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If you thought dog boots were all fashion and zero function, think again. Keeping your dog’s paw pads safe when you venture out is well worth it. These dog shoes provide all sorts of protection for all four of your dog’s paws, whether you’re braving the hot pavement, taking a bathroom break during those cold winter months, or trying to keep tongues away from a wound.
Do dogs really need boots? For most dogs in mild or temperate conditions, wandering around in bare feet (er, paws) is perfectly fine. But if your best friend is going to be going on walks in very hot or very cold weather, or accompanying you across rocky terrain, a good pair of dog shoes goes a long way.
What’s more, dog shoes can help older dogs get around. That’s because they help to prevent “toe curling,” or “toe dragging,” which can occur due to a variety of reasons including arthritis, spinal disease, and generalized weakness (source).
Best dog boots for winter, summer, spring, or fall
Don’t know where to start? Never fear! We rounded up the best dog boots that’ll have your friend strutting in comfort and style. We’ve also got tips to help pet owners select the right fit and function.
Finding dog boots that stay on
There are multiple styles of booties designed to best fit your dog’s needs. For many dog owners, finding dog boots that stay on can be a real challenge. The key is finding a bootie that is flexible enough to feel comfortable, but still allows durability and support for, say, a hard-hitting hike through rocky terrain—or just a jaunt across hardwood floors.
Whether you’ve got a large dog or a petite pupper, the best dog booties share these qualities:
- Snug around the ankle
- Have a bit of space at the toes
- Allow some wiggle room, but still offer support
- Have an anti-slip sole
Dog boots come in different sizes. Some companies measure shoe size by weight, while others base their sizing on the length from the heel of the pad to the tip of the toenail. It’ll take a couple of tries for your dog to feel comfortable wearing booties, but if the shoe fits, most dogs learn to tolerate (and even enjoy) the sensation.
Pawz: an everyday dog boot (Verified Review)
Pawz is an affordable, everyday option. Their 100-percent biodegradable natural rubber dog boots retail around $15—so if you lose a shoe, it won’t make a major dent in your wallet. Couple that with the fact that Pawz have minimal padding for a natural sock-like fit, and they’re some of the best everyday dog boots.
Our tester found that the sock-like fit was less bulky on her dog’s paws and therefore easier for her dog to wear and tolerate. Dog owners know this is key for dog boots, as an ill-fitting or uncomfortable set will make your dog miserable and have you picking up and putting back on far-flung boots and booties in wet and inclement (or even downright hot) weather, which is no fun for anyone.
Unlike some heavy-duty dog boots with complicated straps and buckles, these balloon-like paw protectors stayed put thanks to a snug and secure fit around the ankle (note: both our tester and the manufacturer emphasize these boots are not for prolonged use, as the fit around the ankle can become restrictive).
Another benefit is an affordable price tag; for the cost-conscious dog owner, Pawz water-proof dog boots are a great option. Offered in reusable sets of 12, our tester found she could use the same set over and over again before the boots wore out, and that the simple rubber design is easy to clean and get dry, for easy on and off throughout the day. Made in the USA, Pawz also come in a large variety of colors.
That said, Pawz boots don’t provide any real traction or support—so they’re not the best option for hiking. But, when it comes to dog boots that provide basic protection from the elements, you need something that goes on and stays on, and these booties deliver.Buy Now on Amazon
Ruffwear Grip Trex Booties (Verified Review)
The Grip Trex booties by Ruffwear are a good option for nature adventures. Our reviewer noted that the material was durable and nice to touch. Ruffwear Grip Trex boast adjustable, reflective velcro straps and breathable mesh uppers that make this a comfortable boot for short periods or a long time. The sturdy sole provides proper protection from all terrains. style=”font-size: xx-small;”>
Our reviewer observed that though the boots themselves are of high quality, getting the right fit was tricky, as the boots tended to slide down in spite of being fastened on the ankles with the velcro straps. Users will want to do a few home fittings to make sure to get the proper fit, and prior to a hiking trip, as you would with your new hiking boots, give your pet a chance to wear dog boots daily for short periods of time, which will allow them to break in comfortably.Buy Now on Amazon
What about cold weather dog boots? If you’re pulling out your snowshoes, it’s safe to say your dog probably needs some sturdy winter dog boots too. Enter Ultra Paws Durable Dog Boots, which are made with element-resistant material that’s just tacky enough to keep the boots from sliding on slippery floors or ice, while protecting sensitive pads.
With Velcro closure straps that ensure a perfectly snug fit and extra cushioning, these winter boots provide cold paws some extra warmth.Buy Now on Amazon
These tough, anti-slip paw protectors are good for a variety of conditions, from rain and snow to the oppressive summer heat that can boil pavement and damage sensitive paw pads. The shoes’ high-quality fabrics are sewn together (as opposed to glued) for longer-lasting wear, and features a wide, adjustable paw opening for a custom fit.Buy Now on Amazon
Muttluks dog boots, designed and made in Canada, are a well-respected option that’s been on the market for over two decades. An earth-friendly 100% recycled rubber sole makes for durable wear, and a fleece lining keeps paws toasty in cold conditions.Buy Now on Amazon
Power Paws are essentially dog socks, and are easier for some dogs to tolerate than dog boots, thanks to their lightweight feel. If Fido is getting on in years, non-slip dog socks can help them navigate hardwood floors and other troublesome surfaces.Buy Now on Amazon
No shoes? No problem
Some dogs aren’t huge fans of booties but still need protection from deep snow in the winter season, which is where the paw protection of Musher’s Secret comes in.
Originally developed for sled dogs, Musher’s Secret is a non-toxic natural wax that rubs right onto the pads of your dog’s feet to create a barrier from harsh conditions. The wax absorbs quickly and is semi-permeable, so your dog’s paws will be able to breathe (and sweat!) while still being protected.
Plus, this natural concoction only needs to be applied once or twice a week. And as a bonus? This wax doubles as a moisturizer and helps heal wounds. It won’t stain surfaces when your dog is simply walking around the house, either. Musher’s Secret is an Amazon bestseller for good reason.
If you like the idea of a wax to protect paws, Four Paws also makes a simpler, but very affordable version.Buy Musher's Secret on Amazon Buy Four Paws on Amazon
More tips for a good dog paws protector
Keep in mind that water-resistant dog shoes are not the same as waterproof dog shoes, which will provide much greater protection if you’re planning to walk in standing water, creeks, or lots of soft, wet snow.
When buying puppy dog boots, stick to more affordable options, as your puppy is sure to grow out of his or her initial pair.
It’s bootie time.
- The Best Dog Snow Boots for 2019
- The Best Dog Hiking Boots for All Breeds and Sizes
- Foolproof Tips for Hiking with Dogs