As we dig out from the 2nd major storm of the winter, it
seems as that there is a need to protect dog’s paws from all the the evils that go along with the weather. (i.e., road salt, ice, clumping snow).
Because every dog has a different tolerance level as far
as putting something on their paws, you should take the dog’s
personality in account. There are a wide variety of products that
range from least bulky (and least amount of protection) to most bulky
(and greatest amount of protection).
For the dog that absolutely will not tolerate anything on its paws, I have found
Musher’s Secret to be the perfect “invisible boot”. This non-toxic,
non-allergenic wax forms a breathable bond with the dog’s paws. Originally
developed for sledding dogs, the product provides a great deal of protection
from road salt and other chemicals and also prevents snowballing on the hair
between the pads. It dries in seconds and will not stain carpet or furniture.
The wax also speeds the healing process on existing sores by keeping dirt and
other debris out of the wound making it useful outside of the winter months.
For the dog that is more tolerant of something on their paws but has not done
well with traditional boots, I have found PAWZ to be the answer. These rubber,
lightweight, reusable/disposable boots are very form fitting and seem to stay on
the dog’s paws well. The roughness of the surface that the dog is walking over
will dictate how long a set of PAWZ will last. There are 12 booties in each
package of PAWZ. While they don’t have much of an insulating benefit in the
winter, PAWS can be used throughout the year as they do make great pool liner
protectors in the summer as well as protect from lawn chemicals and hot
For the easy going dog that will let you do anything to them, traditional dog
boots provide the maximum protection but tend to be the most bulky. Stick with
something that is water-repellent and has good insulating properties like
neoprene. I try to impress upon my customers that traditional dog boots take
some amount of training and persistence. The quicker they can disconnect the
dog’s brain from the fact they have foreign objects on their feet and build that
association between putting the boots on and doing something fun (be it a walk
or hike through the woods), the easier the transition is. Rare is the dog that
wears the boots for the very first time and doesn’t know they are there.
Overall, consistancy is key. Everytime you head out for a walk in the snow with your dog, put the boots on and off you go!