How to Put Your Dog’s Boots On

Posted by Raja on February 12th, 2013 — Posted in Gear

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“When you see someone putting on his Big Boots, you can be pretty sure that an Adventure is going to happen.”

- A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

That’s right right- when dogs go out and about, boots mean adventure, whether it’s galavanting on the cross country slopes or trotting in the urban slush.  Some may say, “Dogs don’t need boots.”  Oh, but they do… crossing the finish line at the famous Alaskan sled dog race the Iditarod, as well as transporting supplies for scientists and explorers in the Arctic, dogs wear boots.  Your dog, stepping out on a blustery day in January on icy cold slushy streets, deserves boots too.

Look at it this way… human beings don’t need boots either.  Cave people didn’t have boots.  (Of course, their average life spans were perhaps 16 years.)  But, as we human beings have learned, anything that keeps us comfortable makes our lives longer and better.  Ditto the dogs.

Boots prevent cracking in the callouses of the pads and keep the feet clean.  While boots in summer can make a dog too hot, boots in winter make for happy little feet.

Now, maybe you are thinking you don’t know how to get boots on a dog.  He’s not jut going to step in on his own.  Or, perhaps you are thinking fatalistically, that your dog’s unlikely to like boots.  In this case, boots are like kale: how do you know you won’t like it until you try?

Rubber Boots are led in the industry by the Paws brand (don’t be suspicious,we cannot be bought).  Paws are the hardest to get on, but the easiest
for dogs to adapt to. Here’s how to do it:

  • Sit your dog on your lap, back to your chest and wiggle the boots on in exactly the same way as you would put socks on a toddler.  There will be  squirming.  There will be floppy feet and limp ankles. Don’t give up.  If you can put socks on a child, you can put boots on a dog.
  • Make sure you work the claws all the way forward into the toe and make sure you have not rammed a toe in at a peculiar angle (same as for a todder).
  • Make sure the boot covers the bottom pad of the foot and doesn’t just cling to the toes.
  • Now is the moment of truth… put your dog down outside, give him a treat and watch him trot. If he walks “funny” at first, do not indulge him.  Walk on and say something like, “You can really chase squirrels in those shoes, Fluffy.”  Paws boots have a high success rate.

Hard soled boots are led in the industry by the Uggs-style faux suede boots with fleece trim, velcro fasteners and awesome ridged  rocker
soles.  These seemingly clumsy boots are fantastic for protecting the pads and they actually work.

  • Sit your dog on your lap, toddler style.  If your dog is very furry, try to get the paw in the boot without unzipping, since zippling is hard with fur in the way.
  • Work your dog’s foot into the forefront of the boot and make sure gently to lower the leg into the boot cuff so the pad is flat on the shoe floor.  (This is hard the first time, but easy by the third time.)
  • Now tighten the velcro ankle straps very firmly.  Take advantage of the narrow part of the lower leg between the hock and the knee.
  • Similarly, carry your dog outside, offer an irresistable treat and see what happens.  Trust us- that awkward walk will transform into a comfortable rolling gait as your dog learns to roll the rocker sole along.

I will leave choosing the size to you and the website directions.  And I will leave it to your discression whether to buy one or two sets.  Sometimes you can lose one shoe, although if the boots are on correctly, they will stay put.  Raja has many sets of Paws and one set of Ugg-Style boots and he and his happy little feet are doing fine.

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