- This post contains affiliate links. Read more here.
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 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.
For the cost-conscious dog owner, the PAWZ water-proof dog boots look like a water balloon but work like a dream. The rubber boots are paw protectors that function like dog rain boots to keep the dog’s foot dry and safe in inclement weather. They’re superior to ordinary water-resistant dog boots when you expect a real soaking. Pawz are made in the USA and come in the biggest variety of colors; not only are they waterproof, but their simple design makes them very easy to slip on and go.
That said, PAWZ boots don’t provide any real traction or support—so they’re not the best option for hiking.
The Grip Trex booties by Ruffwear are a good option for nature adventures. 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.
Prior to a hiking trip, give your pet a chance to wear dog boots daily for short periods of time, which will allow them to break in comfortably.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.