Does Your Dog Need Boots?

by Keri K. on March 2, 2010

Mojito in his Muttluks and Jackson Jacket.

Mojito in his Muttluks and Jackson Jacket.

Mine does!

The little tufts of hair on my Chinese Crested’s feet don’t count for much up against a Wisconsin winter. Although Mojito has what I would politely describe as a “delicate nature,” he’s not being a wimp when he doesn’t want to go out in zero degree weather and walk on snow and salty ice. After our first few potty breaks, I realized that asking him to go outside in nothing but a collar and sweater was really the same as me running a lap around the garage in bare feet. Even a scant minute outside could leave his paws and lower legs bright pink and painful. To him, a preferable alternative to going outside was just to stoically “hold it,” then quietly potty in a nice, warm, indoor corner when no one was looking. Between that and his obvious discomfort outdoors, it wasn’t a hard decision to try some boots!

The first set I picked out was fleece Hott Doggers. Mo seemed vaguely confused by these new things attached to his feet, but I managed not to laugh at his high-stepping and gave him the recommended treat and praise instead. A short jog around the house and he decided they weren’t going to kill him, so we went outside. He did his business and we headed straight in, only to discover he was now wearing three boots. Back out into the night I went. Turns out there’s an art to securing the Velcro strap just right. It’s not difficult; you just have to make sure you’ve gathered the extra fabric out of the way and tugged them all the way up.

Hott Doggers in Red

Hott Doggers in Red

The Hott Doggers worked just fine, but it was time consuming for us to wrap up every little paw three or four times a day, especially when we were only going out for literally a minute.  I kept eyeing the original Muttluks boots, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend as much on tiny dog boots as I might for shoes for myself! Finally, I decided that maybe the elastic cuffs on the Muttluks would mean they’d slip on and off more quickly and make my mornings go a little more smoothly. Back to the store we went, and fitted Mo with a set of XSmall boots in Black.

It was immediately obvious why Muttluks are twice the price of Hott Doggers – it’s the difference between a nice pair of casual shoes and working winter boots. Muttluks are heavier, and the material is thicker like a ski jacket.  There’s more Velcro on the straps so they’re easier to secure, and are reflective too. I especially like how the high cuffs protect his legs from the wind and loose snow.

Muttluks in Red

Muttluks in Red

Are they quicker to put on, like I’d hoped? No, not really, but I feel much better about them staying on and giving him more coverage. I fold the cuffs all the way down to slip them on, being careful for his dewclaw, then roll the cuffs up (stretch out the cuffs a bit the first time, as the brand new elastic is a little stiff). I always give a light squeeze to make sure his toes are all the way in, then wrap the strap. I actually have Mo lay on his back in my lap, his feet in the air, to do it.

Mo still gets grumpy about being roused from the soft couch to go out into the snow, but he no longer whines about it or outright refuses to leave the porch. I have absolutely no doubt that he realizes the boots make him safer and more comfortable outside. When we return home, he knows to wait by the door to get his coat and boots taken off. No snowy, salty paws on my rugs and furniture, or cold feet on me.

There are other good reasons to try boots, like for traction on slippery surfaces or protection from hot ones, or to reduce allergen exposure from grass and pollen. I’ve even used one to keep Mo from licking the salve off a raw spot on his foot.

Not every dog is going to take to boots as easily as Mo did, of course. I got lucky on that one! An economical way to begin might to be try light disposable booties or children’s socks to get your dog used to things touching his feet. If you have other tips on how to get your dog to appreciate his or her boots, please share them.

Other Posts You Might Enjoy:


Keri is a lead catalog designer for Drs. Foster and Smith and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from UW-Stout. She shares a small home with her husband, two Chinese Crested dogs, two cats, two ferrets, several reptiles and amphibians, and 30-some gallons of freshwater planted aquariums. See more articles by Keri K.

{ 1 trackback }

Dog Coats: Fashion or Function?
December 27, 2012 at 1:38 pm

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Felicia March 10, 2010 at 4:49 pm

They’re fashionable, too; Mo looks adorable in his winter coat and boots!

Ellen B. March 11, 2010 at 8:09 am

We like to take our dog with us when cross-country skiing on the lake. My dog was against wearing boots until he found out they prevented ice from forming between his toe pads. Now he knows that getting boots on means lot of fun is coming up!

Sara April 16, 2010 at 8:41 am

I live in MN and have a Chihuahua/Rat Terrier, so he NEEDS boots but I have never been successful in getting him to wear them! It would make it so much better on him on the snow and ice!

Ellen B. April 16, 2010 at 9:18 am

Love the picture of Mo – he looks so spiffy, it makes me smile every time! My dog also NEEDS boots. My husband goes cross-country skiing on the lake, and takes Kobe with him. Ice forms between the pads of his paws, so boots are a must.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: