As a dog parent, I’m drawn to putting stuff on my dog – most times with no valid reason. It’s satisfying to have my dog in my Doc Martens or wrap her in towels. It’s pretty fun to do so, and it brings out my inner designer. Suppose you want to know if I’ve put her in baby’s shoes before, yes. Yes, I have. Is it a step in the right direction?
Keep reading to find out the benefits and possible risks of putting baby shoes on a dog. Without further ado, let’s get straight into it, shall we?
Can You Put Baby Shoes on a Dog?
For us humans, it’s next to impossible to walk out without a pair of shoes on our feet. The fact that we’re constantly on the go makes them an even bigger necessity. Even the little ones have gorgeous little booties on their feet despite their inability to stand on their two feet.
For dogs, however, that’s a whole different story. Before putting baby shoes on your fur baby, take time to acknowledge how sensitive their paws are. Science 101: Those squishy (and sometimes rough) points on their feet are pads. They:
- Offer added cushioning to shield their joints and bones from shock
- Offer insulation in case of extreme weather
- Provide friction when walking on soft surfaces
- Shield inner tissues from damage
If your pup’s pads cannot carry out any of the above functions, then yeah, they need an extra layer of protection. Baby shoes -or booties – will help cover your dog’s paws and secure them from harsh elements or even icy ground.
If you’re an avid netizen and you watch funny dog clips on YouTube, then you’ve probably come across uploads of dogs trying out baby shoes for the first time. Some find it cruel, others hilarious. Those who disagree with the idea consider baby shoes as a form of torture since the dogs don’t embrace them or feel comfy in them.
In actuality, baby shoes are bound to do wonders to your dog’s paws the more they wear them. Their initial reaction is similar to ours when we try out something we’ve never worn before, and it feels weird. However, as we wear them, the experience becomes second nature. We get used to it.
Does Your Dog Need Shoes?
Two critical factors to consider are the weather and your location. If your dog spends most of its time outside, ensure you keep an eye on the areas your dog walks on. Jagged rocks and broken glass on hiking trails will easily injure your pup’s paw pads—queue in the baby shoes.
Don’t think twice about having your dog in booties if you live in super cold areas. The cold may bring about cracking and chipping on your dog’s paw pads. As if that’s not enough, when chemical ice and rock salt melt, they’re bound to cause blistering, infection, and sores. The toxic chemicals are likely to end up in your dog’s gut when they lick their paws.
On the other hand, if you live in super hot areas, that’s a good reason to buy your dog two pairs of booties. Imagine taking your furry friend out for a walk, and the sun becomes scorching hot that it heats the asphalt. While you walk comfortably on the sand, pavement, and any other heat-friendly surface, your dog struggles and hurts with each step.
How Do You Measure Your Puppy’s Paw Size?
For your dog’s baby boots to be practical, you need to focus on the sizing and less on the design. A well-sized doggy boot may serve as an unexpected solution to various paw issues.
On the other hand, if your preferred baby shoes fall short of your dog’s paw size, they’ll be intolerable and challenging to wear. Is it your first time determining the correct shoe size for your beloved pooch? Keep reading to find out how to get your dog-fitting baby shoes.
Don’t Judge It’s Shoe Size By Its Body Size!
As a pet parent, you may be inclined to estimate your baby’s paw size just by how big or small it is. That’s an absolute no-no. It may surprise that large dog breeds have tiny paws while the smaller species have relatively bigger feet. There are diverse dog breeds of different shapes and sizes. Individual dogs vary greatly even within their breed.
That’s why you must measure your canine’s paws before taking a walk down to the baby shoe store. Follow these simple steps to get started:
- Place a piece of paper under your dog’s paw. It should be standing on all fours for accurate measurement. Dogs’ paws tend to have a broader width when they’re standing instead of other relaxed positions. You must accurately capture the paw width to ensure that the baby shoes won’t be too tight when your dog walks in them.
- Grab your marker pen and trace all-around your dog’s paw. You need to maintain a steady hand as you make the mark on the paper. Keep in mind that we’re after an accurate measurement – one that doesn’t include the padding. We understand how wiggly dogs can be. So don’t hesitate to trace the paw two or more times. Compare the tracings and put them together in one place.
- Grab a ruler and start measuring the distance in each paw tracing. The one with the widest width is your ideal tracing. Point to note: dog shoe sizing is always determined by the paw’s width and never the length.
- Take a look at your pup’s back paws. There’s a chance that they’re a bit smaller than the front paws or just about the same size. Most dog breeds have relatively broader front paws than back paws. Repeat the three steps above to take accurate width sizes of the back feet.
- Download and print an accurate paw width measurement to determine the ideal shoe size for your dog. When you perform a precise paw measurement, you’re more likely to get a more accurate reading.
What Should You Do In Case of Long or Chunky Paws?
There’s a chance that your pet has abnormally long paws or chunkier paws than most other dog breeds. Take your tape measure and wrap it around your dog’s front paw in such a case. Do the same to the back feet to determine the circumference of each one.
Capture the results and compare them with the measurements you printed. If your dog’s paw length is more than the shoe length, you may need to increase by size.
How Do You Put Baby Shoes On Your Dog?
So you found the correct shoe size for your dog – great! Now we learn how to fit them on your dog’s paws the right way.
First, ensure your dog is on all fours and place each pair alongside the front and back paws. Starting with the front feet, take one shoe and ensure it’s fully open or unlaced before inserting your dog’s paw. As you do this, be sure to include the dewclaws to provide maximum comfort. Alternatively, you can always clip them before trying out the shoes.
It might help to place your index finger at the back of the shoe and use it as a shoehorn. Doing so will enable your dog’s paw to fit easily into the shoe’s front space. Once it’s in, run your finger all through the opening of the shoe to verify that your dog’s paw has a perfect fit.
With your dog standing upright, gently squeeze the front area of the shoe to ensure that the dog’s paws aren’t cramped up inside. It’s pretty similar to how you’d size a baby’s shoe. It also helps raise the opposite leg of the shoe you just put on, which may force your dog to exert a fair amount of weight into the baby shoe.
Ensure your dog’s leg is laid down before fastening/lacing the shoe. Also, for dogs weighing 15 pounds or less, you might want to elevate them on a table or counter before you put shoes on their paws. Most smaller dog breeds might mistake your actions for playtime and become reluctant to cooperate.
How Do You Help Your Dog Get Used to Baby Shoes?
It’s one thing to get your dog in booties, and it’s another to make them feel comfortable in them. Since I have zero experience in that sector, I talked to Mychelle Blake, who serves as chief executive officer for the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. She offered these easy-to-follow suggestions:
- First off, ensure the booties are 100% waterproof. The soles of the shoes should be made of rubber that will keep your dog from slipping on ice and other slippery surfaces.
- DO NOT try out the baby shoes on your dog in a space where they’re likely to slip and fall. They say that first impressions are everything. If their first fitting might come with some pain or embarrassment, they’re more likely to shy away from wearing them in the future.
- Your dog will most likely hate the experience of having to walk in baby shoes. For that reason, work on implementing a slow desensitization plan that involves placing a shoe on one paw and rewarding it when they don’t make a big fuss about it. Do the same for the other three paws. Do this as often as possible until your dog gets used to the experience.