Dog boots are a great tool to provide grip and traction against rocky terrain, ice, snow, and other wet or slippery surfaces. They also are a form of protection against the hot pavement, salt, and other chemicals that can be found on surfaces your dog walks on.
That being said, it can be hard for dogs to get used to walking in their new boots as they will feel uncomfortable and out of place. Depending on where you purchase your dog’s boots from, there is a good chance their website will offer advice, as Ruffwear Canada does with all of their dog gear.
Here are some of the best tips to help your furry friend break in their new Ruffwear boots:
Similarly to how we would break our own shoes in, it’s important to work your dog’s new boots instead of putting them on straight from the box. The best way to do this is to simply hold them in your hands and bend and move them around so that the material becomes pliable. Dogs have trouble softening their boots on their own, especially smaller dogs that have less weight, so helping them to break them in will ensure they become more comfortable quickly.
Ease Them In
Don’t expect to put a new pair of boots on your dog and go out for a run or hike immediately. A good idea is to put the boots on while you’re in the house and do so for short periods of time. Once your pup begins to get comfortable with that, move them outside and continue to gradually increase the amount of time they’re wearing them. Not only will this help to further break the boots in, but it will give your dog the opportunity to become more comfortable and adjust to wearing them.
While doing this, you should read your dog’s body language. If they seem to be stressed or uncomfortable, you may want to take the boots off. However, if they’re simply curious it’s okay to leave them on and see if they adjust.
When first putting boots on your dog, they are going to be very confused and not know how to properly walk. There’s a good chance they will start to “dance” in a way that looks like they’re trying to get out of the boots. This is a natural reaction and nothing to be alarmed about. Be sure to have treats on hand and reward your dog as he becomes more comfortable as this will help him get used to the idea of wearing his boots.
Frequently Stop and Check
Especially as you start to take your dog on longer adventures, be sure to make multiple stops where you can check for signs of uncomfortable rubbing or the appearance of hot spots. If you see the beginning signs of these, take off the boots and give your dog a break as to not make the irritation worse.
If their paws still look to be in good shape, these stops serve as a good opportunity to re-adjust the strap tension and make sure the boots are both secure and in a comfortable position.
Buy the Correct Fit
Different brands of dog boots will most likely have slightly different fits. However, many of these brands offer a paw measurement chart that can help you to buy the right fit for your dog. As a general rule, there shouldn’t be excess material from left to right or front to back in the boot, and the boot should be able to bend at a 45-degree angle as their paw naturally would.
Surprisingly, each paw can be a different size so you’ll want to be sure you measure each paw individually and not order all one size.
Dog boots are similar to our shoes, and as such, it can provide more comfort to your dog if you use socks with their boots. Socks will not only help to aid in overall comfort, but they can also serve as a wicking layer between the paw and boot which will serve as a protective barrier, make for a better fit, and keep their paws warmer if they’re being worn in the snowy months.
Dog boots serve one main purpose, to protect your dog’s sensitive paws from harsh climates or rough terrain. While some breeds won’t need boots to protect themselves from the cold, like Huskies or Bernese Mountain Dogs, others can benefit from an added layer of warmth.
Even if your dog isn’t facing snow, there are potential hazards from walking on hot pavement or through rough terrain on hiking trails. If any of these sound-like activities you and your dog are participating in, you should consider purchasing a pair of Ruffwear boots and patiently training your dog to wear them for their own protection.