In my neverending quest to discover as many ways as possible to laugh at the dogs, I recently purchased some Pawz rubber boots.
The pads on Phoebe's paws constantly get blistered and scraped, possibly from the hot asphalt during our walks but more than likely from the little stones that the original homeowners landscaped our backyard with. They heal fairly quickly with the various ointments we use, but it would be nice to prevent them in the first place.
Phoebe is no fledgling when it comes to doggie boots. We've used them in the past to protect her paws from the mud.
And to accessorize.
"Why me, God?"
But none of the boots ever stay on. Certainly this Cinderella dog would lose at least one of her slippers during her mad gazelle-like leaps and dashes into the brushes along the trail or even our backyard.
Advertised as being disposable, reusable, and waterproof, a pack of 12 size Large of the Pawz boots cost me about $17 including shipping. They are basically nothing more than rubber ballons that have been shaped to better fit a dog's paw. Because they are rubber, they are not breathable and so should not be kept on for long periods. I think I read somewhere that 2 hours would be ok.
Aside from protecting the paws, they also provide a way to help prevent your dog from slipping on slippery surfaces. A handy dandy tool for dogs with arthritis or amputees like Popeye who can't balance as well on slippery floors. Of course, the fact that the boots should not be kept on for long periods does slightly diminish its usefulness in this application.
You can watch some videos on the Pawz website:
Like rubber balloons, these boots have a reinforced "mouth," and that is what mostly prevents them from falling off. Also the fact that they are so lightweight, there is virtually no weight to pull them down.
Phoebe has only been wearing these for 2 days, but here's what we think of them so far.
- Lightweight, so I don't think they bother dogs as much as regular boots do
- Not exactly easy, but not difficult to put on and take off
- So far, they do stay on for the most part, definitely more so than other boots
- In theory, provides some protection to paws under certain conditions
- Relatively cheap
- Since they're rubber, weeds won't stick to them
- Can be rinsed off, although moisture does make the rubber stick to itself more. I turn the boots inside-out after taking them off to allow the inside to air out.
- Made of rubber so not breathable and cannot be kept on for long periods of time
- Excessively thin so I don't think it provides much protection over rougher surfaces like stones
- Thinness also makes it more prone to getting punctured. One of Phoebe's boots already has a small puncture after just 2 days.
This may change as Phoebe gets more used to wearing them, but the boots make her less prone to want to run around. Not sure if that's a good or bad thing. They have stayed on so far on walks, which is more than I can say for most other boots I've used in the past. But since they discourage Phoebe from running, they haven't been put through the ultimate pitbull-gone-wild test yet.
Phoebe already has a fairly large cut in one paw, and putting rubber around it concerns me. So I put one of my socks on that paw and then put the Pawz boot over it. It would be nice if the boot had an inner lining of cotton so that the skin didn't have to make contact with the rubber. A cotton liner would also provide a bit of a cushion. Of course, considering these "boots" are nothing more than balloons, lining it may not be feasible.
Another improvement might be to make at least the front boots longer so that they go over the "thumb" pad. For some reason, the dogs cut this pad quite often.
Overall, I think these boots are worth the price. Depending on why your dog needs them, they may be sufficient. For example, if you plan to take a dog to a place that has slick surfaces (remember that Cesar Milan episode?), these boots would provide better traction. Or to protect the pads from extreme temperatures like snow or hot hot pavement. Or simply to keep the paws from getting muddy. I'm not sure they are sufficient for Phoebe though, as they don't provide too much protection from harsh surfaces.