Dog Shoes 101

We have all seen those hilarious videos with a dog dancing in their new dog shoes, likely thinking “What the FLUFF are these?!” Unfortunately, in many instances you do not realize your dog needs dog shoes until it is too late, and your dog suffers from a preventable injury. So, it is important to educate yourself on whether or not dog shoes are appropriate for them to be wearing given the situation.

Did you know that in some instances dog shoes are actually required?! In Germany the police dogs are required to wear dog shoes because of all the broken glass that was injuring police dogs. During the Iditarod race in Alaska the dog sled teams are required to bring dog shoes for each dog on the sled to ensure the paws are not injured under the extreme cold conditions.

All we care about is that dogs everywhere are protected and ready for the adventure ahead. We wanted to make a comprehensive guide about dog shoes and please bark back if we can answer any further questions.

When Should Dogs Wear Dog Shoes?

  1. Hot Pavement Burns: Did you know that at 77°F the pavement can reach 125°F, which can burn a paw in under a minute? Yes, I was shocked too! We actually made a Facebook post about it and we would love for you to share to help prevent paws from getting burned (here is the link).
  2. Ice Melt or Extreme Cold: Ice melt that is commonly used to salt walkways is not dog friendly. It can irritate, cut, and burn paws and also cause your dog to incessantly lick after the walk causing sores. During the Iditarod race, officials actually require mushers to carry booties for their dogs to prevent injuries caused by extreme cold.
  3. Thorns/Jagged Rocks: Thorns from pickers, cacti, and bushes can be excruciating for pups (and pawrents as they try and get them out). Having a set of dog shoes handy for hikes can make sure no injuries occur.
  4. Traction/Mobility: Senior dogs, tripawds, and dogs recovering from injuries often have traction challenges and as a pawrent we want to do everything we can to help. In homes with slippery surfaces (hardwood, tile, etc.) it can often be challenging for a pup to get up and move freely about the house. Dogs with Degenerative myelopathy (DM) and hip dysplasia typically experience a slow decline in mobility and having additional traction from dog shoes or more carpet really helps.
  5. Allergies: Similar to humans, dogs can have a variety of allergies. Some have allergies to certain grasses and pollens, causing them to lick or bite down on their paws. Dog shoes can ensure no allergens get in.
  6. Convenience (Muddy Paws): Does your dog hate when it rains? Do you hate cleaning up all the muddy paw prints throughout your home when it rains and snows? Dog shoes make clean up a breeze.
  7. Protecting Others From Nails (scratching kids, hardwood floors): Sometimes puppies or even older dogs have a tendency to jump on others. Puppy claws are always sharp and dog shoes help prevent any unwanted scratches on tiny humans or others you meet during a walk. For those with hardwood floors, scratches can be the worst and having dog boots on prevent any unwanted interior decorating.

How Should I Size My Dog For Dog Shoes?

There are a lot of choices out there when selecting shoes to protect your pup’s paws and we know that it can be overwhelming!

We respect whatever choice you make, but regardless we want to ensure your pup gets shoes that fit and protects those paws from getting injured as that is always our top priority.

Sizing… if you let out a groan because you remember your last experience don’t worry, we are here to help. Typically, there are two types of dogs (we can give you a helping paw for both):

  1. Stands somewhat still and is totally fine getting measured
  2. Wants to move CONSTANTLY and standing still is just not happening

#1. Stands Still Directions

  • Have your dog stand on a piece of paper and lift the opposite paw to ensure the paw being measured is bearing weight
  • Angle the pen so it is against the width of the paw as close as possible
  • TIP: The thickness of the pen can make the measurement look bigger than it actually is. Remember tracing your hand as a kid and it looked like you had sausages for fingers? Same principal. You want to angle the pen to get as close as possible

#2. Likes to Move it (Move it) Directions

  • We totally understand it can be near impossible to get some pups to stay still so we have three methods that can work to get the sizing right
  • Option A: If you have non-toxic play dough flatten it out on a flat surface and push your dog’s paw into it. Now you can measure the imprint.
  • Option B: Wet the paw and stamp it on a piece of paper and then measure.
  • Option C: Find a slightly muddy spot in your yard and have your dog simply walk across it and measure the print.

If you have questions, we put together a printable dog paw sizing guide, found here and some video tutorials here.

We are also here to support you and answer your questions. Simply bark to us at info@mybusydog.com and let us know the measurements, the breed, and weight of your dog. The breed and weight allow us to look back into past customer data to help support you with sizing.

Is My Dog Going to Dance Like a Ballerina In Their New Dog Boots?

This has to be one of the top questions we get from pawrents. The level of dancing really does depend on the dog, for some they literally start walking perfectly find right from the beginning. In case you haven’t seen those hilarious dancing dogs, feel free to laugh a little here. For most, there are a few awkward steps at the beginning that you definitely want to have your camera ready for, but after a few times they will be running like normal through the backyard.

Why does it happen? Well if you have ever seen a toddler walk in shoes for the first time, or your first time in high heels, it is interestingly very similar. There are new objects on their paws and it takes a little bit of time to master it.

There are ways of making the transition easier for your dog and best of all you can start that process right now before your dog shoes even arrive! We have all of our tips right below in “How Do I Help My Dog Adjust To Dog Shoes?”

How Do I Help My Dog Adjust To Dog Shoes?

We have our training tips below, but definitely start touching and rubbing your dog’s paws now with high value treats. That way they associate getting their paws touched with an amazing treat! This will help when it comes time to clip their nails and also put on their new dog shoes.
Training your dog to wear our dog boots is very simple if you follow these instructions:

Supplies: High value treats, leash, camera (you will not want to miss your pups first time in the shoes!)

1) Have high value treats ready. Similar to puppy kindergarten you want something they typically do not receive and if possible, no treats earlier that day.

2) Have your dog sit or lay down. Start with one shoe on the front paw, loosen the straps, and place the paw inside. If you don’t feel their nails at the front of the shoe, slide the shoe up more. Fasten both straps securely (you should not be able to stick your finger between the leg and the straps). Reward your dog for being good!

3) Now let’s put on the second shoe in the front following the same process. Once again reward your pup!

4) If you and your pup need a break you can start walking your dog inside with a leash. Walking indoors with a leash makes them feel comfortable. Giving them some small treats during the walk indoors helps them realize this is normal and they are doing great!

5) If your pup is doing well with the first two shoes, then add the rear shoes following the same method.

6) After your dog has all four shoes on go for another walk indoors and wait a bit before taking them outside. Get their toys and play with them while they adjust. You want your dog to see that boots can equal fun, and there’s no better way than immediately starting to play and of course treats.

7) Once your dog adjusts inside the house you can get ready for an outdoor walk.

8) Snap a picture or a video and tag us so we can see how pawsome your pup is doing in their new shoes. Use #MyBusyDog so we can see them rocking those new kicks! 

Additional FAQ Dog Shoe Questions

How do I wash my dog shoes?
We recommend hand washing them with cold water and dog shampoo (to ensure your dog does not have a reaction to other types of soaps). Then air dry.

What if my dog has two different sized paws?
Don’t worry, just let us know in the notes field during checkout and we will send you a custom set of dog shoes.

Should my dog wear socks with their dog booties?
Typically, most dogs do not need socks. However, they do make cleanup a lot easier because you can throw the socks into the wash to keep those dog shoes smelling nice. Dogs need socks when the shoe is close to the dewclaw, they are wearing boots for hours (prevents rubbing), or if they are a puppy and still growing into the size you ordered. We recommend buying baby/toddler socks as they come in a variety of sizes at an affordable price point.

When should I buy some for my puppy that keeps growing?
Puppies, similar to babies, grow out of everything (colors, crates, harnesses, etc.). Puppies paws typically are the first thing to grow completely but depending on the dog can vary greatly from 3 months old until 10 months old. At first, we recommend just touching their paws continually so they used to their paws being touched (this will also help during nail trims). If you need boots right away just know that you will often have to buy another set as they grow. You can go up one size and use socks to get some additional longevity out of them. Once your pup is about 8-10 months old their paws are fully grown, but ask your vet if they believe the paws are just about fully grown during your next visit to double check.

Have a question we have not covered? Do not be afraid to bark back and ask us at info@mybusydog.com