Your dog's feet are definitely a lot tougher than your own, but they're not exactly a pair of all-terrain tires. Heat, sharp objects and cold can harm your pooch's paws and cause serious pain if they're not protected.
And with the summer season fast approaching, it's important to be aware that the temperature of the asphalt is often far higher than that of the air.
The best way to protect your pal while still enjoying summer walks? A pair of dog shoes. Much more than a canine fashion statement, the right pair will keep your pet more comfortable in their outdoor adventures and protect them from injury.
Of course, not all dog shoes are built alike. To help you find the right pair for your best friend, we've gathered a collection of the best dog shoes to protect your dog from the heat and keep your summer fun rolling.
Dangers of Hot Pavement
At only 77 degrees, the pavement can reach a scorching 125 degrees. And at 87, it can reach temperatures of up to 143 degrees. That's hot enough to fry an egg!
Dr. Michelle Burch with Safe Hounds Pet Insurance has seen animals injured from playing fetch on hot pavement or even chasing children around a pool.
Of course, you may not be able to judge exactly how hot the pavement is on any given day. But a good rule of "paw" to remember is that if the pavement is too hot for you to walk on, it's also not safe for your dog. Try placing your bare feet on the pavement for 7 to 8 seconds. If you can't take the heat, neither can your pet.
Dr. Burch adds there can be more to consider when keeping your pet's paws safe during walks in hot weather. "Most dogs who are used to walking on the pavement even as the temperature increased have little to no effects on their paw pads or feet. The paw pad is thickened due to chronic activity. While a dog who is not used to being on the pavement and has spent most of their time indoors can develop burns and blistering paw pads."
Keep in mind how much activity your dog has when choosing the right paw protection. Just because your neighbor's dog does fine during warm weather doesn't mean that your pup will.
Now onto some shoes for your doggie.
Pawz Rubber Dog Boots (Good Economical Option)
These biodegradable and sustainably sourced booties are made from flexible rubber that easily slips onto your dog's paws with no extra straps or buckles (which is helpful if you have an especially wiggly pet).
Because they don't have a bulky sole like many other dog's shoes, pets tend to adjust to them more easily and have a better feel for the ground. And while they will protect your best friend from the summer heat, it's important to remember that this lighter sole is more vulnerable to hazards such as sharp objects or rocky terrain.
But if your pup is more of a dog about town, these boots stay on well and are a great option for casual walks.
Pawz boots come in packs of 12 and are available in 7 different sizes to fit every breed from Yorkies to Great Danes. And if you lose one or they wear out, no need to worry. These dog shoes are 100% biodegradable.
Pros: Economical, easy to put on, protection from heat and cold, sustainable, light and flexible sole, stay on well
Cons: Not for heavy hiking, don't protect from sharp objects
Ruffwear Grip Trex Dog Boots (Good for Hiking)
If you want to protect your dog from rough terrain as well as the heat, these hardy boots from Ruffwear make a good option for outdoor adventures with your best friend.
The rugged outer sole will give your dog traction and flexibility on tough parts of the trail, while the breathable mesh upper will keep her comfortable and cool.
These boots have a wide opening to make putting them on easier and feature a hook and loop closure. However, because there is very little material between the strap and the ankle, this shoe could cause chafing in some dogs if they're worn for extended periods of time. (Pairing them with dog socks and breaking them in on casual walks will help prevent abrasions).
Grip Trex shoes have a reflective trim for walking your dog in low light and are machine washable. Another plus is that they are sold in pairs of two as opposed to four. And as most dogs have slightly bigger front paws than back paws, this helps to give your pet a better fit. (We'll cover off how to measure your dog's paws later in this article.)
You'll find that these dog shoes are a bit on the pricey side, but for the active pooch, they could be a real paw saver on the trail.
Pros: Good traction, flexible, protection from heat, waterproof soles, wide opening, reflective strip, machine washable, sold in pairs of two
Cons: Pricey, closure could cause chafing
HiPaw Summer Breathable Dog Boot (Good Mid-Priced Boot)
With a breathable mesh upper, these well-reviewed dog boots were built with the summer heat in mind. They also have a rugged anti-slip sole and a rubber toe cap to protect your pooch from sharp thorns, glass and other hazards you might encounter while out and about with your best friend.
The v-cut on the top of the shoes makes them easier to get on, and they also have an adjustable velcro strap and reflective tape to keep your pet safe in the dark.
One drawback with these shoes is that they only come in five sizes and probably aren't the right choice for very small dogs. They are also sold in packs of four, which means you'll have to buy two different sizes if there's a significant difference between your dog's front and back paws.
That being said, these medium-priced shoes are durable and will definitely protect your dog's paw pads from scorching summer pavement.
Pros: Anti-skid, breathable mesh upper, protection from heat and other hazards, v-cut opening, reflective tape
Cons: Not for toy breeds, only sold in packs of 4
Bark Brite Neoprene Dog Boots (Good for Water Activities)
Maybe you have a dog that insists on playing lifeguard whenever you're in the pool. Or maybe they love to run around the rocks and sand close to the shore. In that case, your water puppy will need something to protect him from hot asphalt, sand and rocks.
These flexible and water-resistant neoprene booties conform to your dog's paws, have a non-slip rubber sole and are also puncture resistant. The slit at the back makes them easier to put on your pet, and they also have reflective velcro straps to help you adjust the size and protect your dog in low light conditions.
The one drawback with these high-quality boots is that some reviewers claim that they are not very breathable and make for sweaty paws. However, for moderate activity and playing around hot pool pavement or along the shore, these shoes get high marks.
Pros: Flexible, conform to your dog's feet, heat protection, puncture-resistant, reflective velcro straps
Cons: Some reviewers say they are not very breathable, only come in packs of 4
Canine Equipment Ultimate Trail Dog Boots (Good for Running)
These durable dog booties have a sole made from recycled rubber that gives your dog excellent traction and protection from both heat and sharp objects.
Reviewers also give them high marks for staying on your dog's feet. So whether you like to go running through the neighborhood or up a rocky trail, these shoes have your dog more than covered.
Another plus is that the front and back shoes are sized slightly differently to give your pet the best fit. They also have a cinch closure and come with a garment back so you can throw them in the wash.
These shoes come in five sizes, from x-small to x-large, and each set contains four boots. Complaints about these boots are few and far between, but some owners did mention a bit of chafing that they solved with a pair of dog socks.
Pros: Durable, stay on well, heat protection, front and back sized differently for better fit, machine washable
Cons: A few complaints about chafing
Qumy Dog Boots (Good All Round Boot)
Equally good for hot or cold weather, these Qumy dog boots have a tough, anti-slip sole and will protect your fur baby from hot pavement and sharp objects while still being soft and breathable.
They also have a wide-seam opening to make them easier to put on your pet and have adjustable, reflective strips for safety and a better fit.
These shoes come in eight different sizes and are washable by hand. The only downside is that they are only available in packs of four, which could cause sizing issues for some pups.
Pros: Durable, anti-slip, protection from heat and sharp objects, soft, breathable, wide opening, reflective adjustable strips
Cons: Only available in a four-pack
Expawlorer Dog Boots (Good Value for the Money)
Another solid choice to protect your dog from hot pavement is this mid-priced shoe from Expawlorer. The flexible, grooved sole provides good traction, while the wide seam opening makes them easy to put on your pet.
The reflective velcro straps make the shoes adjustable to your dog's paws and also offer protection when you're walking in the dark. These shoes are washable by hand, and reviewers say that they stay on well.
While available in a variety of sizes, these dog shoes only come in packs of four, which can present a sizing problem for some dogs.
Pros: Protection from heat, anti-slip, easy to put on, reflective, adjustable straps, stay on well
Cons: Only available in four-pack
Musher's Secret Paw Wax (Dog Shoe Alternative)
No matter how hard you try, there are some dogs that dig their heels in when it comes to wearing shoes. If your dog refuses to be anything but footloose and fancy-free, there are still ways to protect her.
First of all, remember to test the pavement with your own feet before walking. Again, if it's too hot for you as the dog owner, it will probably be too hot for your dog, and you will need some kind of paw protector. Also, be aware that long after the sun goes down, the asphalt holds on to the heat and can still be burning hot.
In addition to being careful about what hours you choose to walk your dog, you can also protect your pet's feet with Musher's Secret Paw Wax. Made from beeswax and other vegetable oils, this non-toxic blend provides a barrier against hot surfaces and won't harm your dog if they lick their feet.
Of course, unlike dog shoes, it won't protect your pal from rough terrain or sharp objects. But for the buddy who likes to go barefoot, it's a great alternative and much easier to put on their feet.
How to Measure Your Dog's Paws
We humans know just how uncomfortable a pair of shoes can be when they don't fit right, and the same goes for your dog. Whichever pair of shoes you decide to buy, be sure to read the manufacturer's sizing guidelines carefully.
According to Dr. Burch, dog shoes should be snug around the ankle with still a bit of space available at the toes. She also advises finding dog shoe companies that use foot length and weight measurements to ensure the most accurate and secure fit.
Many companies require that you trace the outlines of your pet's feet and then measure the size. Here are some tips for doing it correctly:
- Place one of your dog's front paws on a piece of paper.
- Be sure that you lift their other front paw up while doing this so that they have their full weight on the paw you're tracing.
- Trace the other front paw.
- Be sure to repeat the same process with the two back paws as they are often smaller than the front paws.
- To measure the width, grab a ruler and measure the outline of the paw at its widest point.
- To measure the length, measure from the longest toenail to the back of the heel.
Note: If there is a very large difference in the front and back paws, you may want to consider buying a shoe that is sold in packs of two to get a more accurate fit for your dog.
Take 'Er Easy
Though your dog's feet can take a little more abuse than your own, they still need to be protected from things like extreme heat, sharp objects and rough terrain to avoid injury.
A good pair of dog's shoes will help keep your pet safe and comfortable in their outdoor adventures, but be sure to give your pal time to adjust to her new kicks. Though many dogs feel awkward at first, they do get used to their new footwear with a little practice and patience.
At first, you may want to let your dog just sniff the shoes. Later you can try them on your pet without fastening them. When you are able to fasten the boots, be sure not to leave them on for very long the first time. You can extend the time your dog wears them little by little.
And as always, lots of praise and treats will help the process go more smoothly.
Don't be too discouraged if your pooch doesn't take to the shoes right away; it may take a few trial runs to find the best dog boots for your special friend. Be sure to take note of the return policy and keep your original packaging if you need to find a different pair. But keep in mind that even Amazon may not accept shoes that have been worn outside.
Before you know it, your best friend will adjust, and you'll be ready to take a walk in the summer heat while keeping her precious paws safe and comfortable. And that makes everyone a happier puppy!
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7 Best Dog Shoes for Hot Pavement: