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Canine Sense - Did You Know

Check out these articles by Dr. Stanley Coren (BC, Canada) Canine Corner

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Winter Booties For Dogs

Winter is on it's way ~ whether we're going to like it or not!

I get asked many times about whether shelties need booties for walking in the winter. My general answer is no, not usually. One of the biggest keys is you need to keep the hair trimmed on the bottom of their feet. Below is a pic of one foot that's been trimmed, the other still to be done. One of the areas dogs sweat is from their paws, (did you know this?) and thus with the hair & their sweating it all leads to those big snow balls that collect between their pads. This can cause small cracks in the thinner areas between their toes. Not to mention all the sand/salt they pick up! Dog's pads are meant to be rough and able to handle most surfaces ~ just think ~ they can run through dried grass, prickly weeds, woods with who knows what on the ground, over rocks and we don't consider protecting them during this time.
So, when might booties help? If you have no choice but to walk on heavily salted streets every day, and especially when we have those minus 30C consistent days, they can help. Those icy days we get can help with traction. Or maybe you have a senior dog, arthritic dog, that needs help with traction.

There are two problems with booties - one will the dog walk with them on??? and two will they stay on? There are many kinds on the market. You need to 'train' your dog to accept them on their feet. Don't just put them on the day you need them as many will shake, pull them off or just fail to move! Train them in the house, one bootie at a time, a few good treats to distract them and make it fun. Maybe play with a toy, so they aren't thinking about them. Work up till they accept all four.

These are ones I've seen in action. I have one in my dog class, with a waxed floor, there is a Rotti that will slip on the sit. She wears these and they stay on for the full hour, no matter what she's doing.
Check out this site ... click on the pic from their home page ~ Pawzdogboots.comLink
Biggest question, where can you get them? I plugged in my location and found Pet Value carries them. They come different sizes ... but hey! take your dog and use it as a training/socialization situation at the same time.

Enjoy winter! and don't forget to groom those feet.


Kav November 23, 2011 at 12:41 PM  

My dog has always been sensitive to the salt in really cold temps. They tend to salt heavily where I live and everywhere. Last year I stumbled upon a invisible boot product -- lovely moisturing glop that you spread on the dog's pads before you take him out for a walk. It's miraculous. Simba can clomp through salty streets without a single wince or favoured paw. Plus it keeps his pads from cracking. In fact, they were in such good shape last year that I tried them on my heels and ooohhlala -- it really works! :-) The stuff is all natural, not harmful if the dog licks at his feet and won't stain. One jar lasted me the whole season so it was way cheaper than buying booties and much less of a fuss.

Chantelle November 23, 2011 at 8:15 PM  

Hey Kav - I'd like to hear more about your "glop"!! Sounds like a potential alternative for us too!

Today was the first snow of the year and I regretted not putting Travis and Indie's boots on!! I thought being the first snow I could get away with it but the roads and sidewalks were heavily salted and both dogs were limping and then litterally on their backs half way through our walk - the furthest point from home!!

Neither likes wearing their boots (you can see the disgust in their eyes when I pull them out) but I'm sure part of them realizes their feet don't hurt when they go out for a walk!

I wish the city of Ottawa would only sand sidewalks - so much better for our fur-babies!!

Shelamo Shelties November 23, 2011 at 9:14 PM  

are you talking about Paw Wax? yes that's a good alternative - I've seen it in Petsmart.

Kav November 25, 2011 at 6:05 AM  

The product I got is actually called Invisible Boot -- it says it's "The Original" and it's made in Canada (Kitchener). I got it at Bark and Fitz in Westboro. Ingredients are: soybean oil, cornstarch, cottonseed oil, beeswax, tea-tree oil and benzoin. I think it cost me $14.

My daughter has a prima dona yorkie who won't go anywhere without boots. I babysat him last year in the winter and found putting the boots on was such a struggle that I gave the Invisible Boot a try and voila -- he walked all the way. I'm soooo converted to this product!

Shelamo Shelties November 25, 2011 at 1:56 PM  

Thanks for the info ... hopefully it gives others another option to consider when our weather gets nasty for our fur friends.


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