18

I'm not actually asking about the fashion items, the kind celebrities buy for their dogs... but actual outdoor designed dog boots.

What is the purpose of dog boots? Why / when would you use them?

19

They protect the paws from injury or already injured paws from getting worse (and having bandages ripped off). Things they protect from include:

  • rough terrain - sharp rocks, etc.
  • chemicals like salt used for de-icing roads
  • extreme cold
  • ice balls forming between the dog's toes.
  • 2
    Yes. They're mostly for winter, especially for the breeds with soft fur. – kaay Dec 16 '15 at 15:12
  • We used to go hiking where one part of the trail was on exposed (and sharp) shale rock, our dog's paws got chewed up pretty bad before we even realized how sharp it was. We ended up carrying her most of the way back. The next time we did the hike, she wore boots on that part - she hated them at first, but got used to them within 15 minutes, then was walking around normally about 30 minutes after that. Now we are a lot more observant for hazardous conditions since she didn't even act like the sharp rocks bothered her at all. – Johnny Dec 16 '15 at 21:48
  • 1
    I'd suggest "abnormally rough terrain" as dog footpads adapt to their environment. If you are traveling with a dog that's only known soft grass and concrete, then they will probably experience damage from particularly sharp or rough environments. If they are regularly exposed to those rough environments, though, they will have little damage. The dog boots are to protect the foot pads and paws from temporary environments the dog is not accustomed to. – Adam Davis Dec 16 '15 at 22:08
  • I always assumed this must be quite distressing for a dog. I've seen dogs in boots struggle for traction on packed snow and ice. Without claws they don't interact with the ground in the same way. – tomfumb Dec 17 '15 at 8:25
13

These boots are designed for a few purposes actually.

Firstly, dogs paws can be affected by snow and ice - especially in breeds or dogs unused to colder climates. The boots help protect their paws from the colder temperatures, and also help prevent the build up of snow on their paw hair - which can then clump and freeze and cause irritation for the dog. They also help prevent damage to the foot if walking on terrain that is rather sharp. Some sled team dogs use boots, but not all.

Secondly, these boots can be used if the dog gets injured, the foot for most animals (and people, it's not always easy to keep a plaster on your foot) is hard to keep a bandage on neatly, especially when already out on a hike, and the boot can act as a way to prevent dirt and grit from getting into a cut and help the dog from over licking the area as well. In addition, in the similar way to a horse with a poultice, you can use the boot to actually keep the bandage in place.

It's not the kind of item every dog would want to wear, as many dogs don't like having something on their feet - but a friend of mine actually has a set in her dog first aid kit.

  • Of course, if your dog notices that every time the boots come out, adventure follows, they'll happily tolerate them on their feet. – whatsisname Apr 25 '16 at 5:34

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