Dog Shoes--Are They Necessary?
Choosing the right footwear for your pooch
Dog shoes, boots and booties are becoming the latest in a long line of popular doggy apparel accessories. And with winter temperatures, frozen sidewalks and snowfall on the way, many pet owners are contemplating protecting their canine’s paws with a snug pair of booties – but do dogs really need shoes?
It turns out that in many cases dogs really do benefit from protective paw wear, and in other instances dog shoes can provide an extra layer of comfort and safety. But it takes a special kind of dog shoe to conform to the movements of a dog’s paw, and some types of shoes can actually limit your dog’s ability to walk or run.
Dog Shoes: Not Totally New
Although dog shoes have only recently appeared in pet stores and on pet websites, protective dog booties have been used for decades during canine sporting events. Dog shoes have been used for many years, particularly during winter sled races. For many of these races, protective dog shoes are required gear.
The famous Alaskan 1,000 mile Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race, for example, mandates in the Gear and Equipment regulations that eight dog shoe booties must be provided for each dog. The shoes must also either be in the sled or in use throughout the entire race.
Dog Shoes for Winter, Summer, and Beyond
While dog shoes provide protection against frost bite, scrapes and cuts caused by sharp ice during extreme winter sports, they can also protect the paws of our everyday canine friends too. Here are a few instances when dog shoes can offer an extra layer of support and safety:
- During extreme hot or cold temperatures, dog shoes can protect paw pads from frostbite in the winter and burns from hot asphalt in the summer.
- Dog shoes with traction bottoms can help dogs with mobility problems. No slip shoes can be especially beneficial for senior dogs with arthritis or hip dysplasia when walking on slippery or frozen surfaces.
- For dogs that enjoy swimming, dog shoes can help to protect paw pads from cuts or scrapes caused by contact with underwater rocks or sharp objects.
- Risks for accidental scrapes or paw pad tears during short or long hikes can be reduced with protective dog booties.
- Dogs who have nerve damage in their legs or backs which cause hind legs to drag can benefit from protective booties. The booties in these cases can prevent scrapes and tears on the tops of the paws if paws drag a bit while the dog is walking.
Dog shoes in winter can also provide a layer of comfort when dogs are plowing through snow. In this instance dog shoes may not necessarily be needed, but they may certainly be appreciated!
Dos and Don'ts
The best types of dog shoes are shoes which conform to the shape of the paw and which allow regular paw movement. These shoes look a lot like slip-on covers, and they often come with Velcro straps at the top.
Dog shoes to avoid are the types of shoes which are created to look just like people shoes. These stiff shoes may look adorable on dogs, but dogs cannot walk well in them and may even end up hurting themselves.
If you choose dog shoes for your dog, make sure they are a comfortable fit which facilitates the full mobility of the paws – and that the tops of the shoes are secure but not too tight.
- Filed Under: Health & Home