Dogs are blessed in that they (for the most part) have tougher feet than their owners. It would be hard to imagine a human treading on everything that a dog does each day without the protection of shoes. But even though their feet (or paws if you will) can tolerate all sorts of terrain, that doesn’t mean it isn’t wise (and occasionally necessary) to give your dog’s paws some protection.
The best way to accomplish this is by outfitting your canine companion with a set of high-quality dog booties, as they are usually called.
There are definitely a plethora of different dog booties on the market, but not all are as helpful as you hope they might be. Without getting the best quality dog booties, they can fail to protect your dog’s feet, come off too easily, or frustrate you in numerous other ways.
With that in mind, it is important to do a good amount of research to determine which of the available brands are optimal for your specific size, breed, and activities.
Are Dog Booties Actually Necessary?
It is a fact that most dogs walk around barefoot their whole life without sustaining any type of major injuries to their paws (or pads), so many pet parents wonder just how necessary dog booties actually are.
The answer, of course, depends upon the activities in which your dogs participate and the likelihood of your dog encountering things such as sharp sticks or stones (i.e. search and rescue dogs are especially vulnerable here), trudge through deep snow and/or ice, or possibly be subject to very hot pavement or macadam for long periods of time. If your dog will most likely face these types of conditions on a continual basis, then dog booties are likely a necessity.
Dog booties can also provide value to both dog and owner even if the pooch’s activities keep it form the conditions described above. For example, boots help many dogs – especially older ones — maintain traction on slippery floors. Booties will also help you keep your floors clean, and prevent your dog from possibly tracking mud, water, or snow into the house.
Some owners also find dog boots appealing because they can prevent your dog from scratching up the various types of flooring in your house. While it is obviously simpler to opt for much more sturdy flooring (a dog-proof choice) to avoid claw marks, booties can be helpful in short-term situations when you want to stop claws from gouging delicate flooring (such as when you and your dog have been invited over to someone else’s home).
So, as you can see, while not always strictly necessary, booties are indeed helpful in one way or another for a majority of dog owners!
Important Considerations When Choosing Booties
To help distinguish the higher quality dog booties from those that likely will not get the job done, it is important to consider a number of characteristics of the boots in question:
Get a Properly Fitting Shoe
We do not walk around wearing the wrong size shoes so it does not make sense for your pet to don boots that are too big or small for them.
Carefully refer to each manufacturer’s fitting instructions or size guidelines when determining the best fit for your dog – some will require you to trace the outline of your dog’s foot and then measure the drawing to ensure a proper fit.
Easy to Put On and Remove
Getting your dog’s booties on and off of his feet can be frustrating, so it’s always wise to seek out booties that are designed to slip on and slip off easily. Usually, the best dog booties featuring wide split seams are the easiest ones to get on and off of your dog’s paws.
Most booties rely on some sort of straps to ensure a proper fit. Boots that lack straps are usually easier for dogs to remove on their own (something your dog will likely attempt to do). You’ll want to ensure that the straps are easy to operate and durable.
Some straps feature Velcro closures, while others use buckles or snap-locks; any of these will work, although Velcro closures are usually the best, easiest to manage, longest lasting and the easiest to clean.
Durable and Comfortable Materials
Many of the lower cost brands of booties are made of substandard materials, which may fall apart after only a short period of use. You will always want to be sure that you select boots made from materials that are best for your dog’s most frequent activities and conditions he will be facing.
Most good dog booties should be water-resistant enough to keep your dog’s feet dry when walking through wet grass. It will be rare to find booties that will keep paws dry during such activities as running through standing water or prolonged periods of time in the snow. Typically boots with greater water resistance will cost more than those that offer less protection, so you’ll want to decide how important water resistance is before making your selection.
Most of the best brands of dog booties will feature reflective patches, stripes, or stitching, to help make them more visible (to cars for example) and enhance the safety of your pet. However, even your dog will not be traveling near any roads, reflective booties can make it easier to keep an eye on your pooch, or find him if he runs off.
Obviously your dog does not care what color his booties are, but you very well may. While fashion choices aren’t as important as other considerations, there’s no reason you shouldn’t consider the color and pattern of your dog’s boots, after ensuring they are otherwise well-suited for your pooch.