Tips for Getting Your Dog into Boots
It’s important to maintain your dog’s regular exercise schedule – and yours too! – during the winter months. But, with the ground frozen and uneven, there’s a risk of injury to paws. Worse yet, once the deep freeze comes to stay, the sidewalks are so often strewn thick with salt or other de-icing chemical. The cold alone can harm your dog’s paws.
Certainly, when your dog is reluctant to step on the cold, cold ice, it’s time to at least try boots. So, you go out and buy a set that seem well put together and you slip them on your beloved canine companion.
Probably more often than not, what you’ll see next is your dog doing an odd kind of dance – lifting his paws high in the air, shaking them – and that’s just the beginning. It can proceed to an all-out campaign to remove the paw thingies, complete with biting and chewing.
Remember that, unlike us, your dog has no experience with having things on his/her feet. This is all new – so don’t give up hope. Here are some tips to keep the boots on – and paws protected from salt and de-icing chemicals. While cat booties are a fashion-only item, many of the same principles will apply.
• Start early – don’t wait until the dead of winter to try and get your dog used to the idea – early fall is a good choice.
• Make it quick – don’t make a big production out of slipping the boots on, if you can help it.
• If they are making a huge production out of it despite your best efforts, try slipping them on first without fastening them, and/or try one paw at a time.
• Keep them busy – rather than stopping to see what they’ll do or admire how they look, play with your dog or otherwise engage with them immediately so you take their focus off the new sensation.
• Start slow – take them for a shorter, quick walk immediately, rather than a long hike right off the bat.
• Get a good fit – make sure the paws have enough room in there without them chafing.
• Boot liners are an extra purchase but they can help with fit and making the boots super comfortable.
Remember that your dog may have one attitude indoors and then completely forget about them once they get out there in the great outdoors.
And last but definitely not least – don’t forget the praise! Make sure you let them know how great they’re doing every step of the way.
To your pets best health!
Dr. Gary Arzem, Newmarket’s Veterinarian
About Dr. Arzem and The North Yonge Veterinary Hospital:
Dr. Gary Arzem received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from The Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Ontario in 1989. He is the founder and head veterinarian at The North Yonge Veterinary Hospital in Newmarket, Ontario. Having practiced veterinary medicine for more than 25 years, his skills and special interests include surgery, dentistry, diagnostic imaging (ultrasound and radiography), dermatology, internal medicine, cardiology, ophthalmology and public health as it relates to pets and their owners. He is a founding member of The Veterinary Emergency Clinic of York Region in Newmarket. Dr. Arzem is recognized as an educational leader in the community and is involved with The Ontario Veterinary College, York Region District School Board, Simcoe County Board of Education, and Seneca College’s Co-Operative Education Programs. Dr. Arzem also participates in several continuing education conferences, including The North American and Western Veterinary Conferences and he is actively involved in fundraising for a number of charitable organizations, such as The Pet Trust Fund, The Farley Foundation, The Hospital for Sick Children and the Canadian Cancer Society. He has also appeared on City T.V.’s Animal House Calls and Rogers Your Pet Your Vet television shows and has written several articles for Newmarket’s Snapd Newspapers.