11 Best Dog Boots & Paw Protection

best dog boots paw protection

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The occurrence of inclement weather does nothing to change the fact that if you have a dog, they need to be walked daily. For walks in bad weather, here’s our list of the best dog boots, dog socks, and dog paw protectors.

What are the best dog boots, dog socks, and dog paw protectors?

musher's secret dog paw protector Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Easy to apply
  • Unlikely to bother your dog
  • Keeps paws healthy and free from cracks
Price: $21.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
pawz dog boot Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Form fits to paws to prevent falling off
  • Disposable, but durable enough for a few uses each
  • Biodegradable
Price: $15.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
rc pet dog socks Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Relatively durable
  • Improves grip
  • Variety of sizes and colors
Price: $19.56 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
expawlorer dog boots Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Waterproof
  • Strap allows leg to expand when putting on
  • Lightweight
Price: $22.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
ruffwear dog boots Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Real Vibram outsole
  • Easy on/off straps
  • Breatheable top
Price: $37.50 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
good2go dog boots Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Waterproof
  • Lightweight
  • Provides some additional traction
Price: $14.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
paw savers dog paw protector Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Protects the most vulnerable part of the foot
  • Disposable
  • Improves traction
Price: $16.30 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
jardin dog shoes Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Keeps feet clean
  • Protects from heat and salt
  • Good for accessorizing
Price: $21.77 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
ffdpet paw protector Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Easy to apply
  • Protects from salt and other substances
  • Conditions your dog's paws
Price: $10.62 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Pet Product innovations paw plunger dog paw protector Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Removes harmful substances before they can damage your dog's paws
  • No need to prep before a walk
  • Keeps your house cleaner, too
Price: $21.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
dog pacer dog treadmill Amazon Customer Reviews
  • No need to go outside in bad weather
  • Work out together
  • Variable speed options
Price: $532.91 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Musher’s Secret Natural Paw Protection

    Pros:
    • Easy to apply
    • Unlikely to bother your dog
    • Keeps paws healthy and free from cracks
    Cons:
    • Your dog may lick it off
    • Must be reapplied regularly
    • Not meant to be removed, like boots

    We first mentioned Musher’s Secret in our gifts for dog owners post. This food-grade wax blend is meant to be applied before heading outdoors. You can use this year round, and when conditions aren’t as harsh, it only needs to applied once or twice a week.

    When salt is present or it’s especially cold and snowy, you may want to apply it before each walk. This product was developed for sledding dogs, so your average couch potato pup will certainly benefit from it. Water and chemicals will be repelled, and perspiration will still be allowed to escape. It’s a good option for dogs who hate wearing something on their feet.

    There are a couple of options for this kind of treatment, including Pawz MaxWax, so you may have to try a couple of them to find what works best for your beast.

  2. 2. Pawz Water-Proof Dog Boot

    Pros:
    • Form fits to paws to prevent falling off
    • Disposable, but durable enough for a few uses each
    • Biodegradable
    Cons:
    • Not exactly aesthetically pleasing
    • Prone to nail punctures
    • Might be tight on your dog's leg depending on the dog

    Another cheap and lightweight alternative are these disposable dog boots. These are more like rubber socks — in fact, they kind of look like balloons. They’re meant to be used a few times and then discarded.

    They offer a higher level of protection in that your dog’s paw won’t come into contact with any foreign substances at all, which is great for dogs with allergies. (Did you know some dogs are allergic to grass? Tragic.) One advantage of this design is that they are incredibly unlikely to fall off, as some Velcro-fastened boots can.

    The rubber is biodegradable, so you don’t have to worry about adding to landfills. In each package, you get 12 boots that can be used three times at least. You can also choose your size, from tiny to extra large, in the following colors: black, blue, green, orange, purple, red, and yellow.

  3. 3. RC Pet Products Sport Pawks Dog Socks

    Pros:
    • Relatively durable
    • Improves grip
    • Variety of sizes and colors
    Cons:
    • Somewhat difficult to put on
    • May slip off, depending on the dog
    • Sizes may not run large enough for especially big breeds

    Moving up in terms of durability and longevity, these are tough dog socks in the style of something like SmartWool for people. These will also cling well to a dog’s paw, thereby reducing the likelihood of slipping off.

    The bottom of these are coated with anti-slip treatment, which will both improve traction and repel some amount of water. The whole sock isn’t waterproof, though, so you’ll have to look elsewhere if you need that level of protection.

    Sizes on these run from XXS to extra large, and come in blue, black, yellow/purple, pink, red, and yellow. RC Pet has two styles of socks, the other limiting the anti-slip coating to a paw pattern on the bottom. If you prefer, Ruffwear also make a similar option.

  4. 4. Expawlorer Waterproof Dog Boots

    Pros:
    • Waterproof
    • Strap allows leg to expand when putting on
    • Lightweight and high visibility
    Cons:
    • Come in sets of four of the same size, so you can't mix and match for front and back
    • Not as durable as some other options
    • Fit can be tricky to get right

    Between the socks and full-fledged dogs boots are these, which offer waterproof performance in a slightly cheaper package. These light dog boots offer some amount of enhanced traction and keep your dog’s feet away from potentially damaging subtances and surfaces.

    The strap on these allows for the leg portion to open up fairly wide, which will help you quickly get them on. These are not quite as built-to-last as some other options, but are still an improvement over the disposable ones. Definitely worth considering.

  5. 5. Ruffwear Grip Trex Dog Boots

    Pros:
    • Real Vibram outsole
    • Easy on/off straps
    • Breatheable top
    Cons:
    • Somewhat pricey
    • Your dog may hate wearing them
    • Strap may interfere with dewclaws on some dogs

    If you want something truly durable, you’ll have to go for full-on dog boots. This model from Ruffwear offers officially-licensed Vibram outsoles, just as you’d see in hiking boots for humans, providing superior traction and durability. The easy Velcro-style closure makes putting them on a bit eaiser than the dog socks, which must be pulled into place.

    These would be great for trail use or for very long walks in inclement weather. These are available in sets of four, but also by the pair because they fit a little more tightly than a lot of other styles. Use the guide to measure your dog’s paws and choose the right size for both front and back. Choose from blue, red, or black in a wide variety of sizes.

    Ruffwear makes two alternative models: one called the Summer Trex, which foregoes the Vibram and is a little bit cheaper, and one called the Winter Trex which is a bit more expensive and rugged. You could also try Hurtta Outback, Ultra Paws or Muttluks if you want more dog boot options.

  6. 6. Good2Go Rain or Shine Yellow Silicone Dog Boots

    Pros:
    • Waterproof
    • Lightweight
    • Provides some additional traction
    Cons:
    • Not insulated
    • Not as robust as other options
    • Best suited to rainy days on pavement

    If warmth isn’t necessarily paramount, you could consider these dog rain boots, which would go nicely with a dog raincoat. With these, you still get a Velcro closing mechanism, waterproofing, and anti-slip soles.

    They’ll still work just fine on snow, but won’t provide much in the way of protection from the cold if your dog is particularly sensitive. Sizes run from extra small to extra large. If you want more color options, consider these from Star-Top.

  7. 7. Paw Savers Disposable Dog Paw Pads

    Pros:
    • Protects the most vulnerable part of the foot
    • Disposable
    • Improves traction
    Cons:
    • Can fall off
    • Not as good in wet situations
    • Limited size range

    A hybrid approach between wax and disposable socks, these paw pads focus only on the part of your dog that will make contact with the ground: the pads. These are great for protecting sensitive paws that are prone to cracking without the struggle of trying to keep shoes on your pup or possibly-messy wax.

    There’s not much in the way of style to these, as they aren’t really meant to be seen, but they do come in a few sizes according to dog weight: 9 to 16 pounds, 17 to 33 pounds, 33 to 44 pounds, and 45 to 58 pounds. Under optimal conditions, these should last up to three days.

  8. 8. Jardin Air Mesh Pet Shoes

    Pros:
    • Keeps feet clean
    • Protects from heat and salt
    • Good for accessorizing
    Cons:
    • Not as protective as other options
    • Not waterproof
    • May fall off easily

    Admittedly, these will really only serve the bare minimum in terms of protection for dog paws. But they prioritize another important aspect: looking fly.

    They’ll still prevent your dog’s paws from making contact with potential allergens or road salt, but they aren’t really made for being dragged through the snow over and over again. Still, look at them. They’re like mini Jordans. You could also try these doggie Converse or doggie Uggs.

  9. 9. FFDPET Fou-Stick Protect Pet Balm

    Pros:
    • Easy to apply
    • Protects from salt and other substances
    • Conditions your dog's paws
    Cons:
    • Not as effective for sharp terrain
    • Doesn't seem to last as long as rival Musher's Secret
    • Won't keep feet dry

    If you like the idea of the Musher’s Secret above, but don’t want to have to get your own hands coated in the stuff, here’s an option packed in a handy applicator tube.

    If you’ve ever used a glue stick, you’re set to apply this coconut oil and beeswax treatment to your dog’s paws. While it creates a protective barrier, it also heals and moisturizes. If you find you like this, the company also makes Fou-Stick Soothe for itchy skin and Fou-Stick Calm to reduce anxiety.

  10. 10. Paw Plunger for Dogs

    Pros:
    • Removes harmful substances before they can damage your dog's paws
    • No need to prep before a walk
    • Keeps your house cleaner, too
    Cons:
    • Provides no protection against sharp surfaces
    • Adds process to every walk
    • Doesn't help with thermal protection

    Of course, if you don’t want to deal with applying wax, pads, or boots to your pup at all, the next best course of action is to clean their paws after every walk. This way, you remove the potential irritants and toxic chemicals, which limits the amount of damage they can do.

    Salt left on the paws will continue to dry the pads and is especially bad for them if ingested. This product allows you to gently push your dog’s paw into regular warm water while the bristles inside remove any particulate. It’s easy to use and makes quick work of cleaning them up. Available in pink, blue, and black, in three different sizes to match your dog.

    Similar products are available from Dexas and Doggie Dipper. A more deluxe version is this idea is the SKI Innovations Paw Boss Wash, if you want to go all out.

  11. 11. DogPacer Dog Treadmill

    Pros:
    • No need to go outside in bad weather
    • Work out together
    • Variable speed options
    Cons:
    • Expensive
    • Some dogs will need training to utilize this
    • Your dog still has to go outside sometime

    The most extreme option for protecting your dog’s paws from harsh weather is to skip going outside in the first place. Now, this shouldn’t replace all of your dog’s activity, but if it’s in the double digits below zero, no one wants to have to be outside for long.

    Speeds range from half a mile per hour to 7.5 miles per hour, which should give your dog the necessary activity at various intensities. In addition to being a novel solution for cold weather, these are also great training devices or to ensure a dog with allergies gets enough exercise. Chances are, you have a treadmill for yourself, so bring your dog along to the exercise room, too.

Dogs need to be walked. It's a simple fact of life. In the case of my new husky mix puppy, maybe even twice a day. The range, depending on breed, is between 30 minutes and two hours everyday. When you're racking up that kind of mileage in less-than-ideal conditions, the chances are higher for paw irritation and injury.

Interestingly, dog paws aren't particularly susceptible to the cold. Researchers have found that dog paws are made of a combination of fat and connective tissue which is served by a specialized mechanism that quickly heats cold blood in a way that "rivals a penguin's wing". They're designed for the cold and wet.

What they aren't designed for, however, is encountering the many toxic chemicals found on any given surface outside the home. This is particularly true of de-icing agents and salts used in virtually every municipality that experiences freezing temperatures. If left untreated, these can cause dry, cracked pads, which can lead to infection and worse. Additionally, the fur between the toes can still accumulate snow and ice and freeze solid.

To that end, when you expect that your dog is likely to encounter damaging conditions on a walk, you have your choice of remedies.

How Can I Protect My Dog's Feet?

Broadly, everything on this list counts as a paw protector. If you're not quite ready to slap a pair of shoes on your dog, though, there are less expensive and less intensive solutions you could try first.

Balms and waxes, such as Musher's Secret and FFDPET Fou-Stick, work in two ways. First, when applied before a walk, they form a protective barrier that repels water, salts, and chemicals. Of course, this barrier wears away quickly compared to a piece of actual material, but it's certainly better than nothing.

Additionally, these balm-based solutions help to cure and condition dog paws if they've already come in contact with something harmful. That's something the alternatives don't provide, which means a multi-layered approach is likely best.

Washing your dog's paws both after walks and before applying balm will radically improve the effectiveness, while cutting down the amount of time the salts and chemicals have to seep in.

Dog Shoes vs. Dog Boots

A step up (no pun intended) from washing and balms are dog shoes. For the most part, dog shoes are more fashion-forward than function-forward. They're usually aimed at smaller dogs who might otherwise be wearing a snappy outfit. Still, they do offer the basic benefit of keeping stuff off your dog's paws, so if you're looking for something more fashionable, shoes may offer more design sense.

Dog boots tend to be more robust than doggie sneakers, designed with their human counterparts' hiking boots in mind. They are generally waterproof, have thick soles with good tread, and are clearly geared toward adventuring.

As you'll see in our list above, dog boots can also refer to disposable rubber dog socks or even rubber boots. All have their place and to some degree depend on how much and how often your dog will be outside and in what conditions.

Since the primary disadvantage of doggie outerwear is that it's unnatural for your pup to wear them at all, they might hate walking in them. You might have to try multiple options (and a good amount of training) to figure out which works best for your dog.

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