When we get up in the morning, we are sure to put on shoes before we go outside (well, that is if you’re not a free spirit who loves the feel of the Earth beneath your feet. But, that’s something different). We wear protection on our feet because the bottoms of our feet are quite sensitive. You know how unpleasant it is if you step on something sharp, hot, or cold with your bare feet.
Now, just imagine what your dog feels when they are walking outside. It makes you wonder why more people have dog paw protection. Sometimes it could be something that doesn’t even register in their mind, other times it could be because they don’t know what they should look for when choosing the best paw protection for dogs, simply because there are just so many products on the market.
If either of these applies to you, then you are in the right place! We are going to talk to you about paw protection for dogs and everything you need to know to choose a product that’s right for your pup.
Without further ado, let’s get right to it!
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Dog Paw Anatomy
Before we start talking about the different types of dog paw protection and what you should look for when choosing a product, you first have to understand that anatomy of your dog’s paw.
- A – Claw
- B – Digital Pads – Load Bearing, Shock Absorbing Pad
- C – Metacarpal Pad - Load Bearing, Shock Absorbing Pad
- D – Dewclaw – Help to grip bones
- E – Carpal Pad – Skid and Traction on a Slope or While Stopping
Some interesting things about your dog’s paws:
- The pads give your dog’s feet some protection when they are walking on rougher terrain. When a dog is outside often and are exposed to rough surfaces like pavement, asphalt, or just through gravel, they will have thicker, rougher paw skin. Dogs who stay inside most of the time will have softer pads. It is the pads that helps your dog distinguish what type of terrain they are walking on.
- Dogs place most of their weight on their toes when they walk, which makes the digitigrade animals. This means that the bones in their toes encounters a lot of stress and it is important that the toes are cared for.
- Although the dewclaw doesn’t provide a whole lot of function when it comes to traction or digging, they are believed to help the dog get a better grasp on bones and other things like chew on.
- All dogs have dewclaws on their front paws (unless surgically removed by a vet), and occasionally will have dewclaws on the back paws. The primary reason the dewclaws are removed is to prevent them from getting snagged on things.
- If your dog’s feet smell like corn chips, they probably have a case of “Frito Feet.” This isn’t nearly as pleasant as you would think because that smell is a collection of bacteria and fungi growing in between their toes. Fortunately, this doesn’t lead to any harmful complications.
- Dogs, just like people, enjoy a good massage every now and then. The ASPCA recommends that to promote good circulation in your dog’s paw, give them a massage around the pads and in between the toes.
Different Types Of Dog Paw Protection
When it comes to protecting the pads of your pup’s paws, you can choose either a dog bootie or some paw protection wax. While it may not be necessary to use either products during the warmer months, you will want to use something to protect their pads during winter.
Winter can be downright brutal on your dog’s paws because they are exposed to the elements, but they also have the potential of being exposed to toxic chemicals or salt. The pads of their paws could become dry, cracked, cuts, frostbite, and even chemical burns.
When looking for a dog paw protection wax, you want to find one that uses 100% food grade wax that won’t hurt your dog in case they lick at their paws after application.
As for a bootie type product, there are plenty to choose from. These shoes will feature a rubber or silicone bottom, some kind of upper, and then Velcro to help hold the shoe on the dog’s foot.
Dog Paw Protection Product Mini Reviews
Of all the products on the market, here are four popular products for you to consider.
Pawz Water-Proof Dog Boot
The Pawz Water-Proof Dog Boot is the only disposable and reusable water-proof dog boot, as it is made from natural rubber. For those who are concerned about the rubber when it is thrown away, you can rest assured by knowing that the boots are 100% biodegradable.
Notable features of the product include:
- All natural materials, made in the USA
- Disposable, reusable, waterproof
- Bends with paw and absolutely stays on
- Protection from ice, snow, salt, lawn chemicals and hot surfaces
- Assists with traction control and allergies
One packet of the Pawz Water-Proof Dog Boot contains 12 booties, which is enough for three sets, which all the boots can be worn multiple times. Unlike booties with a hard sole and Velcro, you don’t have to worry about their paw’s movement as they run around because the Pawz Water-Proof Dog Boot act more like a sock, thus giving their feet free range of motion.
When we looked at the user reviews, we saw that 60% had great things to say about the ride on and left 4 or 5-star reviews. Of these reviews, people commented on how great the product was for winter conditions.
Customers with dogs that have long hair in between their toes were thankful for these because they were able to take their dog’s outside in the snow without any problems or having to lick their paws to get the compacted snow and salt out from between their toes.
So what did the remaining 40% of customers who left 3-star or below reviews have to say? The most common complaint customers had was that their dog’s nails poked through the boot. One customer remedied this by putting duct tape on the outside of the boot, which worked.
Other costumers likened the boots to large balloons because they felt the rubber was too flimsy. Another complaint customers had regarding the boots was that upon checking with their vet to see if the boots were okay to use, the vet said no, and that the top will constrict the dog’s feet too much, cutting off blood flow.
If your dog already has problems with dry, cracked, or even cut paws, you might want to find some kind of bandage. The Pawflex Bandages are designed to protect dog paw injuries from getting worse. They are designed to fit on their paws and stay in place with a non-slip grip at the wrist of their paws.
Notable features of this product include:
- Quick and easy to use bandages; no cutting, pulling or peeling, just press to secure or lift to release
- Versatile pads so you can use them on front or back paws
- Quick catch Velcro-type fastening system can be adjusted and readjusted over and over without compromising the security or integrity of the bandage
- Easy on, easy off super stretch breathable bandages made specifically for the paws.
- PawFlex unique non-slip grip feature at wrist assures minimum slippage even on the most active dogs
When we looked at the user reviews, we saw that 60% had great things to say about the ride on and left 4 or 5-star reviews. Of these reviews, people commented on how great the product was for protecting sores their dog’s had on the foot. Some people even combined this with a dog paw moisturizer or balm to help speed up the healing process. Customers felt that the bandage stayed on and their dog didn’t walk awkwardly while wearing it.
So what did the remaining 40% of customers who left 3-star or below reviews have to say? The most common complaint customers had was that the bandage didn’t work for their dogs. Some have said the bandage falls off within minutes after putting the bandage on. One customer said they had to use a baby sock and tape to keep the bandage on.
Mushers Secret Pet Paw Protection Wax
Unlike a lotion you’d apply to your own feet, the Musher's Secret Pet Paw Protection Wax is an all-natural wax-based cream that will protect your dog’s paws from sand, hot pavement, ice, and even salt. When you apply the cream to the pads of their feet (even between their toes!), it’ll dry within seconds to create a semi-permeable shield.
Notable features of this product include:
- Protects paws from sand, hot pavement, ice and salt with all natural 100-percent wax-based cream
- Perfect for mushing, hunting, walking or before any outdoor activity
- Easy-to-apply formula contains vitamin E to moisturize and help heal wounds and keep paws healthy
- Available in pack of 2.1-ounces
- Measures 3-inch length by 3-inch width 1-1/3 height
When we looked at the user reviews, we saw that 86% had great things to say about the ride on and left 4 or 5-star reviews. Of these reviews, people commented on how well this works for preventing salt-burns during the winter.
Some customers have said that they use the wax to keep from snow balls getting stuck between their dog’s pads or toes, others have said that the wax is a great alternative for boots, which their dog’s absolutely hated. Customers like that the wax doesn’t leave a residue after it’s been applied, which saves from any messy clean ups.
So what did the remaining 14% of customers who left 3-star or below reviews have to say? The most common complaint customers had was that the product isn’t packaged well enough to be shipped to hotter locations.
Some customers have said their wax arrived in a large box, which caused the packaging to break and the product to “melt” into the shipping box. One customer shared an instance where their pet was licking at their paws with the wax on it. Shortly after this, the dog vomited twice and seemed “out of it” for the rest of the day. The website does say that the product uses natural waxes and it could have a mild laxative effect.
Ultra-Paws Rugged Dog Boot
The Ultra Paws Rugged Dog Boot are designed for active dogs who run on all sorts of terrain. They are great for hunters and city life, as they can be used on asphalt, concrete, snow, and through the woods.
Notable features of these shoes include:
- Four sizes:
- Small 2 1/4"
- Medium 2 3/4"
- Large 3 ¼”
- X-Large 4”
- Easy to put on - difficult to slip off, two Velcro® straps with slides fasten the boots.
- Tough, water resistant 1000 denier nylon material with the top of the toe wrapped, sole is flexible, skid-resistant, recycled tire material.
- The sole performs in wet and dry, hot and cold conditions and its recycled tire sole is suited for tougher conditions
When we looked at the user reviews, we saw that 60% had great things to say about the ride on and left 4 or 5-star reviews. Of these reviews, people commented on how well the boots fit and protected their dog’s feet when running on jagged rocks, brush, or even hot asphalt during the summer. They also liked that the shoe features two straps which help keep the shoe on the paw.
So what did the remaining 40% of customers who left 3-star or below reviews have to say? The most common complaint customers had were the shoes slipped off their dog’s feet whenever they tried walking them. They said the shoe initially fit their paws, but when they walked around, even for a few minutes, the boots would slide down and fly off.
This was a big problem mainly with the front paws, as the boots for the back paws stayed in place fine. Another complaint suggests that these boots are best for city walking, because after one day of hiking in the mountains, the boots were left unusable.
Wrap Up: Dog Paw Protection
Our dogs are important to us, there’s no doubt about that. So it shouldn’t be so crazy to want to do whatever you can to make sure they are comfortable and their feet are protected from the elements. You could choose booties or some sort of wax or balm.
However, when you’re looking at which products you should invest your money in, just from these reviews, it would appear that a wax is the better option. It creates a barrier from harmful chemicals and salt, but unlike booties, it doesn’t impede your dog’s circulation around its feet.
By putting a dog paw protection cream on your dog’s paw pads, you’re keeping them nourished and moisturized so they don’t crack and get sore. By using a cream now, you’ll be less likely to need a bandage later on!