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As winter continues, it’s important to remember that our pets also need protection from harsh weather. Short-haired dogs and breeds that are susceptible to the cold may need a dog jacket or sweater outdoors. And no matter how hardy your dog is, his paws should be protected from snow, ice, salt, and ice melt chemicals. Icy particles and snow can collect between his toes, and most road salts and deicers are toxic to dogs. Consider keeping his feet warm—and safe—with winter dog boots.
How to Choose the Right Dog Boots
- The material of the sole should be textured, with a good grip for traction
- Choose boots made from waterproof or water-resistant material
- The sole should be flexible so your dog can walk naturally
- Choose a boot with adjustable Velcro straps
- Most dogs don’t like the feel of shoes or boots. Prepare him by trying them on him in the house for short periods of time and praising him as he gets used to wearing them.
- Always check the manufacturer’s guidelines for size, and measure before you order.
- If your dog is ultra-sensitive, try starting with a pair of warm dog socks. These are also great to pair underneath booties for an even warmer feel.
- Paw balm is another great item to have on hand for winter, both for protection and for soothing cracked paws.
The boots below include different styles and features to help you choose the right winter boots for your dog.
Best Overall Winter Dog Boots
One of the biggest struggles with finding the perfect dog boot is finding one your dog will actually wear. Because this boot mimics the feeling of your dog’s paw pad, is lightweight, and doesn’t restrict the ankles, it is a favorite among owners. They are durably constructed of breathable tight weave mesh with rubberized synthetic leather uppers. These lightweight, rugged shoes are built with water-resistant ripstop material for added durability and help protect your pup’s paws from snow, ice, salt, heat, glass, thorns, and other hazards.
Runner-Up Best Overall Winter Dog Boots
These boots are not only easy to put on and take off, they maximize quality, safety, and fashion. With an anti-slip molded rubber bottom and water-resistant material, your dog’s feet will be warm and dry. The adjustable, reflective strips will keep your dog safe on night walks. With more than 1,000 4- and 5-star reviews, dog owners say these are the best dog boots they have purchased.
Most Comfortable Dog Boots
These boots come with a highly flexible PVC sole, which is great for sensitive dogs who may not feel comfortable with a rugged rubber sole. While the traction isn’t as great as the boots with thicker soles, it’s still enough to grip sidewalks and trails while still protecting the paws.
Best Budget Dog Boots
Perfect for those who prefer disposable OR reusable rubber boots, these colorful slip-ons are easy to toss in a bag and are great for dog owners who are on-the-go. The natural rubber boots are made to stay on without velcro, straps, or zippers. Pawz rubber dog boots are also great for dogs who have trouble walking in boots. Pull them on over top of a pair of dog socks, and your pup will be warm, protected, and comfortable.
Most Durable Dog Boots
These dog boots may be a little more expensive than others, but they’re worth the cost. These are some of the most durable dog boots on the market and will last you multiple seasons of wear and tear.
Most Fashionable Winter Dog Boots
These colorful boots have faux-fur lining and rugged anti-slip sole. The wide opening makes it easy to get them on your dog.
Check out more great options for top-rated dog boots. You may also consider investing in a dog winter coat or heated dog bed for the winter. Dogs in extremely snowy environments may benefit from weather-proof goggles.
Even if your dog wears boots, make sure to keep their paw pads from cracking by using a moisturizing paw balm for winter.
Dog Boots FAQ
Do dogs really need boots?
If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors — whether in summer or winter — investing in dog boots is a good idea. Paws are sensitive to extreme heat, extreme cold, and sharp particles such as ice shards or sticks while hiking.
Do dog feet get cold in the winter?
Dogs’ paw pads have high-fat content, which freezes less easily than other tissues. However, domesticated dogs are not all able to withstand icy conditions the way other canidae are. Some breeds withstand cold even worse than others, meaning dogs paws do get cold when exposed to prolonged icy temperatures.
Can snow hurt a dog's paws?
One of the biggest threats to your dog’s paw pads is the salt used to melt ice. If your dog’s paws are exposed to the salt for a prolonged time, it could lead to chemical burns. Your dog may also try to lick their paws or boots, ingesting the road salt. That’s why it’s always a good idea to clean and remove your dog’s boots immediately after entering the house.