk, especially if you want to avoid picking up boots your dog has flung off in exasperation. There are loads of dog boots on the market so you have plenty of options to try out.
If you have a dog who just cannot get used to boots you might try paw wax instead. It’s a coating that acts like a barrier against that winter ickiness. Like booties, there are several kinds on the market. Remember to wipe paws thoroughly when you’re back inside to remove any dirt, salt and grit.
Even with boots, it’s better to shorten walks during cold weather, especially on those days when the windchill takes things below zero or if it’s snowing. You and your dog can have lots of fun and exercise even with the practical challenges winter poses. Luckily we’re only a few short months away from glorious Spring!