Dogs may love to play in the first snowfall, but running around on ice, snow, frozen ground, and de-iced surfaces isn’t good for their paws. Icy particles and snow can collect between the toes and get stuck to the hair, not to mention that road salt and some de-icing products are toxic to dogs when ingested.
Should dogs wear boots in cold weather? In most cases, yes. Boots are important to protect your dog’s paws from extended time on harsh surfaces.
What Are Dog Boots?
Dog boots, also known as booties, are tough covers for a dog’s paws that act as protection against injury from ice, snow, rugged terrain, or other hazards. In many ways, they’re similar to the snow boots or work boots we wear to protect our feet from extreme conditions.
There are three components to dog boots: the sole, the uppers, and the sock liner. The sole is a rubber piece that covers the paw up to the ankle. The uppers are the main structure of the boot and have a closure at the back. The sock liner is for comfort and insulation.
These boots may be made of durable fabric, rubber, or plastic with hook-and-loop closures or laces. Some boots have breathable mesh fabric lining to allow them to be worn in different seasons or a grip pad surface on the bottom for traction and stability.
Boots come in different colors and may have features like a reflective surface to make your dog visible in low light. Some are water-resistant to keep your dog’s paws dry in the rain or while playing in ponds and streams.
Depending on your needs, you could get dog boots that are designed specifically for snow or ice. But if you spend a lot of time outdoors with your dog in different seasons, all-season dog boots may be a good choice.
Signs Your Dog Needs Dog Boots
Some dog breeds are more comfortable in cold weather than others, such as northern breeds like the Siberian Husky or Alaskan Malamute. Still, even sled dogs have snow boots when they’re in the elements for extended periods.
Other dogs may struggle more with the cold. In general, small or toy breeds don’t tolerate the cold as well and may be uncomfortable with cold paws. Dogs with short coats don’t have as much protection from the elements as fluffier breeds, so they’re prone to frostbite in their paws.
Here are some signs that your dog may need dog boots:
In addition, older dogs, puppies, and dogs with chronic health conditions or recent illnesses or injuries are more vulnerable in the cold, so they should have extra protection with dog boots. You may want to consider getting a sweater or coat for your dog as well.
Benefits of Dog Boots
If you’ve ever seen a dog practically limping after spending time outside in subzero temperatures, you know that the cold gets to its paws after a while. This is especially true if you live in areas with extreme winters or walk your dog often.
Dog boots have many benefits in cold weather, including keeping the dog’s feet and legs dry and insulating them from the cold. With dry, insulated paws, your dog will be more comfortable spending time in the cold weather.
The boots will also protect your dog from irritation or ingesting chemicals from road salt or de-icer. You may be careful and use a pet-safe de-icer, but not everyone does, so it’s likely that your dog will come in contact with rock salt at some point on your walk.
Dog boots have direct benefits for you as well. If you don’t want muddy or damp paw prints on your floor, dog boots keep your dog’s paws clean and dry. You simply take the boots off when you come inside, just like you would with your own.
When dogs first wear boots, they may walk funny or look a little unsure. But with regular wear, they get used to the feeling of having the boots on.
Final Thoughts: Protect Your Dog’s Paws This Winter
We take for granted that dogs can get by without comforts like clothing and shoes. But when the extreme winter weather hits, it’s better to keep your dog safe and comfortable with dog boots that protect its paws from pain and injury.
Featured Image Credit: LiniaS, Shutterstock