WHY DON’T DOGS NEED BOOTS?
When you’re ready to go outside in the winter, you get all bundled up in your coat, scarf, and boots. When your dog gets ready to go outside, they get their sweater and their collar. They run outside, excited and hindered by the fluffy cold snow. Why is that? We at Doggy Brace wanted to find out.
It’s actually very simple! Dog’s paws were originally built to survive the outside. After all, their ancestors didn’t get boots or socks knit by their grandma. They were designed to traverse every environment with grace and skill, no matter for playing with wolf pups or for hunting prey.
Through the years of domestication, their paws have retained this ability. Even those that are far from their ancestors, such as the pug, still have this ability (though possibly less so than their Siberian Husky friends).
It also helps that dogs naturally run pretty hot too. Normal body temperature for dogs and cats is 101 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. This means they’re able to withstand cold a lot better than humans. And their paws? Most dog paws can easily withstand temperatures down to -30 degrees F. That’s insane!
How do Dog Paws Stay Warm?
A dog’s paw is more than just a cute pinky pad with toe beans. A dog’s paw is a complicated system of veins and arteries, and the pads draw warm blood to the skin keeping them warm. Because of your dog’s internal temperature, it warms up pretty quickly too!
Moreover, their paws are insulated and are the toughest skin on the entire body!
Do Dogs Need Boots?
Though fashionable, most dogs don’t need any kind of footwear, least of all boots. Shoes and dog boots can also throw off a dog’s balance and friction. The pads of a dog have a gripping texture that allows them to cling to a variety of surfaces. There are a few exceptions, of course, which we’ll go over here.
Some Dogs Do Get Cold
Despite dogs being built to withstand the cold temperatures, some dogs do get cold.
Here are some tell-”tail” signs that your dog may need boots to keep their feet warm:
- Your dog keeps picking up their paws when walking outside
- Your dog is licking their foot pads excessively when outside
- Your dog is shivering
- Your dog’s foot pads are dry, split, or cracked in the winter
Senior Dogs May Need Extra Traction
Senior dogs may need a little more help moving around in the winter. There are boots designed specifically for senior dogs to help add traction to their step. Whenever you introduce a dog to wearing boots, do so gradually and use lots of positive reinforcement. It usually takes them some time to get used to having something on their paws.
Your Dog is Too Excited in the Snow
Some dogs hate the snow. Some love it. And others LOVE it. Unfortunately, the snow and ice aren’t very safe for those who LOVE it. Snow and ice are quite abrasive and can injure your dog’s paws. They can scuff up their paws, dry them out, and cause bleeding.
If your dog is like that, they may benefit from boots too.
If your dog does injure their paws, bring them inside as quickly as you can. Wipe down and clean their paws gently with warm water. If the cut is serious, you may need to take them to the vet to get it wrapped up. If it’s just a scrape, your dog should be okay with rest and daily cleaning. Don’t let them lick at it too much, though!
How to Choose the Right Boot
Choosing the right boot is as easy as finding something cute and something waterproof. Your dog won’t need anything fancy or anything lined with faux fur.
Here are the qualities of a good dog boot, as outlined by the American Kennel Club:
- The material of the sole should be textured, with a good grip for traction
- Choose boots made from waterproof or water-resistant material
- The sole should be flexible so your dog can walk naturally
- Choose a boot with adjustable Velcro straps
- Most dogs don’t like the feel of shoes or boots. Prepare him by trying them on him in the house for short periods of time and praising him as he gets used to wearing them
- Always check the manufacturer’s guidelines for size, and measure before you order.
And that’s it! Your dog may not need a boot, and that’s good! But if they do, you’re now well equipped to find the right one (or four!) for their paws.