All About Dog Boots! Featured brand: PAWZ

Welcome to my first Judy’s Dog Report: All About dog Boots!

Above see a close up and below see the full photo! Judy with dogs out enjoying the crisp weather with their protected paws! This post is all about dog boots!

Judy at park in winter with 3 dogs

Welcome to my first Judy’s Dog Report.  It has been a long time coming!  Check out my About page to see what I’ve been up to over the years that has both enabled me and prompted me to share my tips about the best ways to care for your dog.

You have no doubt had your first taste of winter—a big taste too!  Well, there is more of that to come so you will want to be prepared.

I’m sure you have had to deal with your dog’s sensitive paws when he or she has no choice but to walk on salt or ice.  You know that salt is highly corrosive.  Just look at the rust on our cars or even the salt stains on our own boots!   So we definitely do not want our dogs’ paws to be exposed to salt as it can cut and/or sting their pads.   Extreme cold also hurts, with or without salt.  You can observe dogs stopping in their tracks when out for a walk without boots.  Long ago, I put my own mini poodle into boots for those reasons.

Because this is so critical, I have been on an on-going mission to find the perfect dog boots that meet all of my important criteria, namely: they must be relatively easy to put on, and they must stay on.

In my long experience caring for other people’s dogs and my own, certain boot brands have emerged as best.  Like you, I don’t have tons of time (or money) to experiment with options.  So below, see the recommended brands I find work best for small through large breeds.

Dog's wearing Pawz dog boots

Small dogs:

For breeds under 15 pounds, you have likely found many of the nylon reusable boots slip right off!  At first it is amusing when the boots fly in the air as the dog runs, but in no time flat it is upsetting because you have to try and find them and put them back on in the freezing cold.  They can even disappear under the snow or land in an inaccessible place.

So for small breeds, I recommend the PAWZ brand rubber-balloon type disposable boots.

These boots come in a package of 12  (so 3 sets of 4 boots).  One set of 4 boots can often last an entire winter, depending on the activity level of your dog.  Once a single boot tears, you will need to throw it away and replace it with a new one from the package. The benefit of these boots is that they stay on no matter what.  The downfall is that they can be very difficult to put on. So if you have difficulty, below I mention a tool specifically invented to put PAWZ boots on dogs.

These boots are very suitable for large dogs too. But it can be frustrating to stretch them on to a large dog.  That being said, there is a product called Paws Jawz on the market that allows the person to hold the boot open while placing the paw into the boot. Do take note that with this product, it is much easier to put the PAWZ boots on any size dog! Here’s a video to show how it works.

Medium to Large Dogs:

Of the many re-usable brands that I have tried over the years, there are two additional products that I recommend along with the PAWZ rubber-balloon type discussed above:

1) Fashion Pet Lookin Good Arctic Fleece Boots, 2) Ultra Paws Durable Dog Boots

Fashion Pet Lookin Good Arctic Fleece Boots:

They are super easy to put on because they have a wide mouth to insert the paw. They do not fall off most dogs because there is a Velcro strap that you can securely wrap around the dog’s wrists or ankles.

The main disadvantage of these fleece boots is that they are not waterproof at all because of their material. So wetness seeps in.  But dogs generally are not bothered by that. The main purpose of dog boots is to provide a shield between their paws and the salt and/or ice. I currently have this brand for my 15lb mini Poodle and a client’s small Lab (45lbs). I use these boots for my dog on dry days when I want to save time (as it takes a few more minutes to put the PAWZ or Ultra PAWS boots on). My client’s small Lab has limited tolerance to handling his front paws, so these fleece boots are perfect since they are so easy and quick to put on. In the case of the Lab, he wears them in wet or dry weather because it’s too unpleasant for him to tolerate the time it takes me to put the other types on.

Ultra Paws Durable Dog Boots:

The Ultra Paws Durable Dog boots are a very high quality dog boots that can last multiple seasons if rinsed from salt after walks. They are also very easy to put on the dog and have 2 Velcro strips to secure them.  I currently have a set of the Ultra Paws Durable dog boots that I alternate with the both the Arctic Fleece brand and the PAWZ rubber-balloon type, depending on the weather conditions. I have not tried the other Ultra Paws boot designs since the Durable model seemed the best design for fit and comfort (light material) to feel as natural as possible on the dog’s paws.

These boots can be difficult to find in Canada as of December 2020 when I contacted the manufacturer to inquire where I can buy them. But I did find them on Amazon.ca which may or may not be available there in the future. You can order these boots directly from Ultra Paws in the U.S. but for Canadians, you will need to factor in the exchange rate, shipping, and duty costs. Still, these are remarkably durable and well designed boots that if rinsed after every walk, should last two to three seasons.

Trouble wearing boots?

A note about dogs that struggle to wear boots:  You may have tried boots on your dog in the past.  Many dogs initially don’t like them.  Try making the moment of putting the boots on their paws as a fun moment by giving your dog a treat or letting him or her eat a tiny pile of treats on the floor while you put the boots on.  Pretty soon, your dog will be delighted during that moment when you bring the boots out of the closet…because she will see it as a fun thing to do. When the boots are first on, your dog might prance around lifting her paws up high as she walks. But I promise that the moment you get outside, after a couple of steps, she will be walking normally as if she’s not wearing boots at all! 

Ideally, it’s best to get your dog used to wearing boots while he or she is a puppy. The sooner the better. So even if it’s summer, practice putting boots on your puppy by making it a fun experience.  I would recommend acclimatizing any age dog this way throughout the year so your dog will be ready to wear them when they absolutely have to on winter days. Don’t wait for that first snowfall when you must get the boots on.  Give him or her lots of opportunity to get used to them. Your dog will thank you by easily letting you put the boots on and then walking without pain on salt and ice.

Dog wearing orange Pawz dog boots

Enjoy your walks with a happier dog!

Yours in better dog care, Judy

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