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How to choose and use dog booties

Dog booties are socks or shoes for dogs used to protect their paws against everything from hot pavement, rough surfaces and glass in summer, to snow, salt and freezing temperatures in winter.

There are dog booties developed specifically for different purposes and conditions. In this guide we will go through different types of dog booties, how to use them, as well as how to measure and fit them.

Should dogs wear booties?

Dogs depend on their paws, so taking good care of them is essential. Some dogs are more prone to sore paws and injuries than others. By using booties, these dogs can still live an active and happy life. Certain conditions require any dog to use dog booties.

Every summer we see images of dogs with burnt and blistered paws after walking on warm asphalt. These injuries are painful and take a long time to heal properly. If you have to take your dog out on a warm day, it is recommended that you use booties to protect their paws. Even a trip to the beach might require booties, as the sand can get very hot!

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Our Protector booties with an outer layer of nitrile rubber are excellent for this purposeThese dog booties have been tested to the limit by search and rescue dogs in extreme conditionsamong others after the terrible blast in Lebanon in August 2020. Our team members Vaclav Vancura and Bella worked on surfaces reaching 50°C/122° Fahrenheit. Without dog bootiesthis would have been impossible.

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Glass and other sharp objects can also damage your dog’s paws severely. The Protector booties are rated with cut level 5 and puncture resistance, meaning they are extremely durable and protective.

Dog booties can also be used for traction on slippery surfaces. The Protector booties are non-slip thanks to the rugged nitrile rubber surface.

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For training or hiking on rough surfaces, dog booties will help prevent your dog's paws from getting sore. For dryland sports like bikjoring or canicross, the Solid socks are a popular choice as they are soft, yet durable. The Protector booties are also suitable for these activities and conditions.

Snow is a softer surface, meaning the dog booties for winter can be thinner. Sled dog booties, such as the Long distance booties, are lightweight and comfortable, providing good grip and contact with the ground.

Mushing

Why do dogs need booties in the snow? Dog booties will help protect the paws from chunks of snow and ice as well as frost bite. The surface of the snow can also wear and tear on your dog’s pads, especially if traveling over longer distances when skiing or mushing. It is actually mandatory to carry at least eight dog booties for each dog in the team at races like the Iditarod! The use of dog booties is more for function than fashion – at least it should be!

In urban areas and on roads, salt used to melt ice can create an acid that harms your dog’s paw pads. The Protector booties are water-resistant and an excellent choice to protect your dog’s pads against salt.

Dog Bootie Guide Web

When choosing the best dog booties for your dog, consider which activities you are doing together and under which conditions. If you need help, don't hesitate to contact our customer service team.

How do I measure my dog’s paws for booties?

When wearing dog booties, your dog should have enough room for the paw and toes to expand and move naturally. That is why measuring the paw width is essential. You can measure over the paw at its widest point as shown in the video below, or measure under the paw and add approximately one centimeter for a medium sized dog:

The size finder on each product’s page will help you find the right size based on your dog's measurements.

How to fit dog booties?

As mentioned above, your dog should have room for the paw to expand and move naturally.

Your dog’s booties should be high enough for the dew claw to be covered.

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How to put on dog booties?

To put on your dog’s booties you can stand over your dog with your dog between your legs, then lift one paw at a time. This position allows you to maintain control while simultaneously helping your dog balance when lifting each paw.

Lena Boysen Hillestad, World champion in sled 4-dog, pulka, skijoring, and dryland, recommends  that you brush away snow or dirt before putting the bootie on.

How do I get my dog’s booties to stay on?

Our dog booties are fastened with an elastic hook and loop fastener strap, which makes them sit well on the paws and prevents the booties from falling off.

- Tighten the velcro well. If you are going for a short training session, a maximum of two hours, the booties should sit very tight. Then, I rarely lose any. If you are doing long-distance mushing or trekking for many hours, you should not tighten the booties as much. That can cause swelling. 

Lena usually holds the bootie in place with one finger, then tightens the strap over her finger.

- This way I make sure it does not get too tight.

When having a longer break, or when you’re done training, take the booties off. Your dog’s paws can get swollen if they lie down wearing tightened booties for an extended period of time.

How do I make the dog booties last longer?

Dog booties will get worn. Type of running surface, the length of your dog’s nails and material are factors that determine how long the booties will last. In general, you can’t expect a set of dog booties to last very long. The most durable dog booties are the Protector booties.

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To make your dog’s booties last as long as possible, Lena recommends you to turn them around when you have completed half of your training session.

- When training on rough and bad surfaces, it wears on the socks and can lead to holes under your dog's paw. That is not a problem if you flip the booties over. It does not matter if there is a tiny hole on the upper side. With this trick, you can use the booties for double the distance.

When to use dog booties?

Dog booties can be used both to prevent injuries, and to protect the paw if an injury has already occurred.

- I especially use booties if the snow is soft and my dogs tends to step through the surface. The paws can get cracks between the toes and pads under these conditions. I also use dog booties when it is icy, as the surface can be very sharp for the paws.

You should always bring a set of booties with you in case a paw injury occurs. Listen to this podcast episode with veterinarian Trude Mostue to learn more about how to treat paw injuries.

Do dogs like booties?

Every new piece of equipment takes some getting used to. Most dogs will look very funny when wearing dog booties for the first time, but they tend to forget it as soon as you get moving!

If you reward your dog and encourage them to move, and they will most likely forget that they are wearing booties within a few minutes. Start with a short amount of time, and increase gradually. If you combine wearing booties for the first time with playing or having fun together on a walk, your dog will most likely associate them with something positive.

Can all dog booties be used on all surfaces?

Dog booties for dryland use can usually be used on snow too, depending on the conditions. However, you have to make sure they provide good enough grip and contact with the surface for your dog. If your dog is sliding, you should change to other booties.

If you use dog booties developed for snow on gravel or other rough surfaces they will wear out very quickly.

Why choose Non-stop dogwear?

We have been developing gear for active dogs and their humans since 2009. As dogsport athletes, making ergonomic, innovative and functional equipment is essential.

We team up with athletes and professionals to test each product to the limit under the most extreme conditions for your safety and comfort. We believe that all dogs deserve the best, no matter if they are a family dog or a world champion in their sport. Our passion is to facilitate and encourage an active lifestyle for dogs and their owners.

Our product developers carefully select durable, functional and environmentally friendly materials. We are the world’s first pet brand to become bluesign® system partners to ensure that our dog gear meets the highest standards possible.

We focus on making long lasting products. To reach this goal, many factors play an important role in a product's life cycle. We are proud to know that some of our athletes have been using the same harness for nearly a decade! That is possible due to our high quality and functionality standards but also because we provide replaceable parts like side straps and clips. If you choose to upgrade to a newer version of the product, give your old harness a new life with a different owner so that it gets many more years of use. We also gather up used gear and provide it to, for example, dog shelters and young athletes.

If you want to know more about us, get the latest news about our products and become a part of our community, you can sign up for our newsletter!

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