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You may have seen our recent post recommending our favorite dog snow boots, and perhaps it left you wondering, ‘why should dogs wear boots at all?’ We touched very briefly on this topic in the snow boot post, but we’d like to go into more detail on the importance of boots.
In this post we’ll cover why boots are important, whether your dog is likely to need them, and how you can successfully introduce your beloved pup to his boots for the first time.
Why should dogs wear boots?
We know that not everyone out there subscribes to the fido fashionista mindset that we promote here. Some pets like to keep it ‘al natural’ as they say. Many doggo’s wouldn’t be caught dead in human-like clothing. After all, dogs will be dogs. If this is the way you, or your furry friend feels, that’s A-OK with us. Always be true to yourself.
That being said, there are some dog accessories that are necessary for the sake of safety. Think collars, harnesses and leashes. We all want to keep our pets safe, healthy and accident free. The fact of the matter is, depending on your doggo’s breed and lifestyle, boots may fall under this category.
How do I know if my dog needs boots?
There are many good reasons for boot wearing, and only one of them involves snow. If you’re trying to figure out whether your dog should wear boots, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I take my doggo walking on rough terrain?
- Do we frequently play in the snow?
- Are there sharp rocks, cacti or other ground hazards in my area?
- Does my dog have arthritis?
- Does my dog already have a paw injury?
- Are my dogs’ feet webbed?
- Does my dog walk around in weedy areas or areas with tall dry grasses?
- Is my dog very active outside?
- Does it get very cold in my area?
- Does it get very hot in my area?
The more times you answered ‘yes’ to the above questions the likelier it is that your favorite friend would greatly benefit from his very own boots. On the other hand, if you own a small dog that primarily stays in the house or yard and doesn’t venture much into the snow during winters, then boots are not necessarily a critical purchase.
Why do webbed toes make a difference?
In actuality, all dogs feet are webbed to some extent. That is, there are connections of tissue between the toes. However, there are certain breeds that have highly webbed feet. These are mainly water dogs that have been bred for their swimming capabilities. The webbing allows them to use their feet as more efficient paddles in the water.
This is excellent for swimming. But it can be a drawback in other areas. The webbing traps irritants in the foot more easily. In the winter time, snow balls up into ice and can be difficult for puppers to remove no matter how often they bit and pull at their feet.
Other items like grass seed spikelets can hook in between the toes and are very difficult for even human hands to remove. These spikelets can cause many problems because the barbs essentially enable the seed to burrow into the skin. They can be painful and even become infected, resulting in pain and vet bills.
If your dog has highly webbed toes, this increases the risk factor for every other issue mentioned above.
Arthritis and injuries
It is an unfortunate fact that as your pooch ages she may develop certain health issues. One common problem for older dogs, especially among some of our most favorite breeds like retrievers, German shepherds and other large dogs, is arthritis.
Just like in humans, this can make it difficult for your pooch to move around. But it is essential that they do as the more active they are the more it can alleviate the pain from arthritis.
Did you know that boots can help with this?
A boot will give your doggo extra traction. This will not only help them avoid slipping on your kitchen floors it can help dogs that drag their feet due to joint problems walk easier. Boots can alleviate pain for your dog in the same way that an orthopedic shoe does for you!
Boots can provide the same benefits for dogs with injured paws. And they protect the paws from further scrapes or the added burden of very hot or very cold surfaces to avoid exacerbating any issues your dog may have.
But my dog hates boots! Help!
Don’t worry, this is often the case. Your dog is not the only one. Having something between the paw and the ground can feel pretty unnatural to rover. But there are things that we can do to help him along.
First things first, avoid giving your dog a negative experience the first time she is introduced to the boots! Start small and be ready with heaps of rewards.
- Choose a treat that your dog loves but doesn’t get to have very often, maybe some tidbits from that fresh rotisserie chicken you just bought or real bacon!
- Reward your pup for the littlest things at the beginning, something like simply looking at the shoes.
- If you’ve got a touchy pup, practice picking up her paw, moving it to touch the boot and then giving a reward
- When your pup is okay with her paws being handled, put one paw into the shoe, give her a reward and then take the shoe off. Repeat this step several times.
- Do this with every paw!
- Then fasten the booties tightly and allow her to take her first steps.
This is where personalities can diverge. Depending on your dog, you could gradually increase the time spent in the boots and allow fido to acclimate indoors, or you may find that your dog just wants to get outside ASAP. This can be a great natural reward. Boots = outdoor time. You may even find that fido completely forgets that he’s wearing his boots as soon as he sets foot in the yard and is assailed by the natural wonders of the world!
Remember to reward, reward, reward, and don’t be afraid to take it slow. You play a huge role in how accepting your dog will be of his boots!
Best of luck!
We hope that answered all your questions and we wish you all the best with your boot endeavors!
If you have any comments, questions, concerns or stories you wish to share about your own fur baby and her boots, please leave a comment below. We promise to reply! 🙂
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