While researching dog boots, we dug into the factors that are essential for finding the perfect pair. We were looking for common issues, customer favorites, and markers for quality. In the end, this is the criteria we created to assess the boots.
Fit / Design
If you’ve ever tried putting a boot on a dog before, you know that it’s not always easy. That’s why we prioritized how the boots are designed to fit over your dog’s paws, as well as how they stay secured in place. Most boot use a velcro strap, but sometimes there are additional features that assist you.
Quality, durability, and water resistant is largely determined by the materials used. For this category, we’re looking at what the boots are physically constructed out of, how tough those materials are, and how effective they are at keeping out the elements. It’s important to note that water-resistant and waterproof are not the same, so keep an eye out if this is important to you.
This is perhaps the “sole” reason you’re looking into dog boots. Jokes aside, the sole (or lack thereof) gives your dog the ability to keep up on long runs, find grips on hikes, and stay dry in inclement weather. Different soles prioritize different activities, so it’s important to consider what you’re getting these boots for.
While this category seems fairly straightforward, it’s not one to be neglected. Here, we’re looking specifically at how wide the boots are in inches, as well as how many size options the boots come in. More times than not, the manufacturer will have you only measure the width of your dog’s paws to determine which size to go with. Some designs only come in one size, so be mindful to check the fit.
When Dog Boots Are Necessary
You may have seen the silly videos of dogs clomping around awkwardly in their brand-new boots. Perhaps surprisingly, dog boots do have more uses than just going viral for laughs.
In extreme conditions of every kind–from sizzling pavement to rugged hiking trails, snowy streets to shallow streams–it’s important to keep your dog’s paws insulated and protected.
A good rule of thumb to determine if boots are needed is to press your hand against the ground. If you would be comfortable staying in that position, then your dog should be fine. If not, then strongly consider a protective barrier for your dog, or sticking to the grass.
If you live in a city or suburb, there is one big factor you should consider before taking your dog for a walk in wintry weather: snow-melting chemicals. The salt (and even some non-toxic alternatives) can literally burn your dog’s paws and leave them with sores. Additionally, ice can get in-between their pads and cause pain.
Hikes / Long-Distance Runs
Yes, it’s true–dogs are descended from wolves and were once able to froclick freely throughout the woods. But just like how humans now need gear to safely climb trees, dogs need gear to stay safe on rocky surfaces or during repetitive impacts (like long-distance runs). In both cases, boots can give your pup a stronger grip while protecting them from sharp objects.
It happens to us all. When pups get older, walking can become more difficult. Some dogs benefit from having boots to give them some extra traction. As always, ask your veterinarian if this may be the right option for your particular situation.
Finding the Perfect Fit and Size
Just like with any gear for your dog, it’s important to measure carefully in order to get a safe, secure, and comfortable fit. Nearly every boot manufacturer has their own sizing system, so read the size information carefully before ordering.
In order to measure your dog’s paw width, you can either use soft-tape or a piece of string and a ruler. Just wrap the soft tape or string around the center of your dog’s paw (around the base of the pad). Typically, size charts will come with detailed instructions as well.
As a final note, don’t forget to double-check if the boot you’re ordering has other measurements to consider as well. For some more unique or elaborate designs, you may need to look at paw length, too.
No Snakes In These Boots
Having a good set of boots for your dog can go a long way for preventing injuries on walks, no matter the weather or terrain. With a solid, comfortable fit, you and your pup can enjoy whatever elements nature throws at you!
We hope this guide has helped you to make sense of the many dog boot options on the market. Please let us know which ones you picked and what you think!