For your fashionable furbaby

Should Dogs Wear Boots?

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.

Should Dogs Wear 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.

Should Dogs Wear Boots

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!

Should Dogs Wear Boots

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.

  1. 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!
  2. Reward your pup for the littlest things at the beginning, something like simply looking at the shoes.
  3. If you’ve got a touchy pup, practice picking up her paw, moving it to touch the boot and then giving a reward
  4. 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.
  5. Do this with every paw!
  6. 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!

==> Click here to view our top recommendations for winter dog boots <==

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! 🙂



13 thoughts on “Should Dogs Wear Boots?”

  • I am planning to buy a dog in the next few months and I have been reading about petting tips and training. This article about should dog wear boots was a really good one to know before buying a pet. I now know when I should buy boots for my pet. Thank you so much for sharing this article with us.

  • Thanks for sharing this informative and educative post. I have never thought of getting boot for my dog but reading this post, I have seen reasons why I have to get my dog a boot. My dog have paw injury and since then it has been indoor but getting him a boot will make us go the usual early morning work we use to do together. Thanks for this information.

  • Wow. I had honestly never heard of or seen dogs wearing boots before, though in many cases, it does make sense! We protect our own feet (though, theirs are generally adapted to walking around without covering), so why shouldn’t we protect theirs? Would you recommend dogs wearing them all the time, or is that only in the case of arthritis and while injured?

    • Hi Steve,

      It really depends on the needs and circumstances of your dog. We would recommend only using the boots in potentially injurious or uncomfortable circumstances such as all those mentioned in the bulleted list above. If your dog is running around on the lawn or a city park, there is likely no need for boots.

  • Yes, dogs should wear boots depending on the weather conditions and other social conditions like festive periods when we are trying to make them look their best. I quite agree with the other reasons listed above,  they are the major reasons why dogs should wear boots.

    Making dogs  wear boots is a different thing entirely as it is not natural with them and this takes a lot of time and skill on the parts of the dog owner to make them like wearing boots

  • I can see where at certain times dog boots could benefit some of our furry friends. I am not sure all of our furry friends would agree but never the less, better safe than sorry. Do they make water boots for dogs?

     There is something I learned about dogs that is interesting and that is a dog with no tail cannot swim. I had a dog with a bobbed tail ( Rat Terrier ) and he fell out of the boat one day and I just got to him as he was going down for the third time. I worked with him over the course of the summer, teaching him to swim well enough to be able save himself if he ever fell out of the boat again.

  • Thanks for these helpful tips on whether or not a dog should wear boots. When my dog was still alive, I remember in the summer he would run fast over cement because it was so hot that his feet were burning.

    However, as you mentioned in your post, he did not like to wear anything and would run away if I had tried to put boots on him.

    So if I get a new dog in the future, I’ll be sure to try your tricks out so I can let them wear boots.

    Thanks again for this great post.

    • Hi Michael! If you take it slow and do it right, you can help the most reluctant pooches learn to wear their boots! Best of luck.

  • Working dogs wear boots all the time. For five years I was a wilderness search and rescue canine handler and all of us used boots with our dogs. Just this last week I saw a YouTube video posted on Facebook showing a police K9 handler’s dog doing the silly walk all dogs do when you first put four boots on their paws.

    Many of us used two types of boots. We had the basic ‘two pieces of fabric sewn together at the edges’ type that we always carried in case our dog cut his paw or had another mild injury. They are also the perfect boot to introduce your dog to the idea of boots in the first place as they let the dog feel the ground beneath their pads. They might fling one or two off in their first attempt, but you can easily get them to accept this type of boot in a session or two. Yes, treats are freely used.

    The second type was a formed boot shape with a thicker Vibram sole and a breathable upper. Everybody had their favorite. I swore by the pair I bought from Ruffwear. If one manufacturer’s don’t seem to fit, try another.

    This type of boots is essential if your dog is accompanying you over an area composed of small granite rocks or, like the article says, in snow and ice. They can also protect your dog’s paws if they have to spend any time walking over hot pavement. It took longer to get my dog comfortable with this type of boot. The first time, I only left them on a pretty short time and then took them off. The trick is to gradually increase the time with each session until they no longer pay the boots any attention.

    For the first time, I would definitely recommend putting the boots on outdoors with some room. As I mentioned, all dogs do the silly walk the first time you put them on. They are really focusing on this weird feeling on their feet and trying to walk without putting any paw on the ground, which is hysterical but means they’re not really paying a lot of attention to their immediate surroundings. Like the article says, you want to avoid any negative experience, especially at the beginning.

    As you can tell, I agree with the article’s claim that there are many reasons for people to get their dogs used to having boots on their feet. Thanks for providing this information!

    • Hi Mathew! Thank you for the very informed comment. It’s great to have a second expert opinion backing up our article.

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