Can Dogs Run With Boots?

by Rob Hainer
    Sled dogs often wear boots as they run to protect their feet from friction and cold.

    Sled dogs often wear boots as they run to protect their feet from friction and cold.

    Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

    Dog boots serve more function than fashion. They help protect your pup's paws, much like your shoes keep your feet safe. This can help him run in extreme weather conditions and over harsh terrain. Finding the right type of dog boots makes sure your pooch stays comfortable and able to move naturally while running.

    Boots offer protection for your dog's feet. When there's snow on the ground, for example, the boots keep your dog's feet dry and away from poisonous ice melt products. If you like to run on the road, the boots keep his paws separated from the hot asphalt, allowing him to run with you longer. They also provide traction, helpful in icy conditions -- often used by sled dogs during races -- as well as inside your home if you have slick floors, such as hardwood or laminate. When hiking or running off-road, boots help protect his paws from sharp objects such as sticks and rocks.

    Picking the right boots for your dog to run in is as important as picking your own running shoes. The boots must be soft and flexible; any boot with a thick, hard sole will slow down your dog and likely rub his feet raw as he moves. His boots must fit comfortably around his paws, not squeezing his toes together. Adjustable closures at the top of the boots help you keep them attached securely without causing discomfort.

    Before taking off for a run with your furry friend, give him time to break in his boots. Help him along by bending the boots between your fingers several times before putting them on his paws. Let him wear the boots around the house or yard for several days to make sure the fit is good and the boots are ready for a run. Using boot liners can help reduce any slippage; slide them on under the boots like you would socks under your shoes.

    Especially with a relatively new pair of boots, check your pup's feet often during your run. Look for red areas and abrasions where the boots are rubbing; in addition to being painful, any abrasion that breaks the skin could introduce infection into your dog's system. Check his pads as well. The more you run with your dog, the thinner the rubber boot bottoms will become. Eventually, your dog might wear through the bottoms and expose his pads to the harsh surface.

    Photo Credits

    • Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Rob Hainer began writing and editing for newspapers in 1992. He began his career as a photojournalist in the Army, and studied journalism at the University of Missouri. He worked as a copy editor and reporter at "The Marietta Daily Journal," the "Spartanburg Herald-Journal" and the "New Haven Register."

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