QUICK GUIDE TO BUYING DOG SHOES
Dogs with an active lifestyle need a good pair of dog shoes to protect their paws. You wouldn’t run and hike on hard surfaces without shoes, so you can’t expect your dog to. Dog paws are soft and not designed for heavy sustained contact with concrete or asphalt, but with a good pair of dog shoes they can keep up with your active lifestyle without tearing or damaging their soft padded paws. This becomes particularly important with older dogs and breeds prone to hip problems who might need a little more support on their feet. Yes, this is a serious discussion and not something to do with dressing up pets to look like dolls.
TYPES OF DOG SHOES
Dog shoes need to be functional. They are there for protection, not aesthetic purposes. The type of shoe your dog will need depends on the function the shoe will have. No matter what type of dog shoes your dog needs, make sure they are breathable. Dogs expel heat through their paws and if their paws are unable to breathe they will become irritated and uncomfortable.
Shoes designed for active dogs or dogs with spinal and hip issues need to be tough and durable. They should be waterproof and made from a material which the dog will not be able to chew through, like nylon or another synthetic material. The soles need to be reinforced to protect against sharp objects.
There are also indoor dog shoes specifically designed to protect your floor from claws. These should be softer and breathable with a rubber sole to give your dog some purchase on wooden and tiled floors.
Some dog shoes are specifically designed to keep your dog’s feet warm in colder climates. If your dog’s feet get wet and the water freezes, that ice can cut their paws. Feels painful just to describe. These cold climate shoes should be waterproof and insulated to offer warmth. Cheaper shoes are often less durable and robust but it is worth splashing out and investing in some durable cold weather shoes with reinforced soles. Ice can get fairly sharp and the reinforced soles will offer more protection.
Getting the right size shoe is essential. If you get the size wrong you will know immediately because the shoes will fall off right away when they are too big. Too small and your dog won’t want to do anything but try and tear them off.
The easiest way to measure your dog’s feet for dog shoes is to simply draw around them on a piece of A4 paper. Get a ruler and measure the length and width of the paws. It might be worth doing this separately for the front and back paws, as there can be variance between the sizes and most manufacturers sell shoes in pairs so you can buy a different size for the front and back set of paws.
There are plenty of shoes to choose from online, but whichever shoes you choose, make sure they fit well, are breathable and fit for purpose for your dog’s lifestyle.
Can you add anything to this Quick Guide? What else is important and what else should we be thinking about with our dogs and their paws?