Does my dog need boots?

I hope this is the right forum for this problem. Seems like a general question to me, but I guess it might be considered mundane…? you decide.

Anyway, here’s the thing. I take my dog for a walk twice a day. A mile in the morning, a mile in the evening, minimum. But we live in northeast Ohio and it gets pretty damn cold here. So we have to deal with cold, wind chill, sleet, snow, hail, ice, slush and worst of all, salt.

But Markie loves his walks. He’s a mutt, a boston terrier, pit mix - not a cold weather breed. Of course he doesn’t care, he’s a little bruiser so he’s willing to suffer a little from the weather just to get in his daily check of all the scents and sights and sounds along his route. He’s willing to walk in a blizzard and for that matter, so am I.

But…when I walk, I’m bundled up in coat, gloves, scarf, moon boots and I’m as warm as I can be. He’s naked and he’s a short coated dog. So I worry for him a bit. I don’t think the cold bothers him so much, he starts out shivering sometimes, but soon his activity level warms him up. But it’s different for his little feet and there have already been a couple of times this year where he has pulled up lame halfway through our mile walk. The lameness doesn’t last, so I think that maybe he’s just getting ice balls between his little toes, but it does cramp our style and makes the walks less fun for both of us. He’s not a big dog, less than 30 lbs, but too big for me to have to carry him even if he’s in pain.

So I’ve thought of getting him the kind of dog boots that mushers use on their sled dogs. It would protect his feet from the ice and the salt and it would seem that this could solve our problem.

But he’s not a puppy. He’s only three, but dog-wise, that’s old enough to be set in his ways and a little leery of new things. I’m not sure he would be willing to accept the whole ‘dog boot’ thing. I’m unemployed and incomeless right now so I can’t afford to spend money on something that the damn dog (bless his little heart!) is going to refuse to tolerate.

So I’m conflicted. Should I invest in dog boots for him and hope for the best? I guess that I can return them if he refuses to accept them…? Is there a way to train him so that he’ll accept them???

To be honest, although I’m familiar with the concept, I’ve never actually known anyone who has put boots on their dog during the winter. So I have no one to ask, except you guys. What’s your dog boot experience?
Good idea? Worth it? (are they expensive? I haven’t even checked yet…)

I want to keep walking my dog regardless of the weather, but I don’t want him to have to suffer for it.

IME, it’s the salt that irritates the paws. My puppy is fine in the fenced yard and on pedestrian trails, but if we walk on salted roads he holds his paws up or limps. My solution is to avoid salt.

We bought boots for one of our former dogs and ended up returning them as he hated them and it was a hassle to get on and they really didn’t fit right. If you do buy them make sure you can return them. I’ve seen some that had “no returns” printed right on the package. I guess they’re like shoes in that regard.

hmmm…well, there’s no way to avoid the salt, we don’t have sidewalks on our route.
So far this year, I haven’t noticed any salt being used on the roads so I think his lameness has been from the cold and ice. But you’re right about the salt being potentially a major issue.

See, this is exactly why I hesitated - I can totally see the possibility of trying to put boots on my dog and having him look at me, like, ‘what, are you deranged? I’m not wearing this crap!’ …or something to that effect.

I didn’t know that they might have a ‘no return’ policy. That’s a big deal for me, given that I have no money to spare at this time. Heavy sigh… :frowning:

go to YouTube and type “dog boots” in the search spot. The videos will make you laugh.

That said, they say that dogs get used to wearing them after a while.

Petsmart has a VERY liberal return policy. Even if the dog wore the boots, they would take them back. I remember some sort of ointment or something similar, I think called “mushers aid” or something similar. It was a thick slave that you rubbed onto the bottom of the dogs feet, tp protect them. Check out and look under paw care.

My golden never got used to boots (I live in NE Ohio too) but she is absolutely fine with Musher’s Secret wax. Basically Vasaline for doggy’s paws, without the comical effect of boots.

omigod, those videos are hysterical! :smiley: I can totally see my dog acting that way, too.
I don’t know if he’d be able to get used to it before his little dog psyche is scarred for life!
And it’s going to defeat the whole purpose of making our walks more pleasant if he hates the dang boots! Worse yet, he’ll probably just lose them along the way or chew 'em to shreds - and then I would be very unhappy…

maybe i’ll just duct tape his feet for the winter… :stuck_out_tongue:

now, that looks like it might be worth a try - thanks for the suggestion!

It’s definately the salt that bugs the dogs, I will watch my neighbor’s dogs sometimes and if I take them for a walk, they don’t usually mind, but I make sure that when I get them home I wash their feet off.

They seem fine with that. They will not tolerate any sort of covering on their feet.

I don’t think the age of the dog is a huge problem. I got a 5-year-old Ibizan to wear them. To put the boot on, slip the boot onto the dog’s left front foot. Pick up the dog’s right front foot so all the weight is on the foot with the boot on. That helps get the boot seated correctly on the foot. Then you can cinch the velcro. Repeat with all feet.

I live in Michigan and walk my beagles every single day. We walk in a park and wade through snow when we have to. we have never had a physical problem.

Dogs need boots to protecting their feet. Many dogs have boots that is good and beneficial to the feet. I am looking for a pair of cheap shoes for my Pekingese, who hates walking in the thick snow and ice.

Our two Siberian Huskies have boots for the cold—and the heat! When we walk on asphalt in the summer, their poor little pads get very uncomfortable. The boots allow them to walk at Farmers’ Markets, Art Fairs and many other venues which would be off-limits otherwise. I think they are a godsend!

I had a 110-lb golden retriever-chow mix that I got boots for when we lived in Colorado. She was a very gentle and docile dog who tolerated anything. To get the boots on her, first I would lift her front feet and put a pair on those. Then I made her lie down and roll on her side to get the other pair on her back feet. The first time, she stood up and had a “what the crap?” look on her face and walked around as if she weren’t sure her feet were on solid ground, but got used to them quickly and never fought having them put on. Later, we moved to Arizona, and I kept her boots for walking in the summer, so she didn’t have to put her feet directly on the hot ground.

Do you then wash it off when you get home? You wouldn’t want the dogs licking their feet and getting it into them. Could cause intestinal distress, to say nothing of interesting poopage.

Well it’s food-grade wax so it’s non-toxic. But it’s pretty much gone after a walk. I’ve never seen either of the dogs lick their feet afterwards.

I don’t advise putting it on paws in the house, unless you’re on some sort of mat or have dark carpet. My folks made the mistake of putting it on two walk-excited dogs who ran around the house with it on their feet, and ended up with waxy paw prints all over their gray carpet :slight_smile:

Obligatory Fran Lebowitz reference.

My neighbor had a white toy poodle she took for walks every day. That dog was the toughest animal (she once got out onto the deck on night and bit a possum out there on the neck). She loved her walks and would trot trot trot down the streets day or night, rain or shine, snow, wind, you name it like a storm trooper. My neighbor bought her boots, of course, two kinds, and the dog kicked them off within seconds. She did manage to wrangle her (the dog) into a series of designer doggie coats. So, the point is, dogs do not necessarily like wearing boots, but they do like road salt washed off their paws,

Good advice so far.

Lily, if you decide you want to go with boots after all but can’t afford them, can you, a family member or a friend sew them yourselves? I’m sure there are patterns out there. Might be a lot cheaper than buying 'em off the shelf.