Maybe you baulked at the sight of a dog in booties the first time you saw it, but then it got you wondering: “Does my dog need shoes?” Are they the secret to healthy, happy paws?
In this article, we’ll talk about the potential benefits of dog shoes, whether you actually need them, and if you want to try them out, how to introduce them properly. Before you know it, your doggo might be showing off their shoes every time you or their local Dog Walker take them for a stroll.
So lace up, and let’s get started!
Does my dog need shoes? And what the heck is with this trend?
It’s never a bad idea to consider a new trend with a dose of skepticism. Are dog shoes really necessary? Or are they just another furry fashion trend?
As it turns out, there are a few benefits to fitting your furry friend with shoes! Here are some of the big ones:
- Protection from hot surfaces. Whether it’s a sun-soaked sidewalk or beautiful sandy beach, hot surfaces are a huge danger for your dog. With dog shoes, though, your pup can trot alongside you in style and comfort.
- Lower risk of injury from sharp objects. Dog shoes won’t completely remove the risk of paw injury from glass, sharp rocks, or nails, but it does give them a layer of protection. Accidents do still happen, so make sure that your pup is covered by a reliable pet insurance plan.
- Added warmth and protection in winter. Just like very hot surfaces, icy ones can burn your pup’s paw pads. Additionally, winter shoes can protect your dogs paws from ice melting salts and keep them warmer when the temperatures drop.
- Better traction on slippery surfaces. Speaking of ice, dog shoes are also great for keeping your pup from slipping and sliding. If you find that your dog is uncomfortable walking on certain surfaces, dog shoes might give them a boost of confidence.
- Comfort for injured or elderly dogs. When a doggo struggles with walking, their paws can sometimes become injured from dragging or hitting the ground. Dog shoes can be a way to keep those paws protected.
When canine footwear first hit the market a few years ago, many Dog Owners wrote them off as a silly fashion statement. But now, you’re likely to see doggy athletes, working dogs, and beloved family pets outfitted with dog shoes!
Is there a wrong way to wear dog shoes?
Totally on-board with dog shoes now that you’ve read up on some of the benefits? Not so fast! Before you buy a pair in every colour, make sure that you don’t make the following dog shoe mistakes!
- Forcing your dog to wear shoes when they really don’t want to. In the next section, we’ll talk more about how to introduce your dog to their shoes so that they actually enjoy wearing them. But, it’s important to note that some dogs will simply never come around to the idea of canine footwear. If you’ve given it a good effort, it’s okay not to hop on the dog shoe trend. Just make sure that you take other precautions to keep your dog’s paws safe.
- Buying shoes for the look rather than the practical benefits. Whether you’re looking for a harness, a doggy bed, or are considering dressing up your dog for holidays, their comfort should always rank higher than the cuteness factor. So, make sure that your dog’s shoes are the right size and style for their activities. That way, you can lower the risk of ill-fitting or uncomfortable shoes that could lead to injury and discomfort.
- Assuming that dog shoes will keep your dog cool. True, dog shoes can protect your dog from hot surfaces. But, remember also that dogs sweat from their paw pads. You certainly wouldn’t want to wear a winter beanie on a scorching day, and your pupper also might feel a bit uncomfortable wearing their dog shoes for too long when it’s warm out. One way to help keep them cool is to stick with a mesh dog shoe and consider slipping off those cute booties when your dog is lounging in the shade or taking a swim in a safe area.
And, unless you have very slippery floors inside, your pup will probably tell you that they’re happier without their shoes. Those puppy puppies need some time to breathe, and your dog likely doesn’t need the extra warmth indoors.
- Letting their shoes go unwashed. Not only do dog shoes get dirty on the outside, but they can also trap moisture inside, putting your dog at risk for yeast infections and bacterial dermatitis. If possible, stock up on a few pairs of footwear so that you can cycle them through the wash often.
- Ignoring the chafe. If you notice that your dog is experiencing some discomfort such as rubbing or chaffing, dog socks might help! And if you thought dog boots were cute, the socks are absolutely adorable.
Does my dog need shoes? Yes. But what do I do if they hate them?
If your pooch likes their shoes from day one, then congratulations! You’ve got one special pup! In most cases, dogs need some gentle encouragement to get used to wearing shoes. Here are a few suggestions to overcome the dog shoe aversion:
- Give your dog a chance to check out the shoes first. Just like with a crate, muzzle, or harness, it’s a good idea not to restrain your dog with an unknown piece of doggy equipment before they’ve had a chance to interact with and sniff it.
- Build positive associations. Your pup will be much more receptive to the idea of the shoes if they associate them with delicious treats. If your furbaby doesn’t have food aggression, you might also try putting the shoes on while they’re eating a yummy meal.
- Go slow. For most dogs, getting used to dog shoes is a matter of time. Keep giving them rewards and verbal encouragement, and only keep the shoes on for short periods to start with. If your doggo is very adamant that they don’t want to put the shoes on, you can go back to the beginning and give your pupper treats for sniffing and interacting with their shoes.
- Make sure your dog is 100% comfortable with their dog shoes before asking a Dog Sitter or Dog Walker to put them on. Dogs aren’t great at generalising and having a person outside of their trusted family group touching their paws could trigger a negative reaction. If possible, be present the first time your dedicated Dog Walker puts your dog’s shoes on, or make sure they’ve already laced up before your pup gets picked up for their walk.
Will you try shoes for your pupper?
Are you convinced of the shoes for dogs trend? Or are you on the “free the paw pad” side of the debate? Whatever your answer to “Does my dog need shoes,” we’d love to hear what you think about this growing trend!