Why would dogs ever need to wear protective dog boots?
Dog boots protects dog’s feet and their floor’s surfaces, while being warm, functional, and staying in place during wear. Dog boots that are protective of your dog’s feet from hot and cold, burs and thorns, hard and jagged terrains, hot asphalt, rain, snow, mud, ice, and all of mother nature’s attacks on tender paws and pads. Is trail running hard on a dog’s feet? Trail running is hard on everyone’s feet. Rocks, roots, mud, snow or ice can be torturous. Generally, dogs’ paws become conditioned to run on familiar surfaces after a few weeks but at the beginning of a season, new terrain and changing environmental conditions can cause stone bruising, cuts and blistered pads.
What about running on pavement in urban settings? Pavement comes in thousands of textures and can be extremely abrasive. Hot in summer, freezing in winter and often riddled with glass and sharp metal debris. Laced with oils, solvents and de-icing chemicals, this would be the last place I would let my dog walk or run without dog shoes. Does snow and/or ice pose a problem for dog’s feet? Yes, certain conditions produce sticky, wet snow. In these conditions the snow will ball up in-between the dogs toes and cause irritation, cuts and tenderness. Dogs often chew at this frozen snow, pulling out fur and in some cases chunks of their pads. Granular or frozen snow on the other hand is equivalent to course sandpaper and is extremely abrasive on pads. As more people take their dogs snowshoeing and cross-country skiing on groomed or hard-packed trails, it is especially important to protect their pads. Another hazard would be razor sharp ski and snowboard edges. I have seen several and heard of many more severely cut paws, pads and ankles from frolicking dogs that venture too close to skis and snowboards.
How much hiking or running is too much on a dog’s feet? Conditioning is key! Any amount of exercise can be too much if the dogs are not conditioned to the surfaces they are walking or running on. We suggest using protective dog booties anytime your dog is in a new environment. Dogs are accustomed to running around “bare foot” in their normal daily environment. But just as humans are susceptible to hot, cold, sharp, abrasive, or caustic surfaces, so are dogs. Be aware and you won’t have to carry a lame dog out of the backcountry.
How can you tell if a dog’s feet are sore or injured? If you are in tune with your dog’s activity level and personality, you will be able to tell that your dog may be staying off his feet or favoring a paw. Of course it is best to be attentive to the details of your dog’s actions after any sustained or excessive exercise. Look for the obvious cuts, blisters or in extreme cases a “sloughed” pad. Less noticeable will be abraded or thin pads. In this case look for small wet dots the size of a ballpoint pen or moist areas on the pads. These are areas where the pad has worn down to the capillaries. This condition is painful, as there is very little pad left on which to walk.
What are some tips for treating a dog’s bruised or cut pads? When treating a cut pad, the first step is to make certain that there are no foreign objects left in the wound. Splinters, gravel and glass are just a few things to look for. Flush the wound with the sterile eye-skin wash or use a saline solution (1-tsp. salt to a quart of warm water) and dry the paw. You may want to apply an antibiotic ointment then wrap the paw starting with a non-stick pad. A bootie will protect the dressing and keep the area clean between dressing changes. For bruised pads try to reduce activity to allow the pads to heal more rapidly. If left to their own, dogs will often regulate their activity to facilitate quicker healing. Of course the best measure is prevention. Always carry a set of dog booties so that you have the choice of putting them on your pup before the going gets tough. Part 2 – The BootsPrevent paw damage and extend your adventure with dog-specific boots.
Why would dogs ever need to wear protective boots? Humans are increasing the rate in which they incorporate pets into their activities. Thanks to dog-specific gear that allows dogs to keep up with our own gear-enhanced activities, man’s best friend can now accompany us on our adventures. Pets are exposed to situations and conditions that they may not confront on a daily basis. These new ever-changing environmental conditions can cause pads, which are perfectly conditioned for one environment, to become blistered and cut in the new environment. Critters that are adapted to mountainous regions often suffer paw lacerations when asked to perform in lower elevations. Conversely, the lower elevation dwelling dogs will often have difficulty in mountainous and snow environments. Hot asphalt, decomposing granite, shale, lava, scree, chemicals (snow-melters), abrasive sand, grain stubble, ice and snow are just a few of the conditions that can keep your dog out of action for several days.
How do you get a dog used to new dog booties? For most dogs, footwear is a new concept. The first time your dog tries on a pair of Dog Shoes, it will be difficult not to laugh, as the dog will do a little dance, this is normal. Once you have the booties in place go out and engage in your pup’s favorite activity: chasing a ball, catching a flying disk or just running. After about 15 minutes double-check the closure on the boots and adjust. This is considered the “break in” period where the upper softens and conforms to the dog’s paws. After the break in period you and your buddy are ready to explore. Use common sense and allow some time for your dog to become accustomed to the booties on daily walks. Just as you would never go out on a big hike with new hiking boots, start off on easy hikes and work into the big ones with your dog’s new footwear.