Does My Dog Need Shoes?

Sweaters, bows, and fancy collars look super cute on your dog. If it's OK to dress him up in these items, shouldn't it be fine to give him some adorable shoes as well?

Happy dog with her new shoe
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If you're just doing it to dress him up, shoes may make him uncomfortable—and that's the last thing you want for your pup. But the fact is, your dog may actually need to wear shoes in certain situations. Using dog shoes in the right situation will make your pup feel better and make for some really great photographs as well.

Getting dog shoes for a hike

Let's say you love taking your dog on hikes up in the mountains or hills. However, there are lots of little rocks and sticks that can injure your dogs' feet on the trails. The pads of your dogs' feet are very soft, and they are prone to injury, so the best thing to do is find him a comfortable pair of shoes to wear for your adventure.

If he's not wearing shoes, his paws may get sore from tough pavement, he may slip on rocks, his pads may become painful, or he can cut his pads. All of these circumstances would make your pup feel uncomfortable and may require you to take him to the vet. It's best to avoid them simply by putting some shoes on him.

dog in the rain
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Protecting your dog from the heat

If you live in a hot place, or it's summertime in your area, the hot pavement can do damage to your dog's feet. Placing shoes on him before you leave the house is a good idea.

Putting shoes on for a swim

It's not the best idea to take your dog into a pool, which is highly chlorinated. You also may not want your dog to damage your pool or leave behind his fluff and dander. You'd rather take him to the local beach or lake to cool off and get exercise on a hot day.

The problem is that beaches and lakes are often hazardous. There may be sharp rocks and sticks in and outside of the water. Getting your pup dog boots for swimming will ensure that he can have a good time in the water and be protected all at once.

Getting shoes for the winter

In the winter, people put deicer and salt on their sidewalks, roads, and driveways in order to melt the ice faster. However, these products are very harmful to dogs. The salt can give your dog's paws a chemical burn and cause him to limp.

Another wintertime danger is the snow itself. It can collect in your dog's paws and turn to ice, eventually scraping your dog's pads and slicing the webbing between their toes.

Ice is dangerous as well. Dogs can slip on it and injure themselves, causing internal and external damage to their bodies. Sharp ice can also hurt their paws.

Adorable Pug wearing red boots, in the snow in winter
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To prevent these types of wintertime-related injuries, outfit your dog with winter booties before going on a walk or letting him into your backyard. He may not be used to the booties and will walk funny at first, but he will get used to them throughout the season.

Protecting an already injured dog

If dogs are injured – say, they have arthritis in their toes, a toe sprain, calluses, or damaged pads – therapeutic dog boots can be used around the house or on walks. Your veterinarian will be able to recommend a good few pairs of these to keep your dog safe and comfortable.

Finding the right pair of dog shoes is critical to your pup's health. Make sure you take your dog to a pet shop to figure out his proper size, and to consult your vet if you have any questions.