If you have ever taken a close look around your local pet store, you might have noticed something that seems a bit unusual: shoes for dogs. They come in several different colors and styles, but are they a necessity or more of a fashion statement? Does your four-legged companion really need shoes? Surprisingly, he might. Let’s take a closer look at some of the situations in which your dog might benefit from donning a pair of shoes or boots.

When Do Dogs Require Footwear?

We, humans, are including our canine companions in our daily activities than ever before. From running to hiking to exploring new places, we love bringing our best friends along on just about all of our adventures. Of course, part of adventuring involves being exposed to different conditions and situations. These changes could take a toll on a dog’s feet. Your pup’s pads are perfectly conditioned for the environment he is used to. Spending time in a different environment could result in lacerations, burns, blisters and other problems.

Here are a couple situations and environments when it might make sense to invest in booties for your furry friend.

Winter Shoes

Can you imagine going outside in the winter without boots (or at least a pair of shoes)? Probably not. So why would you expect your dog to? Snow and ice can lead to some pretty cold tootsies, especially if your dog enjoys going on long walks or spending a significant amount of time outside during the winter.

The cold isn’t the only thing to consider, though. For some dogs, winter booties are almost a must. If your dog has furry paws and collect snow and ice between their toes, a good pair of boots will help dramatically. Snow and ice between the toes is uncomfortable, and it can cause cuts. Investing in a pair of boots eliminates the problem.

Also, many types of salt and ice melter are toxic to dogs. It can cause sores on a dog’s pads and result in numerous health problems if ingested. Boots keep these products off your pet’s paws.

Summer Shoes

A good pair of shoes can be just as beneficial in the summer as in the winter, especially if your dog spends any time walking on asphalt. Asphalt gets extremely hot under the summer sun, and if your dog’s paws are not protected, he could get burned. Pick up a pair of breathable summer pet shoes to keep your walking partner’s pads protected all summer long.

Hiking Shoes

If you are planning on taking your dog on a long hike – especially in an area with new terrain – hiking boots could protect his paws from cuts and abrasions. While many people think that a dog’s pads are like a pair of shoes, they really aren’t. If your dog spends most of his time indoors or on soft surfaces like grass, his pads probably are not very tough. Taking a dog who is used to soft surfaces on a long hike through rocky terrain without some type of footwear would be like embarking on the journey yourself barefoot.

Pick up a pair of high-quality dog booties to keep your hiking companion safe and comfortable on the trail. Look for a pair with good tread for maximum protection and to help prevent slips and falls.

As a pet parent, keeping your dog safe is a huge responsibility.  While shoes may look a little silly and it might take your dog some time to get used to them, they do offer numerous benefits in certain situations. When shopping for shoes for your dog, be sure to choose the right size. The shoe should fit snugly without being too tight or rubbing.

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