Does my dog really need winter boots? That’s a question I hear people ask, sometimes rhetorically. My answer is … I don’t know about your dog, but my mutt sure does.
Victor, a crazy black terrier cross, and I live in Southern Ontario, Canada, and we get cold crazy winters. One day a blanket of snow falls; one day the temperature drops well below freezing. Another day, it warms up and all the snow melts. The next day all the water freezes.
Then the city dumps tonnes of salt on the roads. Tonnes.
If you haven’t seen a dog walk over pellets of road salt, it’s a bit like watching dogs wearing boots for the first time (see video below) – only they hold one foot up for a long time and try and walk on three legs. Two weeks ago, I watched my neighbour carry her little Cockapoo home because he couldn’t stand walking in the ice/salt.
It’s also cold sometimes. Really cold. And this isn’t even the coldest part of our country.
My dog hates stepping on road salt and hates the ice clumps that form on his toe fur. Both are hard to walk on. One even dries out and sometimes burns pads over time. Therefore, he needs paw protection of some kind.
During the winter holidays, Victor and I checked out four Ontario outdoor light shows – Simcoe, Brantford, Burlington and Niagara Falls – at the peak of bone chill temperature. While there, we test drove different paw protection.
Here’s the result:
About three years ago, I bought a stick of 100% All Natural Invisible Boots for Pets. It’s been one of the easiest ways to protect Victor’s paw pads from winter road salt. Maybe the stick lasted too long, because it looks like the company is no longer in business.
However, there are other brands of protective dog paw wax out there including Mushers Secret. It works on the same principle – provide a barrier between skin and outdoor elements. It’s my experience, though, any wax wears off in about 30 minutes and needs to be re-applied before most of our winter outings are over. Fortunately, it’s very portable.
Wax, however, doesn’t keep precious paws warm or dry. For that, I’m searching for dog boots.
Front Zipper Booties
I’m having a hard time finding booties that I can pull over Victor’s Cocker Spaniel-like paddle paws, but aren’t so big they fall off. Then I discovered zippered ones from Pet Leso on Amazon. Bingo.
Or so I thought. First, dog paws don’t work like people feet and dogs don’t ‘step’ into shoes without a lot of wrestling (or at least my strong-willed Victor doesn’t). Second, when I did get these strapped on tight, really tight, Victor walked around the house and kick them across the room. They’d be no match for snow.
Fortunately, Amazon makes returns easy so back to the fulfillment centre they went.
Pull on Dog Booties
When we headed to our second Holiday lights adventure last month, Victor sported a cute quad of Top Paw black reflective quilted booties we picked up on sale last year. With fake fur lining and rubber soles, they look like the canine galoshes he needs.
Despite being difficult to pull on, he was willing to walk in them – without goose-stepping around for long – but as he ran, they gradually slid down. I had to pull them back on a few times and we ended up jumping into the car with only three. I liked the reflective Velcro straps, though.
Pawz Rubber Paw Protector
So far our winner is …Pawz protectors. And they’re the weirdest looking of the options we tried. Fortunately, Victor doesn’t own a mirror.
Pawz are balloon–like rubber paw protectors that stretch a bit so they are easier to pull on Victor’s feet, and they stay on when I get them in place. The rubber keeps the salt away from paw pads and prevents ice balls from forming on his toe fur. (Yuk).
Pawz are not insulted like boots, so provide little warmth. But they can be use on hot sidewalks in the summer. One pair lasted us about six outings. There’s 12 per pack because they’re intended to be disposable.
Victor did send a few weird kicks in the air with Pawz first on – but let’s call that part of the dog bootie ritual. And yes, it’s ok to laugh.
Lighten your day… and check out some other doggos getting their bootie groove on: