Although they might look like a silly fashion accessory, dog shoes have an important purpose for our canine friends, which is protecting their feet. Whether you are hoping to protect your dog’s feet from snow, ice, heat, or jagged terrain, there is a shoe to do the job.
Are dog shoes really necessary, though? Does every dog need a pair of shoes, just certain dogs, or is it all a little bit too extra? Wherever you stand when it comes to clothes for dogs, let’s get to the bottom of shoes for dogs.
Different Types of Dog Shoes
Just like with our own shoes, there are different types of dog shoes to accommodate weather conditions and the overall function of the shoe. Typically, there are dog shoes available for hot, cold, wet, and indoor conditions.
Summer Shoes for Dogs
Dog shoes to be used in the summer usually have thicker soles to protect from the hot ground. They are often made using breathable fabric to keep your dog’s paws cool, but they usually aren’t waterproof as a result.
Winter Shoes for Dogs
Winter dog shoes should be insulated with a soft lining to protect from the cold and ice. They usually have rugged soles to provide enough traction to comfortably walk on ice and they are almost always waterproof, so you shouldn’t need to worry about your dog’s paws becoming wet and cold.
The most common type of “rain boot” for a dog is thin and resembles a balloon. They are designed to protect from water and mud while being a comfortable experience for your dog. Some owners use them as a bandage to protect wounds on their dog’s paws from becoming more irritated.
Indoor Dog Shoes
These usually resemble socks with grips on the bottom. They are used to help elderly dogs with ease around the house or give confidence to dogs learning how to walk on slippery hardwood floors. It’s important to note that no dog shoe should be left on all day as your dog’s paws will need time to breathe without shoes.
1. WUXIAN Waterproof Dog Shoes
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Wuxian Waterproof Dog Shoes are a good lightweight choice for daily wear in snow, heat, and rain. These high-quality shoes are non-slip and you won’t have to worry about being seen in the dark thanks to the attention given to the adjustable reflective straps.
4 – 8 (2.56 x 1.97 inches – 3.35 x 2.95 inches)
- Water resistant material keeps your pup’s feet dry in snowy and wet conditions
- Adjustable reflective straps for increased visibility at night
- Wide split seam design makes them easier to put on than other dog shoes
- Set of 4
These shoes are easy to put on your dog’s feet and the double strap does a great job keeping them secure. They’re lightweight enough to wear inside but provide enough protection to play outside in the snow too!
Although your pup shouldn’t have trouble playing in the snow, these shoes don’t provide enough traction for icy conditions. Additionally, there aren’t a lot of sizes to choose from so you might have trouble finding the right fit for your dog.
2. My Busy Dog Water Resistant Dog Shoes
- RUGGED: Tough waterproof anti slip sole provides stability and traction, protection from sharp...
- QUALITY: Our shoes have a rugged sole and high quality fabrics that are then sewn together (not...
- SIZING: Use the size chart located in the pictures to determine the right size shoe for your dog's...
- CONVENIENT: Water resistant shoes keep paws dry and warm. No more wiping muddy or sandy paws after...
- TESTED BY MY FAMILY. PERFECT FOR YOURS. As a small, family run, USA business your happiness is our...
These well-constructed dog shoes have an extra rugged sole to provide necessary traction against ice and protection from salt, sharp terrain, and other possible hazards. The range of sizes available should accommodate most dog breeds, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding a pair to fit your pup!
1 – 8 (1.5 – 3.25 inches wide)
- Rugged sole protects your pup’s feet from rough terrain, heat, snow, and salt
- Available in red, orange, black, and green
- Reflective straps for increased visibility at nighttime
- Set of 4
The rubber sole provides ample protection for your dog’s paws whether they are conquering rocky terrain, heat, or snow. The large range of sizes makes them a great fit for most dog breeds.
Due to the short height on these shoes, they might rub on your dog’s dew claw resulting in raw skin and bleeding, so if they don’t seem to be a perfect fit, make sure you keep a close eye on them at first. Additionally, the straight design can be difficult for some paws to fit into. Other than that, it’s full steam ahead. Just like you’d want your own pair of shoes to fit right or it’ll hurt your feet, the same can be true for dogs!
3. Ultra Paws Durable Dog Boots
- Great traction for senior dogs or with hip conditions that have trouble with slippery floors.
- Flexible, skid-resistant sole performs in wet and dry, hot and cold conditions.
- Easy to put on with wide split seam top opening - difficult to slip off.
- Velcro straps for secure closure, with generous foam to cushion the grip.
- Measure paw width for best fit: Petite 1 ¼", X-Small 1 ¾", Small 2 ¼", Med 2 ¾", Large 3 ¼",...
The soles on these durable dog shoes are made from recycled tires, so you can be sure that they are tough and withstand most environmental hazards whether it is snow, ice, heat, or burrs. Unlike the other options on this list, these shoes have foam pads inserted to cushion your dog’s paws; a feature that we really like!
Petite – Extra Large (1 ¼ – 4 inches wide)
- Available in black and red
- Foam-padded Velcro strips for increased comfort and security
- Machine washable
- Set of 4
Ultra Paws Durable Dog Boots provide excellent traction on rugged terrain and hardwood flooring. They are easy to keep clean using the washing machine (cold water + air dry) and hold up well to light-duty use.
These shoes have a stiff feel compared to the other options on this list. Although they provide enough traction for ice, they aren’t the best shoe to use in heavy snow due to the light material.
4. HiPaw Breathable Mesh Dog Boots
- Attention: If the booties have any problem, please contact Seller Hipaw. For example, size don’t...
- Size: Please measure the paw before ordering. Then refer to size chart to choose applicable size.
- Material: Dual mesh material is breathable, preventing the paws from hot and muggy.
- Nonslip: Rubber sole protects the paws from hot pavement, sharp rocks, broken glass, burrs and so...
- Occasion: Suitable for indoor, hardwood floor, lawn, hot pavement daily use.
These dog shoes are great for summer weather and protecting your pup from hot pavement and potential safety concerns lurking in the grass. If you are worried about your dog’s paws becoming too hot and sweaty, the mesh fabric on the shoes is completely breathable. The flexible top cuffs provide additional comfort for your pup while still being secure on their paws.
S – XXL (2.35 x 2.15 inches – 3.74 x 3.15 inches)
- Available in black, blue, and red
- Made from breathable mesh fabric ideal for the summer months
- Flexible cuffs provide additional comfort for your dog’s paws
- Set of 4
These shoes provide great protection from heat, broken glass, rocks, burrs, ice, and salt. The breathable mesh fabric makes them an ideal choice for summer, but they should provide enough protection for quick outings in cooler temperatures too.
They aren’t sized to fit smaller dog breeds. The lightweight design of these shoes makes them less durable than the other options on this list so they might need to be replaced sooner.
5. Canine Equipment Ultimate Trail Dog Boots
- Protect you dogs feet from sharp rocks, twig, branches, hot pavement and more
- All terrain boots are made from recycled rubber soles that improve traction and a water resistant...
- Front and hind boots are sized differently for optimal fit with a cinch closure for a secure fit
- Each set contains 4 boots and 1 garment bag for easy machine washing
- Size medium fits a paw width of 2-1/2-inch
If you want to take your dog hiking with you, these durable dog shoes might be a good fit. Designed to hold up against tough terrain like rocks, sticks, and burrs, your dog will feel comfort with every step. Unlike the other options on this list, the front and hind paw shoes are sized differently to accommodate the natural sizing of your dog’s paws. A great attention to detail, and worthy of the premium price.
X-Small – X-Large (1 ¾ – 3 ½ inches wide)
- Front and hind paws are sized differently for a perfect fit that reflects the natural sizing of your dog’s paws
- Rubber sole provides enhanced traction on all types of terrain
- Durable, high-quality construction
- Set of 4
These dog shoes are designed to hold-up on most types of terrain thanks to their thick, rubber sole and high-quality construction. The fit of these shoes is more realistic thanks to the slightly different sizing for front and hind paws.
The Velcro closure isn’t as snug as the other options on this list, making them a bit harder to keep on some paws. There isn’t a noticeable reflective band on these shoes making them more difficult to see in the dark.
Tips for Getting Your Dog to Wear Shoes
Getting your dog to wear shoes can take a little bit of training and perseverance, but it can be done! Here are some tips for helping your pup get used to his new shoes.
A Good Fit
For your dog to get the best experience from their shoes, they should be put on while your dog is standing. This ensures that will stay securely fastened until you take them off. A properly fitting dog shoe will be snug, but not too tight.
Most dogs have no problem doing something they don’t like if it means they get a reward. This could be a treat, playtime with a special toy, or immediately going outside to play once the shoes are on. It won’t take long for your dog to associate putting their shoes on with something fun!
Before going on any long adventures, it’s a good idea to have your dog practice around the house or in the yard to get used to walking in their new shoes. Keep an eye on the fit during this time, as you will want to ensure the shoes aren’t causing discomfort.
After your dog has worn their new shoes, it can be encouraging to hear praise from you for the great job they did, and they will be more willing to try their shoes out again.
What To Look For When Shopping for Dog Shoes
Before placing the order for your pup’s first set of shoes, consider the reason for the purchase because not every shoe is made the same. There are waterproof shoes for wet conditions, insulated dog shoes for snow, and shoes that provide improved traction for ice or uneven terrain.
There are also shoes that exist purely for fashion so it’s important to recognize the difference between fashionable dog shoes and practical dog shoes. (Hint: Fashionable/novelty dog shoes are the ones that look like miniature human shoes and they don’t always provide a safe fit!)
But does your dog need shoes? If your dog is particularly active or joins you on your fitness excursions, having shoes will help a lot with protecting the soft pads on their feet and prevent their skin from becoming raw or injured. Additionally, if you are from a particularly cold climate, shoes will protect your dog’s feet from freezing temperatures and salt. Don’t forget – dog shoes are equally important in the summer. If your feet are burning on asphalt, your dog’s feet will too.
There are also lightweight dog shoes available that were designed to provide traction for elderly dogs who have become wobbly on their feet and give confidence to nervous pups. Most of these shoes are intended for indoor use and will not accommodate cold temperatures or long adventures.
To get the best fit, look for dog shoes with flexible soles and easy to secure to your dog’s feet using adjustable Velcro straps. Ideally, the shoe will have a tiny bit of wiggle room for added comfort, but you don’t want them to be too loose or you’ll risk them falling off. Shoes with a wide-split seam will be easier to fit over your dog’s feet; an important feature if you’re worried about how your pup will react to their new footwear.
Dog shoes with textured rubber soles are more durable than disposable “balloon-style” shoes and will do a better job protecting your dog’s feet from sharp surfaces. They also provide more traction on ice and uneven terrain. To keep your dog’s feet clean and dry, look for shoes that have been made using water-resistant material like nylon or leather (real and synthetic).
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you make dog shoes?
Yes! There are several dog shoe patterns available for free online that include detailed instructions for making your own set using fairly inexpensive fabrics. For a quick DIY option, you can make dog shoes using baby socks and balloons.
Where can I buy dog shoes?
You can purchase dog shoes locally from most big-name pet stores. Local craft sales are a good place to look too, but this will depend largely on where you live. If you can’t find what you’re looking for nearby, you’ll have no trouble finding dog shoes online through Amazon, specialty pet stores, or handcrafted options.
What are dog shoes for?
Dog shoes might seem like a silly accessory, but they actually protect the soft pads on your dog’s paws from injury. If you’re active and plan on taking your dog running or hiking, shoes will protect their paws from rough terrain, sharp objects, ice, and heat. Even if you aren’t active, your dog will benefit from the added protection, especially during harsh weather conditions.
How do I pick the right size of shoe for my dog?
The best way to pick the right size of shoe for your dog is to measure one of their front paws. You can do this by marking the front and back of their paw (including trimmed toenails) on a piece of blank paper. From here, measure the distance between the lines. To get the width measurement, mark the left and right size of the paw and measure the distance between markings.
Do dog shoes for scratching work?
Yes! Some owners will use thin dog shoes or socks to keep their dog’s paws from scratching the floor or themselves. If your dog is scratching from allergies or constantly licking their paws, putting fitted dog socks on their paws throughout the day is a good way to curb the behavior.