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Home > Dogs > How to Measure Dog Paws for Boots: 6 Expert Tips

How to Measure Dog Paws for Boots: 6 Expert Tips

human hand holding bernese mountain dogs paw

Whether they’re heading out in the snow or rain, wearing boots can keep your dog’s paws warm and dry. If your dog likes to obsessively lick their paws, boots can also help them break the habit. However, it can be challenging to guess your pup’s size. Thankfully, all you need is a piece of paper, a soft measuring tape, and a pencil. Instead of a numbered chart, you can measure the length and width of their paws or trace the outline of their feet to give you an idea of a good fit.

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Does My Dog Need Boots?

Some dogs feel uncomfortable wearing shoes—as evidenced by funny internet videos of them awkwardly traipsing around. You shouldn’t force your dog to wear boots for fun. In reality, there are few situations where your dog absolutely needs shoes. Their paws are already well-equipped to handle most weather situations. Unfortunately, though, human inventions such as deicers and asphalt may necessitate shoes. Additionally, you’ll want to protect their paws if you’re hiking in an area where they may cut themselves on sharp rocks.

Depending on the breed, your dog might not need to wear boots in cold weather. For example, Siberian Huskies have webbed paws that are built to handle the snow. However, they’ll still need to wear boots if your area uses rock salts or chemicals. Salts are too abrasive for your dog’s paws, and chemicals can harm them by soaking through their skin.

Ironically, you can also dress your dog in boots to protect their paws from hot asphalt and artificial grass during the warmer months. This certainly isn’t ideal, though, since it also adds a layer of warmth. Walking them in during a cooler time, such as early in the morning or late at night, is a much better way to deal with the heat. Keep in mind that pavement temperatures generally run between 40 to 60ºF above the air temperature 1. This means even though the thermometer may register a pleasant 75ºF in the air, the pavement could be a scorching 120ºF. If you have any doubts about the pavement, it’s always a good idea to check the temperature with your hands or feet before setting your dog down on the sidewalk.

The type of shoes you choose depends on the problem you’re trying to solve. For example, rain boots are a good choice for wet or snowy climates, but probably not what you’ll want on a hot August afternoon. Pro tip: some companies charge more for dog booties and socks because of marketing, but it’s totally fine to buy them baby shoes instead as long as they’re a comfortable fit. Whatever type you pick, make sure the soles are flexible. Have your dog practice walking around in the house while wearing them so they’ll feel comfortable in public.

Corgi On a Puddle Wearing Dog Boots
Image Credit: Bachkova Natalia, Shutterstock

How to Measure Your Dog for Boots

Once you’ve decided on the pair of shoes, you’ll want to pull out a pencil, piece of paper, and a soft measuring tape.

Here's how to get the most accurate measurement in just a few steps:
  • Help your dog to sit still. If you have a hard time convincing your dog to stand still, break out the treat jar or their favorite toy to entertain them for a few moments.
  • Measure length. Measure their paw from the base of their paw pad to the tip of their longest toenail. Write down the length measurement on the paper.
  • Measure the width. Measure the width of their paw across the widest part. Record the width measurement on your paper.
  • Measure the circumference. Wrap the soft measuring tape completely around their paws. Jot down the circumference.
  • Let your dog try on the shoes. Like human shoes, some brands may run a little off from our determined size, so it’s always a good idea to let your dog stick their toes in to test them out as soon as you can. They may look a little awkward at first as they hobble around in their new sneakers, but it should be easy to determine whether the clumsiness stems from the new experience or if their shoes don’t fit quite right.

How to Trace Your Dog’s Feet

Alternatively, you can trace around the circumference of your dog’s paws or use a stamp to leave an impression on the paper. While this isn’t the most precise way to get their size, it might be the best way if you’re buying baby boots as opposed to shoes made for dogs. This way, you can take the outline of your dog’s paw with you to the store to physically compare it to the size of the shoe. It’s always a good idea to also measure their paws so you have the most information at your disposal when it’s time to shop.

hand holding australian shepherd dog's paw
Image Credit: Kuttelvaserova Stuchelova, Shutterstock

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Conclusion

Your pup already rocks the barefoot look, but sometimes they may need to slip on a protective layer, especially if it’s extremely hot or cold. Measuring your dog’s paws can help you determine the correct size, which is necessary to secure a proper fit. After you’ve purchased the shoes, try them on your dog at home to make sure they fit correctly. Finding the perfect fit avoids injuries and discomfort and puts confidence in Fido’s stride.


Featured Image Credit: Vad-Len, Shutterstock

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