I may have laughed the first time I saw a pair of dog shoes in the local pet store. I mean super cute, but totally unnecessary right?
I thought so too! That was until I started taking Jack out on adventures with me. Being in certain conditions made me start wondering if I was doing enough to protect my dogs paws.
So I asked our veterinarian if and when dogs should wear shoes. I also made sure to do my own research to make sure I wasn’t putting Jack in any danger or unnecessary pain.
So are dog shoes necessary?
The short answer, sometimes it is necessary for dogs to wear shoes. Normal healthy dogs don’t need shoes on a day to day basis. But there are certain conditions in which dog shoes can protect your dogs paws from serious danger. Extreme weather, rocky terrain or certain activities can leave dogs paws vulnerable to injury.
In general, dogs paws are sturdier than our feet. Their paws have thicker skin and more fat than the soles of our feet.
During everyday activities dogs don’t usually need shoes. As long as the weather is decent, going for walks and small trips outside the house, dogs don’t need shoes.
But if the weather is harsh or the terrain you’re walking is too rocky, shoes may save your dog some pain and avoid an unnecessary injury.
A good rule of thumb is, if walking the ground would hurt your feet, your dog may need shoes.
Here is a list of when you should consider investing in some dog booties.
Use Common Sense
First and foremost, common sense can go a long way in deciding if your dog needs shoes or not.
Paying attention to your dogs behavior can tell you tons about how their feet are doing.
If your dog is whining, picking up their feet quickly to get relief from the ground or suddenly licking and nipping at their paws, their may be a problem with the ground they are on.
Here are the most common situations in which dogs need shoes.
In Hot Weather
When taking walks in the summer, keep in mind how hot the concrete can get. I’ve lived in places where you could crack and egg and it would immediately start to sizzle!
That’s way too hot for your dogs paws. If I’m questioning it, I always hold my hand on ground to make sure it isn’t too hot.
If the ground is too hot for your dog, either find cooler ground to walk on, like grass, or grab you a pair of dog shoes.
In Cold Weather
If there is ice or snow on the ground, your dog should probably be wearing shoes. Some cold weather breeds may be ok, but it’s hard to tell without being able to ask them.
If we are going to be playing in the snow for more than a couple of minutes, Jack gets his shoes on.
Snow can get packed in between your dogs toes and cause painful cold burns.
An added benefit to a good quality pair of dogs shoes, is slip resistance. This is especially useful to protect your dogs ankles from injury if there is slick ice.
In Rough Terrain
If you plan on hiking and the terrain is rough on the trail or you like to deviate from the smooth path, your dog should wear shoes.
Sharp rocks, large thorns and splinters can call cause damage to your dogs sensitive paws.
Whenever you are hiking with you dog or adventuring through rough terrain (even some beaches are loaded with sharp broken shells) your dog needs shoes.
Dog shoes are just one way to protect your dogs paws while hiking.
Long Distance Runs
If you are a long distance runner it’s a great idea to run with your dog to keep them healthy and in shape.
However, if you are running extreme distances, the concrete could rub the bottom of your dogs paws raw.
A pair of good fitting booties or shoes could protect them from pain after your runs.
If They Have An Injury
Another time your dog may need shoes is after they have an injury or are healing from a procedure.
If your dog has a minor wound on their paw, a bandage with a shoe over it can help protect their injury and allow it to heal.
I suggest always calling up your vet to ask what they recommend in these situations though. They’ll be able to tell you if shoes are appropriate or necessary for your dogs condition.
Things to Keep In Minds When You Dog Wears Shoes
Always make sure the shoes you choose are fit your dogs foot well. Outside the obvious hassle of them falling off, an ill fitting shoe can cause problems.
A shoe that is too tight could break their nails or cause pain. Shoes that are loose in certain areas could cause blistering from friction.
And always make sure to give a check your dogs paws when you remove their shoes to make sure there are no problems.