Last night, I had a dream that I woke up, walked out to the living room to look out my window and my entire deck was covered in snow. In Alaska, we have Termination Dust already and everyone up here knows that snow is on the way. So, the time has come to protect my dogs. Dog shoes are the only thing that keeps their paws safe.
Yesterday, I started preparing my deck and all the furniture on it for snow to come. Atlas will be experiencing her second winter this year, last year she was just a pup, so it doesn’t count. With snow coming, this means I also need to order her shoes in order to take her for walks.
Did you know that dogs lose heat through their feet as well as their heads? Just like humans? That means, that if you live in a cold climate, your dog’s feet should be protected with proper foot wear when you take them out.
Dog Shoes. Yes, They’re Important.
In this cold climate that I live in, because dogs feet are vulnerable, it’s necessary for us dog owners to have shoes/booties for our dogs. In Alaska, it can get as low as -30 degrees F in Anchorage, and in other places like Barrow, it can get to -120 Degrees F.
In the super frigid areas, like Barrow, you can get frostbite within just 30 seconds of exposure. It is always recommended that when dogs go out, that they are completely protected against the elements, especially in those temperatures.
Honestly, if I lived in Barrow, I don’t know if I would have a dog. I’d be scared to death of them having to go outside unless they had a sweater on, a coat, socks, booties, a hat…. I feel like I’m missing more for them to go outside.
In Fairbanks, it also gets on average -50 degrees F during the winter. A lot of people have dogs that live in that city, especially since many of them participate in the Iditarod, which, if you don’t know, is a dog race up here.
The Iditarod is a 938-mile race that lasts for about 8-15 days. Each team has 14 dogs and the musher. They start the race in early March when the temperatures aren’t at their coldest, but we still see the negatives sometimes in March. Dogs in the Iditarod always wear foot protection, no matter what.
Socks or Shoes?
I’ve had people ask me if socks are fine for letting dogs out, and I always respond with, “It depends, does it snow where you’re at?”
When I think of dog apparel, I think of what we wear outside. Imagine walking out in the snow with just socks on. First, the snow is going to stick to your socks like crazy. Two, your feet are going to get cold, very fast. Three, definitely not waterproof, so the water will seep through, your feet will get cold and when you attempt to come back inside, snow will be caked all over your socks.
Now that I’ve said all that, do you think socks are sufficient?
Socks are good if you live in places like I mentioned above, Fairbanks, Barrow, brrrrr. Then I would have both socks and shoes on my dog. I would bundle them up like I do my kids. It would look like Ralphie’s brother on A Christmas Story walking out of his house and not able to put his arms down. Same concept, just with my dogs.
What Shoes Are Best?
Okay, this is the big question, isn’t it? How do you know what style of shoes are best? Loaded question, with a great answer! First, are they adjustable? Not all dogs feet are measured well. Let’s face it, it’s like buying something online for yourself that says, “One size fits all.” We all know how well that works!
Dog shoes come in, Small, Medium, Large, XLarge. Well, that’s just great. Dogs shoes aren’t like buying shoes for yourself. You obviously know if you’re a size 7, so you order a size 7. Their paws though? They come in every size possible!
I have a tiny Chihuahua that has feet the size of my thumb nail. Size small is definitely not able to fit her. It’s more like I have to take a hair tie and wrap it around her foot to hold that shoe on, but not so tight that it cuts off her circulation. My dilemma.
Find ones that have adjustable Velcro straps that can wrap around the paws.
Look for ones that have an actual sole on the bottom of the shoe. If it’s more like a sock, forget it! Unless, you’re looking for socks of course.
Where To Find Dog Shoes.
I keep bringing up these loaded topics; Where do I find these shoes? Almost every pet store has them, honestly. Pet Smart, Petco, my favorite, Bitch New York, and a plethora of other stores.
They all have shoes that they claim are the best out of every other outlet you can shop from. They might be right, comparatively. Meaning, they have more than just the standard Small through XLarge sizes. They might have XXSmall, they might have XXXLarge, etc.
Maybe the place you’re shopping from has really good prices or a large selection of colors. Though I will say, it’s best to stick with black. Face it, they’re shoes for your dog to go outside and go to the bathroom. Buying white, or any other light color could be a huge mistake for you in the long run.
Find Thoughts About Dog Shoes.
As you read, in Alaska where I live, dogs should always wear shoes when they go outside. If you’re in Florida reading this, you might find it silly that we put shoes on our dogs, but visit Alaska…In January. You’ll figure it out as soon as you step out of the airport.
Alaska is a harsh climate, along with a lot of Mid-Western states. Minnesota sees frigid temperatures, Upper Eastern Coast, Pacific Northwest, Canada. So many states and countries experience cold climates and it’s definitely animal abuse to force your dogs outside without shoes on for the cold weather.
Take it this way, go outside barefoot. If your feet get cold, theirs do too. Yes, they have calluses that have formed so their feet aren’t as fragile or susceptible as ours, but they also don’t have a lot of fur on their feet, unless their a Tibetan Mastiff. Then, they probably have very furry feet! You might not need shoes for those breeds. I’ve never had a Tibetan, but they look pretty warm and covered in fur.
Best thing to do is observe your dogs behavior when they go outdoors. If they lift their paws when it’s cold out, they’re telling you their feet are cold. Get them shoes.
If they simply stand around for a long time without lifting their paws, then maybe they’re fine. But, keep watch and base it on how cold it is. Protect your furry friends, they’re part of the family!
What do you use for your dogs in the cold climate? Share your pictures with the rest of us and where you shop!
10 thoughts on “Dog Shoes – You Might Need Them.”
I see you mentioned dog shoes for freezing temperatures, but would you suggest them for extremely hot surfaces like concrete or sand? Or would this be too hot for them? I’ve always wondered if dogs could even feel anything since their pads are so much thicker than that of a human’s.
You’re right actually. Extremely hot surfaces burn dogs pads on their feet, so shoes should be required for very hot places as well. In Alaska when it starts to get cold, I often forget about living in Hawaii when the pavement or sand would get so hot, it would burn my feet within seconds.
Much as people don’t know, dogs do feel everything through their feet. Their paws are delicate when they’re pups, but after walking them and conditioning their paws, they start to develop calluses just like we do if we go without shoes for long periods of time.
I’ve seen dogs paws get burned before and it can be extremely painful and leads to severe burns on their paws, which I’d imagine is very painful for them.
Thank you for adding that! I will have to be sure to do a part 2 for shoes strictly for hot climate.
To be honest, I never thought about dogs having shoes, but I don’t live in a place where the temperatures can drop to -50f.
If we get -10 in the UK then for us that is cold but that is extremely rare.
Not sure how we could cope with a climate like that. A little snow here and everything grinds to a halt.
How does your dog manage to do its business outside without harming itself?
I know shoes are so important but aren’t they uncomfortable. I mean do you have your dog’s feet measured to ensure they fit correctly?
Thank you for sharing and I will be thinking about just how lucky we are even if the weather is terrible most of the time.
The dogs do have to get used to wearing shoes, that’s for sure! They typically walk awkwardly around the house while lifting their paws one at a time. It takes about 3-5 times of putting shoes on them before they get used to them.
Also, yes, my dogs can sometimes have a hard time doing their business outside when it’s extremely cold. I wrote an article https://katrinaspetapparel.com/dog-clothes-why-theyre-necessary/ here explaining why dogs need to be protected in the extreme climates we get up here. My dogs can get so cold that they literally flop over onto their sides when our temperatures drop to the extremes. It can be scary, and I never leave them outside unattended when it’s super cold for this reason.
Thanks for reading this! I appreciate it!
This is a really interesting article and is something I’ve never thought about before. I have always heard that “if you are cold then they are cold” when people are putting their dogs outside in the Wintry months. Investing in dog shoes seems like a great idea to keep their little feet warm for walks in the cold climate. Some dog breeds may not need them, but I imagine many of them could benefit from these and have a much more comfortable outdoor experience. Thanks for enlightening me on this subject!
Anytime Shyla! I’m glad you found this useful. Yes, if you’re cold, then your dog is cold as well – depending on their level of fur protection of course. I have all short haired dogs, so I know that if I’m cold, they’re cold as well. I always think about their comfort and never just mine when it’s winter time, or even summer time.
Thanks for reading!
I never thought that dog socks were even a thing! I have heard warnings about bringing dogs out for walks in hot weather, so it does make sense that someone would have come up with the idea of them. Do you think dogs would react well to wearing them or would it be similar to a baby pulling off their socks every minute hehe?
Very insightful, thanks for sharing it.
I’ve had to train my dogs to wear their socks I’m afraid. It usually only takes a few times for them to get the hang of them before I take them outside with them on. I made that mistake a long time ago, taking my dog out before they were ready and they lost two of the socks. I had to buy a new set for $30. So, now I train them indoors first and then take them outside after they’re okay with them on in the house.
For very hot weather, it’s definitely recommended though!! Their feet scorch and burn and blister. It’s really sad when it happens. 🙁
Thanks for reading!!
Great information and very insightful, thank you.
Thank you! Glad you liked the information!