Should I put shoes on my dog? A Step-by-Step Guide

What could happen if your dog doesn’t wear shoes?

Without shoes, some dogs could develop a condition called pododermatitis, says VCA Ark Animal Hospitals. This is when the paws become inflamed. While fungus or parasites could certainly cause pododermatitis, some dogs experience inflammation after running on concrete or gravel. Look for red, swollen paw pads. Take note if your dog licks its paws constantly or is losing hair on the feet. If your vet concludes your pup’s pododermatitis is the result of too much running on hard ground, investing in a protective pair of shoes might be part of the treatment plan.

Depending on the environment, dogs can pick up nasty chemicals when out and about. Areas where lawns have been chemically treated or sidewalks are covered in de-icing salt can wreak havoc on dog paws. Dogs with very furry paws have a higher risk of getting salt and pebbles stuck between toes. If your dog isn’t wearing shoes, it’s wise to wipe their feet with a damp towel whenever they come in from a walk. This gives you a chance to check for any injuries and prevent your pup from licking or further inhaling irritants.

What Are the Benefits of Shoes for Dogs?

In certain situations, shoes can help protect your dogs paws and provide extra comfort and support. Lets take a look at a few key benefits of shoes for dogs.

If you live in an area with hot summers or cold winters, then your dog may be more comfortable wearing shoes. Insulated shoes or booties can keep your dogs paws warm in the winter and protect against weather conditions like rain, snow, and ice. They can also prevent exposure to harmful substances such as road salt and antifreeze.

In summer, shoes can help keep your dogs paws cool and prevent them from getting burned on pavement, sand, or other hot surfaces. These types of shoes are made from lightweight, breathable, and durable materials that provide protection and allow your dogs paws to breathe.

Shoes can help protect dogs paws from injuries caused by sharp rocks, thorns, and other hazards in the environment. They can also provide extra protection against burns, cuts, and other injuries. This makes them a good option for dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors.

If you often go hiking with your dog, consider investing in a pair of high-quality shoes or boots. This will help keep your dogs paws safe from injuries and will also prevent them from getting muddy or wet.

Shoes and booties can provide support and comfort for dogs with mobility issues. Non-slip orthopedic booties are especially helpful for preventing falls and improving balance. These types of shoes are good for dogs with arthritis, hip dysplasia, or other conditions that make it hard for them to move around – especially on slippery surfaces.

If your dog has mobility issues, its a good idea to talk to your veterinarian about whether shoes or booties are a good option for them. In some cases, they may be able to recommend a specific type of shoe that can help your dog stay safe and comfortable.

Although shoes offer several benefits, there are also times when theyre not necessary or even harmful. Lets take a look at some situations where its best to avoid shoes for dogs.

What do dog paw pads do?

A dog’s paw pads are pretty incredible. An intricate mix of muscle, tissue, ligaments, tendons, collagen and keratin, paw pads protect doggy toes and feet from getting torn up. They provide support for joints and muscles, absorbing the shock of impact as your dog walks and runs. Paw pads also help with canine circulation! A study from Japan recently published in Veterinary Dermatology says there’s basically a “heat exchange system” in canine feet that keeps them warm during winter. Paw pads also keep dogs cool in the summer by sweating out heat.

Thanks to the miraculous paw pad, dogs don’t need to wear shoes indoors or on a daily basis. But, while paw pads do protect your dog’s feet from harsh terrain and intense temperatures, there are occasions when dogs should wear shoes. These instances include extremely hot or cold weather, extended time on rough terrain and when healing from an injury.

Dogs who weren’t bred for freezing temperatures (think: Chihuahuas or Australian Kelpies) probably need boots throughout winter. Breeds like Siberian Huskies and Akitas can get away with more snowy outdoor time as they were built to withstand cold weather. However, snow or not, if temperatures are really low, even Black Russian Terriers will need boots to prevent frostbite.

Folks living in hot climates should test sidewalks with their own feet before heading out with their dog. If you can’t hold your bare foot comfortably on the ground for 10 seconds, you should put shoes on your dog. Don’t rely solely on your thermometer; it doesn’t have to be that hot for the sun to really cook asphalt. Unless rain makes sidewalks particularly slick in your neighborhood, dogs don’t need boots to protect from drizzle.

Trekking through the woods or on rocky hiking trails present lots of opportunities for cuts and calluses. Toss some shoes on your dog! Certain shoes can also add traction to slippery areas. If you plan on taking your dog hiking regularly, The Farmer’s Dog recommends introducing them to boots early and giving their paws plenty of time to acclimate to rougher terrain.

Finally, a dog recovering from surgery or an injury to a foot or paw should wear shoes outdoors (and sometimes indoors if necessary). The last thing you want is stitches coming out or an infection creeping in as your pup heals. Senior dogs suffering from arthritis may need to wear shoes for added joint support, too. Talk to your vet if you think this is the case!

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