These Boots Are Made For Walking
Updated: Oct 6, 2019
Shoes for dogs?! That's crazy!
Well, not really. Many dogs lose muscle tone as they grow older, which can lead to decreased strength and loss of stability on hard surfaces.
"Booties," as they're often called, can provide traction for older dogs, protection from rugged terrain, and helps those with disabilities find comfort in daily life. They can also lead to older dogs gaining their confidence back. Here we will outline the various types of canine footwear that can be helpful to dogs with mobility problems specifically.
Non-slip socks are "dipped" in a pliable rubber coating which provides grip around the entire paw and gives your senior dog traction on slippery surfaces such as hardwood floors, tile and linoleum. This is an ideal option if your dog has decreased muscle tone in his or her hind legs, causing their legs to slip out from beneath them which can lead to long-lasting injury. These socks are usually lightweight, somewhat waterproof and comfortable for most dogs, and can be worn on all four feet or just the back feet if your dog's instability lies in his hind end. Non-slip socks are not intended for outdoor use.
All-terrain boots afford additional traction and protection when outdoors on hiking trails or at the park due to their rugged, thick, rubber soles. While most seniors won't be out climbing mountains or walking on sharp, slippery rocks, these boots also protect your dog's feet from hot pavement and extreme elements such as snow and ice.
Waterproof boots are especially helpful for rainy day walking in the spring and fall! These lightweight boots "go on easily, allow full paw movement and fit securely without zippers or straps," according to PAWZ. Waterproof boots provide light traction on slippery floors, though not as much as the other two options listed here. The rubber material is less breathable than nylon or cotton boots, so it's important to remove these boots when not in use as sweat can get trapped in the small spaces between the paw pads and can lead to possible skin irritation and infection.
When considering non-slip boots for your senior dog, proper fit is important. Look for booties that fit somewhat snug, but still provide a comfortable fit. You should be able to put the booties on easily, but they should not slip down when your dog is walking or running. Velcro around the leg portion of the bootie will help keep your dog comfortable and ensure the shoe does not slide off.
If booties aren't an option, toenail grips may provide the additional traction needed to keep your dog upright. You may also consider increasing the number of non-slip rugs in your home for senior dogs with arthritis, disabilities and other mobility problems.