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The sun is beaming down on us, heating the ground below. I bend down and place my palm on the rocky surface of our hiking path but quickly regret the decision. I knew it would be hot, but wearing my thick rubber-soled sneakers, it’s easy to forget just how uncomfortable the summer sun can make the ground to bare skin.
I glance over at my dog standing next to me. JoJo’s four paws may have rough and hardened pads that protect him from any injury in his day-to-day life, but they are no match for the extreme conditions created by the sun beating down relentlessly on the desert ground during long summer days.
This is exactly why he’s wearing dog hiking boots right now to protect his feet from nasty burns that can lead to extreme discomfort, blisters, and even peeling pads. I bend down again—this time to double check that the velcro straps on his dog boots are all tightly secured—and we head off together on our sunset hike in Papago Park.
The general rule of thumb is that if you can’t walk on a particular surface barefoot, neither can your dog. This goes for hot, cold, and icy conditions across a number of surfaces, including sand, concrete, wood, and rock. Fitting your dog with the right set of dog shoes means you can enjoy your favorite activities together no matter what time of year.
The benefits of finding the right pair of dog boots are numerous. They not only prevent pad burns during hot weather hiking with your dog, but they can also ensure your pet’s feet are protected from icy roads during freezing temperatures and stop him from slipping on slick wet surfaces.
To find the right dog boots that will stand up to the task of protecting your pet’s feet, selecting the correct size and type of shoe is essential. Each manufacturer may follow a different size chart, so properly measuring your pet’s paws according to their instructions is important. Similarly, confirming the dog boots’ design and material work best for your particular activity, such as hiking in the desert or walking in areas where painful thistles are prevalent, guarantees your hike won’t be cut short.
Below are some of the best dog hiking boots for dogs of all sizes.
Best Anti-slip Dog Boots for Large Dogs: QUMY Waterproof Shoes
These waterproof and slip-resistant dog boots are ideal for your large dog to wear on your daily walks or during harsh seasonal weather conditions. Two velcro straps per boot provide support to keep it in place on your pet’s foot, and also serve as a nighttime reflective safety feature for your dog. The grippy rubber soles provide traction on a number of surfaces, including wet pavement and desert rock, and the largest size (size 8) is recommended for dogs up to an estimated 88 lbs., though exact sizing is determined by your dog’s paw length and width.
Satisfied dog owner review: “I am very pleased with the dog boots which fit my 70 lb. Standard Poodle perfectly… The boots stay on well with no shifting as the double velcro straps keep them in place. The sole is sturdy, with good traction, so not only does my boy have great protection from the hot pavement, but he is able to jump into the car and do all his normal activities without difficulty. We live in the Sonoran desert and I am relieved to know that he is now well protected, not only from the burning summer pavement, but from stickers, burrs and bits of cacti in the desert when we go hiking.”
Buy these large dog boots on Amazon
Best Protective Shoes for Pokies: My Busy Dog Rugged Dog Shoes
Many dog shoes are good at protecting your pet’s paws from exposure to hot and cold surfaces, but these My Busy Dog rugged dog boots are also great at protecting your dog’s paws and lower legs from coming into contact with painful pine needles, spines, and thistles on the ground and in the grass. The thick rubber sole and sturdy fabric of this shoe prevent objects from piercing your dog’s tender pads while on a walk or longer hike.
Satisfied dog owner review: “I got these shoes because we have an abundance of sandburs in our yard this year. The hateful sandburs will stick to just about everything, whether it’s bare skin, fur, paw pads, toes, clothing, etc. And they sure hurt! They’re so bad that my poor bullmastiff literally does not want to go outside, not even to go to the bathroom. I was really hoping the rubber on these shoes would be thick enough to withstand the sharp sandbur barbs, and it is!”
Buy these dog boots for your medium dog on Amazon
Best All-Terrain Dog Boots According to Pros: Ruffwear Grip Trex All-Terrain Paw
Ruffwear are an industry-leading maker of dog hiking boots that are worn by working dogs, such as police K9 units and service dogs. These animals are often on their feet all day across a variety of terrains and surfaces, including hot asphalt outdoors and slippery linoleum floors in grocery stores. Ruffwear boots provide your dog with ongoing grip and support. In order to best address an individual dog’s shoe needs, these boots are sold in pairs of two and four, and though they are on the top end of the price range for dog shoes, owners swear by the high quality and comfort that they provide their pets on a daily basis.
Satisfied dog owner review: “Wonderful Boots, for my Service Dog in training. We live in TX and paw pad protection on concrete or asphalt is essential in our heat. Also good in stickers, rain, mud, and the occasional snow. He prances when he wears them and with the tire treads on the bottom he discovered he can run in them much faster. Now instead of people stopping in their tracks to admire his looks, they shout out, ‘Look At Those Shoes!’ I have guided many people to look up Ruff Wear on Amazon.”
Find these hiking boots for your medium-sized dog on Amazon
Best Cold Weather Dog Boots for Small Dogs: Muttluks Fleece-lined Dog Boots
These fleece-lined cold weather dog boots are manufactured in Canada and are great for use in wintery conditions featuring snow, ice, and slush on the roads. This boot’s soft interior lining keeps your pet’s paw warm while the exterior of the boot keeps moisture out. The leather soles provide grip on slippery surfaces, and the extended leg cuffs provide additional protection from the elements to your dog’s feet and legs during your winter outings.
Satisfied dog owner review: “Bought these for our Jack Russell mixed terrier for harsh winter conditions to protect her paws. They work great to protect her from ice buildup between pads, sharp road ice, and salt & chemicals. It was hilarious the first time I put them on as it took her a few minutes to realize she could actually walk in them. Once outside it was like she had always had them, running without a problem.”
Buy these winter boots for your small dog on Amazon
Now that you have the right pair of dog hiking boots for your next adventure, check out this article about successfully hiking with dogs for more tips.