There are tons of doggy products on the market these days. From doggy footwear to canine fashion, we’ve seen it all.
But is clothing really necessary for dogs? I mean, haven’t they been taking care of themselves for centuries now without keeping warm with sweatshirts and stuffing their paws into sneakers?
While the short answer to the above question is yes, the longer truth is that dogs, like people, actually do sometimes require clothing and doggy booties to keep them safe and protected from certain situations and weather conditions.
In fact, the more we learn about our canine counterparts, the more we have come to realize that they are not so different from us in the things they need to stay happy, healthy, and comfortable.
So, with that in mind, let’s talk about dog booties.
Are these cute little pooch shoes just a funny fashion trend for dog lovers or are they an actual necessity? And if dog booties are a necessity, then which dog booties are right for your dog?
Join us as we take a look at the real reason dog booties are becoming so popular for dogs and talk about some of my favorite dog bootie brands.
What Are Dog Booties?
There are two kinds of dog people.
There are dog people who are all about letting their dogs be carefree, adventurous pups, and then there are dog people who sincerely consider their dogs to be their babies.
We’re talking closets full of clothes, hair bows, and, yes, doggy shoes.
Which dog person are you?
Look, I’m not judging. In fact, I’ll admit that I fall somewhere in between the two. I buy my pup cute pink hoodies and she has a few pairs of indoor and outdoor dog booties to help keep her pretty paws nice and safe from hot and cold weather.
On the flip side, I also let her run around the beach and get dirty at the dog park. It’s a happy medium.
So it doesn’t really matter what kind of dog mom or dad you are, so long as your dog is happy and healthy, right?
But what is the deal with dog booties? What if you’re the first kind of dog person – the dog person who doesn’t want to dress your dog up in doggy clothing? Are dog booties something your dog may need?
Yes, dog shoes are a real thing, but they are very different from human shoes.
While the idea of putting shoes on our dogs may seem like something silly, there actually is a rhyme to the reason.
Dog booties are more than a fashion statement and can actually help keep your dog’s sensitive paws healthy and safe.
And, high-quality dog booties may even help protect your dog’s paws if they are healing from an injury.
The best brands of dog booties are not made to be fashionable and cute, although many come in adorable designs. No, the best dog booties are made with your dog’s comfort in mind.
These booties will be easy to put on your dog, will fit his paws nicely, and will not hinder his ability to walk, run, and otherwise just live his best doggy life.
But does your dog need booties? Let’s find out.
Does Your Dog Need Dog Booties?
As I mentioned above, the more we learn about our canine counterparts, the more we come to realize that they are not as different from us as we once thought.
In fact, just like human feet, dogs paws do need protection from extreme cold and heat.
Like humans, dogs paws can be sensitive to very hot or very cold weather. It’s a good idea to offer your dog booties when out and about in extreme environments for long periods of time.
But that’s not to say that your dog needs to wear clothing all day every day.
Remember, while your dog does need protection from the elements, he is still a dog, and he’s not going to enjoy you dressing him up as much as you may enjoy dressing him up.
So, when does your dog need to wear dog booties and other types of dog clothing?
It depends on the situation. Weather often plays a role in whether or not our dogs need to wear dog booties and other protective clothing.
During the summer months, for example, sidewalks and asphalt can heat up to pretty extreme temperatures. We humans wear shoes to protect our feet from the heat, and if we do go out in bare feet and step on hot asphalt, it’s pretty easy for us to run back to the shade or grass if we want to.
Our dogs, on the other hand, are usually walking with us on a leash and won’t have as easy of a time getting away from the heat that may be burning up their little paws.
For circumstances such as these, I would recommend looking into getting a nice pair of breathable dog booties specifically created for dogs to wear outdoors and in the warmer weather.
And the same goes for very cold weather.
If you are an adventurous dog owner who likes to hike in the snow, go snowshoeing, or even take your dog skiing or snowboarding with you, then investing in a quality pair of doggy booties made for cooler weather would be a great idea.
Your dog may also be a good candidate for dog booties if you notice he’s having trouble keeping his grip on your hardwood or tile flooring inside the home.
Or, if your dog has recently suffered an injury to his paw, special medical-grade dog booties may help him heal while also allowing him to stay mobile.
But what are the best brands of all these different types of dog booties? Don’t worry! I’m about to let you in on a few of my favorite dog booties for all occasions!
Best Dog Booties for Cold Weather
The best outdoor dog booties for colder weather will be weather resistant dog booties, like these booties below by My Busy Dog.
I also like that these booties have reflectors sewn on, adding extra protection for your dog when walking at night.
Outdoor booties should be a bit tougher than indoor booties depending on your dog’s activity level.
Another product I’d highly recommend for outdoor hiking and walking in the cold is the QUMY Waterproof Dog Bootie for dogs.
These dog booties also have reflective strips added and include anti-slip soles, which I like especially for dogs like mine, who are out and about and often climbing jagged rocks and hillsides.
Best Dog Booties for Hot Weather
For those of you in warmer climates who are looking for protection for your dog’s paws when it comes to hot asphalt and cement, I would suggest investing in a pair of breathable mesh dog booties.
The reason you will want your dog’s booties to be breathable in warmer environments is that dogs sweat through their paws to stay cool.
Your dog’s paws may be more sensitive to rough terrain and extreme weather than you realize.
If you use outdoor dog booties that are too heavy-duty, you may impede on your dog’s natural ability to stay cool and in turn risk him suffering from heat stroke.
A great example of some wonderful, breathable dog booties for warmer weather is the below dog bootie by HiPaw.
These dog booties and other mesh dog booties like them are specially made for helping protect your dog’s paws from the hot cement or asphalt while also still allowing your dog’s paws to breathe and sweat naturally.
Another product that is similar to the HiPaw dog bootie is the Bark Brite Neoprene dog bootie below.
While I haven’t tried these particular booties on my dog or any of my four-legged clients yet, I do like that they claim to form to the dog’s paws and allow breathability.
I also like that they claim to be lightweight since many of the dogs I work with already don’t like the feeling of something covering their paws.
Best Indoor Dog Booties
Is your dog an Olympic hardwood floor skier?
Life can be stressful for dogs who can’t seem to get a grip on those slippery floors inside your home.
My pitbull used to hate hardwood floors and go out of his way to avoid them at all costs, even if this meant he couldn’t leave the living room and had to practically get carried outside, lest he be forced to walk down the tiled hallway.
Along with using methods like indoor dog gates and rugs to help protect our wood floors and our dog from slipping and sliding around on them, we also invested in a nice pair of indoor dog socks with grips on the soles.
We liked to think of them like comfy, cozy doggy house shoes.
And since you too will want your dog to be comfortable with his booties while indoors, I would recommend dog booties that feel more like socks and that are lightweight, breathable, and that have traction on the pads to stop your dog from slipping too.
Pet Heroic knit dog socks are similar to indoor dog booties I’ve used in the past and have had success with.
Some dogs prefer carpets or rugs to hardwood floor because they feel more secure when walking. This is another reason indoor dog booties are so popular!
I also really like the idea of these waterproof indoor dog booties by KOOLTAIL.
Although these are meant primarily for indoor use, they are sturdy enough to allow your dog to go outside for quick potty breaks while also being comfortable enough to let your dog snuggle up on the couch or in his doggy bed without feeling like he is wearing something stiff.
Best Dog Booties for Dog With A Paw Injury
Paw injuries in dogs are quite common.
Dogs are dogs and they are into everything, so the likelihood of your dog suffering from a paw injury at some point in his life is, unfortunately, pretty high.
Not only can dog booties help to keep your dog from chewing and licking his injury, but they may also help to keep that injury protected during walks and outings.
And remember, all dog booties are meant to be temporarily worn, even indoor dog booties, so make sure you are not leaving the booties on your dog’s paws for days at a time.
However, it is essential that you speak with your veterinarian before investing in a pair of booties for your dog with an injured paw.
Dr. Evelyn and her team at Petsadena Animal Hospital in Pasadena, CA have seen their share of dogs with injured paws and will often recommend booties be worn while the paws heal. (Photo Credit: Madison Guthrie)
Many injuries can be made worse by being covered or restricted, so make sure that buying booties for your dog is going to help the healing process, not hinder it.
If you are worried about your dog chewing and licking an injury on his paw or any other part of his body, we also recommend doggy recovery collars.
So, what are some of my favorite dog booties for dogs with injured paws?
There are many dog booties for dogs that are made especially for dogs with paw injuries.
These HEALERS, for example, are medical dog booties that include gauze pads on the inside.
Another bootie that works almost like a healing bandage for your dog’s paws are these PawFlex Medimitts.
Although we should note that you can’t take your dog out for a walk in these booties as they are not made for the wear and tear of walking in outdoor elements.
If your dog is healthy enough to walk on his injured pay, you may opt to put a more sturdy dog bootie over his medi mit or bandage before taking him out for a potty break.
If your dog is not healthy enough to walk on his injured paw, remember, there are ways you can keep your dog active without walking him, especially if you or your veterinarian are worried that walking your dog, even with doggy booties, may injure him more.
Getting Your Dog Used to Wearing Dog Booties
Get your dog used to wearing booties as early as possible. If your dog is still a puppy, then helping him get used to booties sooner rather than later will be helpful if you plan on using booties routinely in your walks, outings, and adventures.
But don’t worry. If your dog is already a few years old, and even if your dog is a senior pooch, you can still work to get him used to wearing booties.
Use positive reinforcement methods like treats and praise to help your dog associate his booties with something great!
Treats tend to help make the experience of dog booties more pleasant for dogs because most dogs don’t want to wear anything but their collar.
Never scold your dog for being afraid of his booties or for refusing to walk in them. Dogs will often freeze up when the booties go on their feet and won’t quite know what to make of them at first.
Scolding or punishing your dog for not immediately understanding that the booties are for his benefit will only cause him to fear the booties more and associate them with being in trouble.
Remember, training your dog to walk in dog booties may take some time and be a bit of a process.
Be patient with your dog and use positive reinforcement methods like treats and praise to help your four-legged friend become more accustomed to wearing his doggy shoes.
Most dogs will typically take some time to get used to wearing booties, but if you work with your dog properly and make the booties a positive thing, he’ll soon learn not to mind wearing them.
Still, at the end of the day, all dogs are different. While some dogs may tolerate dog booties, others may absolutely hate them.
For dogs who are having a particularly rough time getting used to their dog booties, you may consider some counterconditioning techniques.
Do you think your dog would be a good candidate for dog booties, or have you ever tried dog booties on your dog?
Tell us in the comments below!
Madison Guthrie (also known as Sonny Mackenzi) is a pet care specialist and positive-reinforcement trainer who works most closely with anxious and reactive dogs. Born and raised in Littleton, Colorado, Madison developed a love for animals at an early age and spent most of her childhood outdoors rescuing stray pets and helping to rehabilitate injured wildlife. Along with animals, Madison also developed a love for writing and music. Over the past five years, she has worked to use her passions to help the pets and pet parents in her community build stronger bonds and live happier, healthier lives together. Currently, Madison lives in South Pasadena, California where she owns and operates Miss Madison LLC, a marketing company that focuses on helping privately owned veterinary establishments and pet care companies grow and thrive. She also works as a dog trainer at My Dog Spot, which is an award-winning pet care and training establishment in Pasadena, California.