Why Your Dog Needs Boots
To some pet owners, dog boots for winter may seem like a gimmick. After all, animals in the wild certainly don’t wear dog boots, so why should your pet? Dog booties actually make a great deal of sense, though, and it is important to remember that you are not living in the wild, and neither is your pet. Winter does bring some natural hazards, but living in an urban or suburban environment poses additional winter hazards your dog would not be faced with in the wild. Why buy dog boots? Here are some great reasons:
- Snow and icy pavement are cold. Just because some dogs can put up with cold temperatures does not mean that yours should have to. You want your dog to be comfortable when you go out on walks.
- The cold temperatures of winter also have a drying effect. This can cause your dog’s feet to crack and bleed, especially if he does a lot of running around bootless in the snow. Even breeds that are used traditionally as sled dogs can suffer from this problem.
- Ice can be sharp, and sharp edges may be hidden under snow. When your dog wears boots, his feet have at least a layer of protection. Remember that even a small cut can become infected if it gets dirty.
- Winter means dangerous chemicals are being used on streets, sidewalks, and driveways. While the salts used to remove ice from driveways may not trouble you, it can cause chemical burns on the pads of your dog’s paws. This may cause him to try and remove the salts from his feet by licking his paws, but this will only result in him getting sick from toxic chemicals. When your dog wears boots, these salts will not get on his feet, and this will also remove the temptation to lick. This is a great example of a situation where a dog living in the wild would not be faced with a particular danger. Your domesticated animal lives in a world of unique dangers created by humans, which is why a human solution like dog boots makes sense.
There are many different designs for dog boots, ranging from your simple, throwaway rubber booties to your top-of-the-line reusable boots suitable for hiking and other winter activities. Which type of boots you need for your dog largely is going to depend on the breed as well as the activities you are planning on doing. For many pet owners, the throwaway rubber boots will be fine and save money. If you love winter activities like hiking with your dog, however, you may want to go for something heavy duty.
Getting your dog to wear dog boots can be a challenge. If your dog has never worn boots before, they will seem strange and unfamiliar. Take your time and train your dog slowly to wear the boots, and make sure to use positive reinforcement along the way. Many dogs will eventually take to wearing boots, and many will appreciate them. Not all dogs will wear boots, though, so you have to be ready to accept failure. You should never force a dog to wear boots if she doesn’t want to. What you may want to do is start by purchasing throwaway rubber boots. That way you will not waste money if you cannot get your dog to wear them. If you discover you can, you can step up to a more expensive set of boots.
What should you do if your pet won’t wear boots? If your dog will not wear boots outside in the winter, there are some steps you should take to ensure his safety. Take time to clip the fur between his toes. This will prevent ice and snow from getting trapped between them, which will reduce the cold and make him more comfortable. It will also prevent drying, cracking, and bleeding. Another great idea is to apply some petroleum jelly to the pads of his feet (or a commercial foot pad treatment). Doing this creates a buffer between his feet and the ground. The buffer will prevent the chemical salts from sticking to the pads of his feet.
Doing this will definitely help protect your dog, but you should still pause during your outings to wipe snow, ice and salts off his feet. Puppy wipes are great for this purpose; you can also keep them by the door so you can wipe his feet when you get back. If you are not in a hurry, you can wash his feet in warm water. This will help him to feel comfortable again, and also ensure you have gotten all the chemicals off his feet. This will keep your home clean and your pet safe!