Should Your Jack Wear Shoes?

A lot of people love to dress up their dogs. From costumes to fancy leashes and collars, to little hats and even backpacks. Some dogs even wear shoes.

What?

Really?

Yes!

Some shoes are for fashion, but a lot fulfill specific needs. Should your Jack be wearing shoes? Let's have a look.

Different Types of Doggy Shoes

Sure, the right shoes can make an outfit. But they can also make the difference between comfort and pain, and between safety and injury. In some kinds of dog racing, like sled racing, dog booties are even a requirement.

Non-slip

Slick surfaces can be difficult.

For older dogs and dogs with arthritis or other musculoskeletal problems, slick floors can be a real problem. My arthritic pup used to scramble to stand up on our wood floors, and would sometimes slip and fall on the kitchen tiles as well.

Non-slip booties can make a huge difference. They give traction on slick surfaces, allowing dogs to stand, sit, and walk with confidence.

Image via Amazon

Non-slip, or orthopedic booties are generally soft on all sides. They may extend up above the ankle, or sit lower on the leg. There are also sock-style booties. In all cases, though, the sole will have rubber bumps and grooves for traction.

There are a lot of brands on the market, and some are better than others. If you think your dog could benefit from orthopedic booties, ask your vet for a recommendation.

Rough surfaces

If your dog is an adventure dog, who loves hiking and the great outdoors, you might come across some situations where protective footwear is in order.

One of my favorite hikes travels across rough volcanic rock. I wouldn't dream of attempting it in bare feet. Why should my dog? Sturdy, firm-soled dog shoes will protect your friend's feet from unfriendly surfaces.

Image via Amazon

Hot weather

I lived in southern Arizona for many years, and in the summer, temperatures regularly go above 110 degrees Fahrenheit. That's an uncomfortable air temperature, but what about the sidewalk temperature? If you're used to wearing shoes, it's not something you're probably thinking about. But imagine trying to walk barefoot on a sidewalk that could fry an egg?

Sidewalk temps can easily reach 30 to 50 degrees hotter than the air temperature at any given time. And that can cause your dog serious burns.

Image via Amazon

Hot-weather dog shoes can help. Summer dog shoes are typically lightweight, with uppers of breathable mesh. They also come in sandal-styles. Most importantly, though, they have thick soles to protect your pup's feet from hot pavement.

Cold weather

In the winter, you don't just have to worry about the cold. That's bad enough. You also have to worry about slipping on ice. On top of that, many cities use salt and grit to de-ice sidewalks. And even a little bit of that can cause your dog a lot of pain.

Image via Amazon

Winter doggy boots will keep the salt and grit away from your pup's paws. A good pair will also have non-slip bottoms to help your dog walk confidently over icy surfaces. And some kinds even have uppers that are insulated against the cold.

Image via Ruffwear

Get the Right Size!

Nobody likes wearing the wrong size shoe, and your dog won't either. If you can, visit a pet store in person with your pup and ask if they have any floor models you can try on. If you're buying online, measure your pup's feet carefully and use the seller's size guide.

How to Get Your Jack Used to Shoes

My dog hates shoes. Hates them. And even though he hates the salt the neighbors use to melt sidewalk ice even more, it's always a fight. But even though the idea of wearing shoes is unnatural for a dog, they can come to accept it.

Allow your pup time to get used to his or her new footwear. Try one shoe at a time, then maybe more. Leave them on for a short time at home, and reward your dog for wearing them patiently. Never punish your dog if they don't take to the very human idea of wearing shoes.

Should Your Jack Be Wearing Shoes?

Under normal circumstances, probably not. Dogs' feet evolved to handle a variety of terrains, and if your pup is getting around with no problems, then he or she will not need shoes under most circumstances.

However, if your Jack is having trouble with slippery surfaces, then a pair of non-slip booties can make a huge difference in his or her ability to get around. And if you're going on an outdoor adventure in extreme terrain, some protection may well be in order.

Does your Jack have a favorite pair of kicks? Drop us a photo!