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.
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.
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!