Keep Your Paws on the road
Even if you do not live in Arizona, you probably considered getting some doggie boots for your pet at some point. If you walk your pet on asphalt or concrete you should consider them during the hot summer days, or during cold winters, when boots can insulate your dog’s feet from snow, ice, and salt. They are also great for keeping your dog's feet dry and clean when it's raining and muddy outside. If you hike in different kinds of terrain, boots can make sure your dog's paws aren't injured by protecting from the dangers of sharp rock, brambles, burrs, cacti, and foxtails; and if you have a senior dog or one with mobility issues, boots can help with traction on slippy floors in the home.
In this blog, I want to answer some commonly ask questions about dog boots. How to choose the right type of boot, how to properly fit them, and how to get your dog comfortable wearing them.
How to choose the right kind of dog boots
There are plenty of choices when it comes to buying dog boots for your canine companion and choosing among them can get confusing. In general, depending on the need for boots, different types should be considered. Here are some tips on how to choose between different boots:
Getting the right size dog boot
Getting the right size of dog boots can also be challenging, as sizing varies with style and manufacturer. It's best to not just buy by size, but rather take a moment to carefully measure your dog's paws. To do so, take a blank sheet of paper and let your dog stand on it with his front paw. With a pen mark around the paw. Do the same for the hind foot. Now measure the width and length of the paws using the outline on your paper. The most important measurement is the width, as it mostly determines the size. With these measurements in hand, review the sizing chart of the brand you are buying.
If you purchase your boots locally, take your dog with you to the pet store. Most will allow you to try on the boots before you buy them. If they do not, you can purchase the boots and then try them on in the car. This way you are able to exchange them for another size, if they don't fit.
A good fitting boot should go on easily and tighten around the lower leg snugly. If the boots are too loose, they will fall off, when the dog walks or plays. Be sure to tug at the boots once you have fastened them to the paws, to see if they will slide off.
Don't be alarmed if your dog acts funny when you put on the boots for the first time. Dogs need some time to get used to wearing boots.
It's important to take the time to let your pet get used to the boots before you use them on a regular basis. The biggest mistake owners make is to just put the dog boots on their pet and leave them to get used to them. More than likely the dog will try to bit off the boots and you might condition him to take off the boots and destroy them.
How to Train Your Dog to Wear Dog Boots
Don't just put the boots on his feet, rather take the time to gradually teach your dog to be comfortable wearing his boots.
Start with only the fronts and make sure the boots are properly secured so they will not fall off. Then put your dog on the leash and walk around the house or backyard for a few minutes. By walking around, you give your dog something to do, and he will not just sit and chew off the new boots.
At first your dog will walk awkwardly with the boots on this paws. Once your dog is walking normally with the boots on you can toss a toy or ball off-leash.
Keep the first few times wearing the boots short. After a few minutes, take the boots off, but continue to play to reward the dog. Repeat for a few times and eventually add the hind boots to this routine.
Once you use the boots for regular outings, make sure to check his/her paws for soreness or wear marks. Just like human shoes, dog boots fit differently on each dog and you want to be sure your dog is wearing boots that fit without hurting his feet.