It is vital to get a boot which fits your dog’s paws well. Anything too small could cut off circulation and be very uncomfortable, but anything too large will mean they struggle to walk and could fall off during the walk.
Measuring your dog’s paws if a bit more difficult than measuring around their head or body to fit a harness or collar, but should still be simple if they can stay still for a few moments.
Grab a plain piece of paper and put your dog’s paw on it. Press down slightly to mimic how they spread when walking and putting pressure on them. Then draw a straight at either side of the foot.
The distance between these lines is where the measurement comes from, but you may also wish to make a mark of where their claws and back heel end if your dog has extra-large feet or sensitive paws.
Don’t worry about getting really really close as they do need a little bit of room in the boot, just like with human shoes. Do bear in mind that if your dog has very hairy paws, however, you should take this into consideration and get as close as is suitable to the actual foot. A 0.2mm leeway is usually best.
Unfortunately, many manufacturers have their own size guides and methods, but most provide sizing charts. We have tried to pick options which are easy to understand.
Depending on where you will be going and what you want to protect your dog from, you may want certain attributions:
- Waterproof – Can be good for rain or wet grass and pavements, and there are also some available which can go in deeper water
- Non-Slip Soles – Good for icy conditions or if used inside on hard flooring. Can also help for grip when climbing
- Thick Soles – So your dog does not feel rough surfaces under feet. Can help if you’re worried about going over glass, thorns or very dry grass or with hot floors
- Thin Soles – Helps if your dog will still need to feel the ground underneath for balance. Perfect for general walking
- Breathable – Dogs lose heat through their paws. To stop them overheating, you may want something which lets air in and warmth out
- Lined – Good for cold weather if their feet are sensitive to low temperatures
- Reflective – Bear in mind where you will be walking and when. Reflective boots could help with visibility
- Washable – The majority are hand washable, which is important to keep them clean for going on feet (especially if their paws have wounds on)
Disposable Dog Boots
Dog boots can come in disposable variations. These are mostly used for wet conditions, say if your dog regularly has a dip in the river when on a walk. They’re often not quite as tough for harsh terrain, and because they can be thrown away after use they won’t need washing frequently.
Most can be used a couple of times before needing to be disposed of. They lack adjustments such as straps to tighten or any split-seam openings for extra movement.
Dog Boots In Hot Weather
As you will read below, dog boots can be great for hot weather. Warm pavements can cause your dog’s pads to burn and become sore, which could cause permanent damage.
However, your dogs do sweat from their paw pads (and nose) in order to lose body heat. This could mean that their paws get quite stuffy, they struggle to lose the heat or the boot becomes wet. Always give your dog’s paws a bit of a break and some air periodically, so they can stay cool.
Always ensure your dog’s nails are not too long which could cause them some pain when walking. When wearing boots, their claws won’t wear down naturally on rough surfaces, so you will need to trim them regularly and file any roughness.