Dear Pawrent, we completely understand why you have doubts regarding dog shoes. We appreciate your concerns and understand your scepticism.
You care for your pup. You want them to be comfortable. So, the last thing you want to do is force them into something that may or may not be helpful.
Are dog shoes natural? Is it cruel to put shoes on your dog?
If dogs had been living in the wild and walked on grass, mud, or sand, their paw pads would have provided sufficient protection, and putting on dog shoes would have been unnecessary or even cruel.
Dogs are no longer wild animals. They live in our houses with marble floorings and sleep in air-conditioned rooms. They eat clean food and drink distilled water. We tamed them and made them our children. They walk on hot asphalt roads and step into bacteria-filled puddles. A thorn here, bubblegum there isn’t a rare occurrence. Ask a parent who had to cut the stubborn bubblegum off her precious’s paw fur and you would know the pain!
Putting on dog shoes is as cruel as putting on shoes on your toddler.
As a pet parent, it is your decision. And, we thought, we will make it easier for you. We have put together a few situations when your dog may need shoes. If none of these apply to you, it is best to keep your pup bare-pawed!
- Sizzling Hot Summer
- Slippery Indoor Flooring
- Muddy, Germy Monsoon
1. Sizzling Hot Summer
Summers in India are scorching hot. Dogs are closer to the ground and hence they are more susceptible to heat radiating from the ground. Asphalt is commonly used while making roads and pavements, their temperatures can rise above 75°C in the afternoons (especially if you live in cities like Nagpur, Chennai, or Delhi).
Skin damage in one minute
Fries an egg in 5 minutes
How to find out if it is too hot for your pup?
Put your palm on the road for 10 seconds. If it is painful or uncomfortable for you, it is uncomfortable for your pup too. Paw burns are extremely painful and take over 3 weeks to heal. Burnt paws can also get infected leading to a longer recovery time.
Solution: Take your dogs for walks only when the temperatures are low - either early morning before 6 AM or later evenings after 7 PM. Or, put on breathable shoes like Zoof Casuals. They are made of airy canvas fabric and anti-slip soles.
If you live in a city where summers are hot, invest in a set of shoes and spare yourself from worrying about your pup’s paws.
2. Slippery Indoor Flooring
Our houses often have polished smooth marble or vitrified tile flooring. We have seen our dogs run, slip, and often laughed it off. However, slipping can lead to serious injuries like broken bones and contusions. A large number of large breed puppies are born with hip laxity (genetically passed on by their parents). Incessant slipping stresses their hip and knee joints leading to hip dysplasia.
Senior dogs with diagnosed hip dysplasia or arthritis will find it painful to walk/sit up on smooth flooring. Even if they try to walk, they tense up their muscles in anticipation of a fall and end up losing traction.
Solution: Replace the flooring with textured vinyl or carpet the house. Alternatively, get your dog indoor shoes - Zoof Grips. They are made of breathable mesh and have an anti-slip sole specially designed for indoor flooring. They are fastened by double Velcro and don't come off easily.
3. Muddy, Germy Monsoon
Rains are nice as long as you are inside sipping a hot cup of chai and petting your pup! As a pet parent, rain walks make me anxious. Rain puddles are a hotbed of viruses, bacteria, and parasites. And, with dirt clinging to the wet furry paws, pododermatitis is a real threat. The pesky ticks aren’t far behind either! They hide in between their paws and are difficult to spot. Ticks transmit bacteria and cause 6 types of tick fever - each with varying severity.
And, let's be honest. Washing paws after every walk, drying them with a hair dryer, and cleaning the muddy paw prints in the house isn’t convenient. Waterproof dog shoes protect their paws from getting dirty and wet. Prevention is always better. And, depending on your and your pup’s preference, pick Zoof Boots or Zoof Plops. Zoof Boots are made of natural rubber and are worn like a sock. While, Zoof Plops are made of water-resistant material, have a wider opening, and are fastened with double Velcro.
Let’s now address some questions you may have about dog shoes.
Do vets approve of dog shoes?
Yes, Vets do approve of shoes. Dr. Akshay Shah (AcuVet Veterinary Speciality Clinic, Mumbai), Pet Physio Pro, Mumbai, and Dr. Divya (Rehab And Fitness For Pets, Chennai) are a few names who regularly recommend dog shoes and have seen a marked improvement in the dog’s mobility.
However, like all new ideas, some vets may be sceptical. Their main concerns are the right fit, flexibility, and weight. As a result, they may discourage by default. Show the shoes to your vet, ask questions, understand his concerns, and check if the shoes are suitable for your pup.
My dog doesn’t like wearing dog shoes? How do I make him more comfortable while wearing shoes?
If your dog is not used to shoes or is generally fussy about accessories, follow the steps below:
- Let your pup sniff the shoes. Feed him a high-value treat when he is sniffing. Discourage biting the shoe.
- If he is comfortable, put on the shoe only on the back paws. Feed a treat while you put it on. Make sure you have watched the video on ‘how to put on the shoe’ before trying it on the pup. The quicker you do the better.
- Kindly ensure that the shoes are put on properly and are not tugging his nail. Make the process smooth.
- Encourage your pup to run/play. Use a toy or treat to encourage him. He will walk funny at first. That’s natural.
- Take your pup for a walk outside. Repeat this for a couple of days. Give a high-value treat after every walk.
- On the fourth day, put on the shoes on the front paws. Repeat the process.
- Be generous with praise and treats. And, if you tend to be anxious, calm down before you start the process. Pups can sense our anxiety and get jittery.
Do you have more questions? Comment below and we will answer!