Do you want to know if boots are the perfect solution to protect dogs from snow, salt, and chemicals in winter? Then read this blog post to learn our recommendations.
There is much debate on whether dog boots are necessary or not. However, we know that dog boots are the best protective gear available to protect dogs' paws from winter hazards. Experts always recommend preparing your dog for cold climates with dog booties.
Dog boots can protect dogs' paws from the hot ground in the summer and ice, chemicals, and salt during the winter. Dog boots are necessary for dog sports like skijoring and dog mushing but are also needed for daily activities like walking during the winter.
It’s not an easy task to get your dog used to and comfortable wearing boots. This is even harder if your dog is ultra-sensitive but with proper training and encouragement, owners will still be able to give their dogs all the benefits that arise from wearing dog boots. If your dog rejects wearing boots, there are other alternatives available.
Want to know more? Keep reading for the complete guide to dog boots and how to protect your dog's paws from the frozen winter ground.
Dog Booties Explained
Dog booties are specially designed coverings to protect dogs' paw pads from injury or damage during the winter. Dog boots can protect your dog's paw pads from uneven terrain, chemicals, and injuries. Dog boots are conventionally made from materials that reinforce the feet with a protective layer, such as plastic or rubber. Dog boots are the dog version of shoes for humans and are mainly used in dog winter sports, such as dog mushing, dog sledding, and skijoring. All dog boots follow the same general structure, with closures, soles, sock liners, and uppers.
Why Does My Dog Need Boots? Reasons That Might Surprise You.
Your dog's sensitive paws can be prone to injury without proper protection. There are many reasons you might consider investing in dog boots for your dog, and the following section will explore the many protective functions offered by dog boots and the many benefits of using dog boots.
Booties Protect Dogs From Winter Hazards
Primarily, dog booties serve to protect dogs' paws from winter hazards. Here's how.
Boots Help To Keep Your Dog Warmer During Winter
When your dog is walking along frozen ground, their paws can become cold which will then cause them to become colder in general. In addition to this, the fur in between your dog's paws can become frozen, which will cause painful pulling as your dog moves. Boots help to eliminate this problem and keep your dog warm during your winter outings. If your dog’s breed isn't well-equipped to deal with cold climates and winter conditions, you may also consider investing in a winter coat for them, to keep them happy and warm on all your adventures.
Boots Protect Your Furry Friend From The Chemicals In Melting Ice
One of the hidden dangers of icy conditions is the chemicals found in ice. When the ice melts, these chemicals can cause damage to your furry friend's paw pads. If you live in an urban area where salt and snow melter are used to clear snowy pathways, you should consider investing in dog boots. These chemicals can be highly damaging to your dog's paws.
Boots Prevent Injuries In Dogs
When your dog is running in the snow, it can be challenging to spot hidden sharp objects. This increases the likelihood of your dog stepping on something sharp and injuring its paw. However, with winter dog boots, your dog's paw pads will be protected from any sharp objects protruding from the ground.
Benefits Of Dog Boots
Here are some of the benefits of equipping your dog with boots before taking them out into the snow.
Protection From Ice, Snow, Salt, and Chemicals
Your dog's paws will be free from the dryness and damage which is caused by ice, snow, salt, and chemicals. Salt protection is essential in urban areas where salt is frequently used to clear pathways in the snow. Dry and damaged paw pads can be extremely painful for your pup and make walking difficult, so it's better to be safe than sorry!
Protection From Harm
If your dog steps on something sharp, like glass or a sharp rock hidden underneath the snow, they will be protected by their dog boots. They may still feel some pain if they do step on glass, but their dog boots will significantly minimize the damage.
Are There Dogs That Don't Need Boots?
You may be asking yourself the question - does my dog need boots? When participating in dog mushing or skijoring, all dogs will need to wear boots to protect their paws. The article Dogs Have Built-In Snow Boots - Researchers Find details that dogs' paws are designed to stay warm in cold climates, but wearing dog boots has more benefits than just keeping their paws warm.
However, you should protect the fur between a dog's paws from freezing to prevent the tearing of the skin, which would affect their ability to walk. This is particularly important for long-haired dogs but does apply to every breed. The chemicals often applied to snow cause damage to your dog's paws too, this damage can be avoided by using dog boots. So, regardless of your dog's breed, dog boots for winter are a good idea to keep your dog safe from injuries.
The Most Suitable Dog Breeds For Winter
Before investing in dog boots for winter, it's good to know whether or not your dog will like the snow and cold weather. Certain breeds have evolved to deal with harsh climates, indicating that investing in dog boots and taking your dog out for a snowy adventure, would be an excellent idea.
Huskies are classic sled dogs, and their Siberian roots make them well-equipped to handle harsh climates. Likely, your husky will love taking trips to the snowy mountains with you.
The Alaskan malamute is closely related to the husky, so they look very similar in appearance. However, the Alaskan malamute is the biggest Arctic dog and one of the oldest breeds. This breed is well-equipped to perform well and have a great time in the snow.
This dog breed was initially called the German Spitz, but the anti-German sentiments during WW2 saw this name changed to the American Eskimo. The American Eskimo has 3 size ranges - toy, miniature, and standard. Depending on their size, the American Eskimo is bound to keep up with you on winter adventures with their thick, white coat to insulate them.
The Samoyed is very similar to the American Eskimo, only larger. With the American Eskimo's top height at 19 inches, this is the Samoyed's lowest height. These large white fluff balls are always ready to take on the cold weather, and they should be able to keep up with any winter activity you have in mind.
The Japanese Akita is one of the most renowned dogs in Japan and was once the signature dog of the Japanese royal family. Miniature statues of the Akita were gifted to new parents to bring them luck. The Akita's thick, short, double coat gives it the insulation it needs to withstand the cold, and the breed's dense bones give it a strength that outmatches other dogs of its size. The Akita can be antisocial and aggressive towards people and other dogs, so it is not a breed recommended for households with pets and small children.
Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain Dog has a kind disposition, making it a huggable and lovable addition to the family. As mountain dogs, the Bernese were bred to assist in drafting and driving. The Bernese Mountain dog is powerful and can carry large loads, so see if your large, furry friend could carry some of your gear on your winter adventures together.
The Shiba Inu is difficult to train and discipline, so owners should be prepared to have patience with this tenacious breed. The Shiba Inu is fox-like with thick fur and is small in stature. This means they are well-equipped to go bounding through the snow with you.
The Tibetan Terrier is known for its smooth, silky hair. Underneath that smooth hair is also a layer of curly hair, which adds insulation to the dog's body for winter weather. The Tibetan Terrier also has wide, flat, and round paws that allow them to navigate snowy terrain.
The Keeshond is an energetic and playful breed, which earned it the nickname 'the smiling Dutchman'. Bred as guard dogs aboard Dutch ships, the Keeshond has a thick, fuzzy coat that is resistant to cold climates.
The Great Pyrenees
The Great Pyrenees were bred to watch sheep in harsh winter conditions. They have a calm, wise, and patient disposition, making them excellent pets. Their double coat makes them impervious to frigid weather conditions.
The Saint Bernard is the WORST breed for clean-freaks, with their tendency to shed and their copious amounts of drool. The Saint Bernard can be challenging to train but they are a winter mountain dog through and through. The Saint Bernard was bred as a rescue dog to help travelers on the mountain and they have saved countless lives! This breed is truly man's best friend.
This breed's hybrid, fluffy coat allows them to enjoy the winter weather in comfort. They can tolerate the cold just as much as a human wearing a coat, so if you're a little chilly, your Golden-Doodle is likely feeling the chill too.
The huge wooly coat of the Chow Chow keeps them warm throughout the winter. They are known for their unique black tongue and their less-than-affectionate nature. The Chow Chow is wary of strangers and does not love copious amounts of affection, they are often compared to cats!
How To Choose The Best Boots For Your Pup?
Now you know what makes a dog well-equipped to withstand harsh winter climates, it's time to look at getting your dog the proper boots to navigate your winter adventures.
How Does Dog Boot Material Feel?
If you're planning to take your dogs for long winter hikes, skiing, mushing, or running in the snow, you will need to ensure that your dog’s boots have enough traction to make walking easier. The shoes should be textured on the bottom to provide the same amount of traction that dogs usually get from their nails.
Are Dog Boots Waterproof?
Snow melts, and if it gets inside your dog's boots and freezes again, this can cause the tearing of skin between their toes and cause your dog pain. So, ensure your dog boots are waterproof and designed for winter, not summer.
Are These Dog Boots Flexible And Comfortable?
You will need to ensure the soles of your dog's boots are flexible, which will allow them to walk more easily. You should also ensure that the boots come with adjustable velcro straps that will enable them to be adjusted to your dog's legs and your dog's paws.
Can Your Dog Walk Or Run While Wearing Dog Boots?
A good indicator of how good the dog boots are is whether your dog can walk or run whilst wearing them. Not all dogs will be comfortable wearing dog boots right away, so it is important to determine whether it's a problem with the boots or whether your dog is ultra-sensitive.
What To Do When Your Furry Friend Is Ultra-Sensitive
Sometimes, your dog may not take well to wearing winter boots. If this is the case, there are some things you can try to make them more comfortable.
Try A Variety Of Dog Boots
You must ensure that your dog's winter boots are comfortable and don't fit too loosely or tightly. To determine whether the dog boots are comfortable for your dog, try a variety of dog boots. If your dog is struggling with all of them, your dog likely needs some training to get used to them.
Teach Your Dog How To Wear Boots
When teaching your dog to wear boots, have plenty of treats handy. Try using the treats to motivate your dog to walk in the boots. Keep repeating this training exercise in short bursts daily, and they will soon grow accustomed to the way the boots feel on their feet.
Alternatives To Dog Boots
If, after training, your dog still shows no signs of getting used to dog boots, there are some alternatives to try which will still give your dog’s paws some protection.
Paw wax is easy to use and keeps our dogs' pads safe from harsh chemicals and salt in the snow. The wax was made initially for mushing purposes but is now used year-round to protect dog paws from both hot pavements and cold weather conditions.
Use Medication Spray
Medication spray can help keep your dog's paws moisturized during the colder seasons, preventing dryness, cracking, and discomfort in sensitive paws. Be sure to wipe your dog's paws after walking too, as when they don't wear boots, harsh chemicals from the snow may be left on the paws.
Dog boots protect dogs' paws from cold weather, and even the most cold-proof breeds need added protection for their feet when they have prolonged exposure to frozen ground. If you're thinking of skiing or mushing with your dog, it's wise to invest in dog boots to ensure their safety.