You love hiking and so does your dog. Sometimes those trails can be ruff on your dogs paws. Investing in some of the dog boots for hiking may not be a bad idea.
Why hiking is beneficial for you and your dog
Whether you have mountain trails in your backyard or your dog just loves romping through a meadow, hiking with your dog has many benefits. Hiking is an excellent form of exercise, which all breeds, large or small, can benefit from. Not only does hiking positively impact your dogs health physically, but it’s also a great emotional bonding experience for you and your dog.
Tired dogs are happy dogs
Many behavioral issues stem from lack of stimulation, i.e your dog is bored. Especially with very active breeds, getting your dog outside and exercising should be an important part of your daily routine. We don’t all have the time each day to go for a long hike, but whenever you can, it’s a great activity for both you and your dog to get out of your normal environment, destress and let out some pent up energy. Coming home from a long hike and cuddling up on the couch with your pup is one of the best ways to spend an afternoon.
Why should I invest in dog boots, won’t my dog hate them?
Although your dog is meant to walk around outside, some surfaces can be rough on your dog’s paws. Hot pavement, icy roads, salt, and sand can wear away at your dog’s paws causing painful cracks and blisters. Boots can be a helpful way to combat any foot issues that may arise when walking or hiking with your dog.
While some dogs may dislike wearing boots when you first put them on, once they get used to wearing them, most dogs will tolerate dog boots for hiking or while walking in extreme temperatures. It’s important to allow your dog wear the boots for short periods before taking them out on the trail. This will not only get your dog over the “I hate these weird things on my feet” reaction, but also will allow the skin to form a callous so your dog doesn’t end up with hot spots. Think about it: You wouldn’t wear a brand new type of shoe on an all day hike or a long run. You would probably get blisters if you didn’t “train” your feet to get used to where that particular shoe rubs. You should always inspect your dog’s feet after a hike to ensure there are no blister or hot spots. Any cuts or scrapes need to be inspected to avoid infection. Trimming your dog’s nails is also important, as dew claws tend to cause rubbing in some boot styles.
Dog Boots for Hiking - Our Top Selections
- High Quality Vibram Soles
- Breathable Mesh Upper
- Velcro Closure
- Flexible and Comfortable
- Reflective Trim for Low Light Visibility
- Easy to Put on and Take Off
- Comes in 3 Colors
- Can Purchase Front and Back Set Separately if Needed
- More Expensive Than Competitors
- Can Cause Chaffing if your Dog Has Sensitive Paws (but they do offer socks)
- Sizing Runs Large
- Low Price Point
- Anti Slip Rubber Sole Similar to Ruffwear’s
- Product Looks Well Made
- Comes in 4 Colors
- Can Fall Off or Collect Sand/Dirt if You Have a Smaller Dog
- Can Cause Chaffing if Your Dog Has Dewclaws
- Not Actually Water Resistant
- May Not Stand Up to Heavy Use
- Durable Rubber Soles
- Velcro Closure
- Water Resistant and Breathable
- Reflective Stitching on Straps
- Sizing Runs Large
- Cannot Purchase Front and Back Sets Separately (only comes as group of 4)
- Only Comes in Black
- Fabric Doesn’t Seem as Durable as Ruffwear’s
Important Factors to Consider When Purchasing Dog Boots
Rubber soles are the best for standing up to the elements and wear & tear. Vibram is an Italian manufacturer of rubber outsoles, and they are widely regarded as the best you can get performance wise. Ruffwear uses Vibram soles in their Grip Trex All-Terrain model which is why it receives our #1 ranking. An anti-slip pattern also helps with grip.
Some materials are better than others when it comes to application. To get the most for your dollar, look for a boot with a breathable mesh upper. This allows the boot to dry quickly if it gets wet, and to let your dog’s paws breathe so they don’t get too hot in the summer. You can always add a boot liner for cold weather, if needed. I don’t particularly like snow boots just because they aren’t great for use year-round. But if you only need boots for winter, they are worth considering. Some boots will claim to be waterproof or resistant, but in reality none of them really are. Rather than trust this claim it’s better to opt for a boot that will dry quickly if it gets wet. Material also impacts durability, so you want to look for a mesh that can stand up to abrasion. Shoes don’t last forever, but you want to make sure you are able to get good use out of what you are paying for. Boots with reflective material are also a better choice because they help with visibility in low light situations.
Sizing and Adjustability
Most dog boots have velcro straps to help them stay on your dog’s feet. Properly fitted boots should not fall off, even when trekking through heavy mud. You don’t want to have to stop every 5 minutes to keep readjusting your dog’s footwear. Some brands like Ruffwear offer their boots in packs of 2 or 4. This is great because it allows you to order two different sizes if your dog has larger front paws. For example Dachshunds have massive front paws compared to their hind paws so they can scoop up more earth with their front “shovels” and fling it away without their back feet blocking it. So they are better suited to two sizes of footwear in many cases. That being said, short-legged breeds like Dachshunds, Corgis, and Basset Hounds often have trouble with boot fit. Making sure the strap can tighten enough for large feet with small ankles is important in this case. Brands that offer a wider range of sizes also tend to achieve a better fit. Just be aware that sizing tends to run large on most brands, so order accordingly.
If your dog doesn’t tolerate boots well, there are other ways to protect her paws. Getting boot liners like the Ruffwear’s Bark’n Boot Liners can help achieve a better fit. There are also boot alternatives like Musher’s Secret Pet Paw Protection Wax or Natural Dog Company PAWTECTION that form a semi permeable layer on your dog’s paws protecting them from sand, heat, snow, and ice. Protective wax is also great for soothing cracked or blistered paws after a long hike.
- Easy to Apply to Dog’s Paws
- Protects from Sand, Hot Pavement, Ice and Salt
- 100% Natural Wax-Based Cream
- Dries Fast to Form a Semi-Permeable Shield
- Moisturizes and Helps Heal Cracked or Damaged Paws
- Tub Container Means it Gets All Over Your Hands
- Stains Carpet if it’s not Dry
- Vegan, Organic, and Made in the USA
- Provides a Wax Barrier to Protect Paws From Heat, Cold, Sand, Salt and Snow
- 90 Satisfaction Guarantee from Seller
- Stick Packaging Means Less Mess
- Helps Heal Damaged or Cracked Paws
- Pleasant Smell From Natural Botanically
- Vet Recommended
- Dogs May Lick It Off (but it’s not bad for them)
- Can Get on Floors if Not Dry
- Some Dogs May Be Allergic/Sentitive to Ingredients