Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pooches: Quest for the Perfect Snow Boots

I never thought I would 'dress up' my dogs. I always thought dogs were hearty with fur coats able to withstand all elements. Then I adopted Miss M who became a quivering mess whenever I tried to take her out in rain and snow. The first time she even stepped on snow she treated it like hot coals and spent the short duration of our walk as a 3-legged dog. I quickly ran to our nearest dog store where the owner was able to talk me into buying a very expensive pair of Muttluks. And this is how Miss M felt about wearing them:
 I like that they have traction on the bottom, and are extra tall to take on snow drifts and puddles. The reflective straps are also a bonus. What I didn't like was that even when I pulled the straps extra tight, they would always fall off during our walk. I would randomly turn around to find Miss M barefoot, then hope that I could locate and fish out the boot from the snowdrift. I'm not sure whether these are sold separately, but at $50 for a set, I couldn't afford to have any losses. We tried them on Mr. B and he lost one just walking around the house.
We actually stopped using boots altogether, until we bought some PAWs Disposable Reusable Boots when browsing a dog store. These are kind of like balloons created for your dogs' feet. We like that they protect the pooches' feet from the salt, and they prevent ice from freezing between their toes. I also like that these are easy clean-up; the dogs can walk through mud and Chicago grime and all I have to do is remove their booties. There is no way these can fall off, and they also come with 3 sets per package.
 We have probably gone on 5 walks with the same pair and the booties haven't ripped. The fit is a bit strange. Mr. B has to wear the purple Large boots, but Miss M has super-huge American Bulldog paws with long 'fingers' so she has to size up wear the green Extra-Large boots. You can see how baggy they are on her; these are designed to fit Great Danes and St. Bernards, but there doesn't seem to be an in-between size for her. We're not sure if they actually keep the pooches' feet warm, and since they're so low, water will seep in if they steep in puddles. Overall, we do like these and use them most often.
Since our dogs are accustomed to us handling their feet, we don't have any problems putting their boots on. The biggest problem is the dogs aren't used to walking in any type of boot, and they will actually prance around like ducks for awhile. We had to practice in the house before we could take them outside.Miss M is actually too stunned to move while Mr. B is fine walking like a duck:
We've seen a lot of people using dog boots lately, and we're curious about your experiences and what brands you like. We were also curious about people's experiences with the paw balm and if you think this might be a good alternative to boots. We're getting ready for what the Chicago Tribune calls "a potentially life-threatening blizzard" to hit us tomorrow, so we may be in boots for awhile.

47 comments:

Maisie's Mom said...

I tried those balloon booties on Maisie and while they did work, the stress and additional time necessary to get them on her (and her irrational fear of them, like with everything she doesn't understand) made it not worth the hassle. I have been using Musher's Secret wax this winter and it seems to be working well. You just have to remember to apply it once a week.

Two Crazy Coaches said...

I love that Mr. B wears purple! He is confident in his manhood. No boots at our house, but Flash had to wear a sock for a couple days and that was entertaining. She kept trying to kick like a donkey to get it off.

The Heartbeats said...

They are so cute! I just love them! We don't really do boots here in SC. We get so little snow, we just pay extra special attention to the paws when we do get snow. Ya'll stay warm and be safe during the upcoming storm.

The heartbeats

HoundDogMom said...

We don't wear boots, but our human as been thinking about trying those disposal ones. Cleo and Winston don't seem to have issues but Amiee's little feet freeze and she walks on 3 legs as well. Love their outfits and we are bracing for a massive amount of snow as well. Stay safe. The HoundDogs and Mom

Kate@TwentySixToLife said...

HAHAHAHA!!!! OMG that video is just too funny. They are so adorable in their boots, I can't stand it. I've never used boots, but they seem like a good idea given the weather. When it gets that bad here the dogs stay inside (they don't seem to mind).

Stay safe during the blizzard.

orange sugar said...

Ha. That video is too cute! I have thought about buying boots for the huskies but never got around to it. They do have a raincoat with matching hat from Lands End (http://tinyurl.com/27kvq8w) though.

badmuthafudruckers.com said...

I'll have to check out these balloon booties for my boys; we use pet-friendly salt for our drive and sidewalk, but I don't expect that everyone does.

I love that those Muttluks are extra tall. Too bad they don't stay on! Perhaps you could fashion a little leg-warmer for the pups, using kid's socks? If they'd stay on, they would certainly keep their legs warm, especially in combination with the "balloonies."

loveandaleash said...

we have no boot experience, but i am tempted, just so i can see our pooches do the "walk like a duck" move. i almost fell out of my chair from all the cuteness.
i noticed "eating animals" by JSF in one of the photos in your post-- is one of you reading it? i'd be interested to hear your thoughts. ben and i both read it and saw JSF give a lecture about it, and both made a big impression.

aleksandra
follow our foster: loveandaleash.wordpress.com

Mack said...

Very handsome shoes! I bet they feel super good out in the snow!

Benny and Lily said...

Do your shoes make you jump higher? Walk faster? They sure are cool on YOU. Hope mom doesn't get any ideas. We hear you guys are getting another blizzard this afternoon. Yikes!
Benny & Lily

Corbin said...

It's great to see Mr. B in purple! Now I don't feel so bad about my pink boots. Mom was given a pair of the Mutlucks that I wear... they're a tad too small, so mom is going to venture out to get me the next size to see if that helps. They stay on pretty will, but I tend to lose at least one everytime I go out, bol.
-Corbin

Kari in WeHo said...

I always loved the first time I put botties on my dogs after it had been a while. Always made for a good laugh :)

Kari
http://dogisgodinreverse.com/

road-dog-tales said...

We think they need to be in NY for Fashion Week! Some of us have used boots for various reasons - snow, to protect boo-boos. We liked the muttluks okay but us Shepherds have big feet. We've heard the paw balm isn't so great for our feet 'cause it makes the pads soft and easily hurt and apparently they're supposed to be tough like leather. Just what we've heard. . .

The Road Dogs

Sophie said...

Like many other pet owners I bought a set of dog boots (don't remember the brand) but at least one would fall off before we ever exited my apartment building. I have been using musher's secret since Sophie's first winter. It's a paste that keeps the paws dry and protects against the salt. Sophie is very used to having her paws handled because I also like to wipe them off when we come home from a walk. I also saw many dogs with the PAWs this year and decided to try them hoping that they would keep the salt from getting between her paws. Sophie has been patient with the amount of time it takes to get the PAWs on. I don't know if it takes longer because she has her dew claws or I'm just having a hard time. But after fighting for 2 walks where she didn't want to walk with them (they did make a clicking sound at some point) I gave up and went back to Musher's secret.

Bussah's momma said...

Try Glad Press 'n Seal. Unroll a good-sized square and lay it on the ground sticky side up. Put the pups foot on it and pull up the sides one at a time and press it all around. This probably isn't cheaper than buying boots if you have snow all the time, but I use it when it's really muddy out, and it's great if the dog has an injured paw and you don't want the bandage to get dirty. Poor Miss M looks so pitiful having to wear boots! Love your blog!

RED said...

that video of mr B is EXACTLY what Zeus looked like when I put little booties on him. I laughed so hard I actually cried. We got a pair of 'pawtectors' from petsmart to help with the snow/salt combo that really irritates Zeus's paws when we take our city walks. We don't use them all the time though - only when it's super bitter cold. The plain snow doesn't seem to bother him as much as the salt + bitter cold does. If we don't use the booties he'll stop 10x on the walk and lift his paw - it's heartbreaking and so cute all at the same time. Awesome video!

Fiona, as typed by Dr. Liz said...

There is a company in Minnesota (where else, eh?) called Ultra Paws that makes boots, jackets and all sorts of skijoring equipment. They have a variety of boots, including heavy duty ones for rescue/cadaver dogs who might find themselves in broken glass, etc., and insulated ones for those who live in Minnesota (or in Utah during an unusually cold winter). They've got double straps to prevent them from falling off and padding to help with the fit and make sure there are no leaks. Both Fi and Abby have the insulated ones, and while Abby took to them immediately, Fi would prance and then wouldn't move. Until I threw a squeaky ball and the aliens on her feet were forgotten. Since then, she wears them with no problems - which is good as it is -5 this morning, and her feet got cold just going out to pee... For anyone who is interested (www.ultrapaws.com - and not, I'm not a paid spokesperson!) they have GREAT customer service - when I was ordering jackets for the girls, I spend about 45 minutes on the phone with one of the owners of the company to make sure I got the right fit, style, etc., etc. for the girls, and are great with returns, as long as it hasn't been rolled in the mud. :-)

But here's our first day in boots this winter: http://lizski.blogspot.com/2010/11/wordless-wednesday-snow-bootie-edition.html

heehee.

-Dr. Liz (the girls want to go freeze their tootsies off right now...)

Aksharaa said...

You guys look very cute and smart in your boots.
We have never worn any and we can't really tell u anything about which ones are good. But we hope ur mummy will find the Best ones for u:)
Enjoy your walkiee,

Wags, Bud, Gin n Shadow

jenny said...

Hi,
We are in the same boat with our 35lb dog. We use those balloon ones with great success. We tried REI brand boots, but they just kept falling off. Next we wanted to try some balm, but so far the balloon ones are working, so we'll leave it alone. I think the hardest part is just getting the stupid boots to stay on!

rescuedinsanity.com said...

I've heard good things about these boots from other owners in my area. We're supposed to get a blizzard of our own tomorrow so who knows? Maybe Shiva will get to be all stylish too. Both of your dogs look so cute waddling around!

I've also heard good things about the balm and wondered if that may be a bit easier. While my dog doesn't mind if I touch her feet, she tends to chew on the things we put on her. We shall see.

msnform said...

I've used the Muttluks on Ms. Rikki when we camp in Baja as the sand rubs her feet raw and it's about 110 degrees...my problems with them are the same as yours, they tend to fill with water/sand and come off.

Gofer said...

Have you tried maybe putting the pricer boots under the disposable ones it may help fill in the gap for Ms. M's feet and keep them a little warmer. But I do have dog coats, boots, and sweatshirts for my pups though I will say it is hard to find clothes to fit my boy who is 90 lbs.

The Whitfields said...

Mr. B is sporting the purple! Your pups are precious- just too cute!

Bobby said...

WELL WE HAVE NEVER WORN BOOTS, BUT WE HAVE FALLEN ABOUT LAUGHING AT THE FILM. WE LOVE IT.

brooke said...

High steppers! hahahaha I love it!
We just bought the REI ones... we have yet to use them outside though. I just saw Dr. Liz's comment about the UltraPaws brand and Jason and I think we're going to return the REI ones and try the UltraPaws. I think the double velcro straps seem like they'd be more secure. I'm going to place my order and we'll let you know how they are!
We haven't tried the balloon ones, though that's the only kind our nearest pet store has.
I love the Mr B wears purple. He's so confident!

houndstooth said...

We have the purple PAWZ boots for Morgan, and so far they've worked, but we haven't used them a lot. I am with you, though, I don't think they offer any added warmth.

Bunny has some tall blizzard boots from Voyager's K9 Apparel, and the back ones stay on really well, but she managed to pull the front two off playing like fiend in the snowbank outside this afternoon. They work well for walking, though! They're not as pricey as the Muttluks, they're around $35 for a set of four and while they don't offer individual ones on their website, I am pretty sure that they would sell you a single one if you asked them for one in an e-mail. I'm going to be really curious to see the replies you get to this one!

I hope you guys aren't getting hit as hard as we are here! Good grief, I can't see past the trees in the front yard!

Nubbin' Tails said...

Mom is sooo glad that we have our own yard and are fine with getting our feet wet for the 30 seconds it takes us to do our business. Jada can't stand to have her feet even petted so there is zero chance she would go for boots.

Wags!

Mr. Nubbin'

A Couple of Misfits said...

I'll admit, I occasionally put the booties on Skye when I need a good laugh. She does exactly what Mr. B does, but at high speeds. Parker was having snow trouble with his paws, but he made it clear that he would feed himself to coyotes if I made him wear booties. Being the good mom that I am, I decided to try the Musher's Secret wax. So far, so good. It keeps their paws clean and snow free, but I doubt it does a whole lot for warmth. I'd stick with the booties.

http://friendsagaink9.blogspot.com/

Zona said...

Oh that video was AWESOME!!! We've been thinking of a bootie for Phoenix. We don't have any salt issues here but her toesies get so cold in the snow, just keeping them a little dry might help! Thanks for the tip!

Wags,
Zona

Mr. Pip said...

Good gravy, I could barely read this post because I was so distracted by cuteness! Seriously, that first picture!!!! So adorable!

We have tried boots with Pip, but he just can't walk in them. He falls down and/or trips, etc. He really doesn't go out too much in this weather anyway.

Stay warm and safe!

Jenner said...

Hello fellow Pittie lover! I stumbled across your blog today and love all of the photos. I'm following you now.

Pibble said...

I LOVE that picture, but I absolutely laughed my head off at the video. Dogs can be just so funny sometimes!

ForPetsSake said...

The duck walk got laughs all around here at my home. They are SOOOO cute, those 2...

I've never used the dog booties, but Nyxie does have a raincoat that she never wears.

Meredith Travels said...

Oh Mr B! I might just save this video for whenever I need a pick-me-up! Thanks for sharing!

Maggie Mae said...

No boots fur me yet but mom is considering it. All of you stay safe tonight!

Woofs and Licks,
Maggie Mae

AC said...

I was just thinking of you guys when I heard the weather report. I hope you manage to stay warm!! I'm afraid I can't help with the boot recommendation. Kona has only crossed a snow patch once...it was about ten feet wide...

Stay safe in the storm!

Trixie, Lily, and Sammy-Joe said...

We won some booties from Pawz on a blog giveaway! They came today but the size I ordered was too small for Lily so I had to change them. They do seem just like balloons! Lily didn't mind me putting them on her... but since they were too small, she was on her tippytoes, and she tried to raise up one back leg and one front leg and just balance on two legs!

the booker man said...

thank you for providing my evening entertainment! that video of the pooches walking in their boots was too cute! :)
i've never had to use boots for asa or booker down here in south carolina, but i think i mentioned before that those balloon boots look like they would be great just for rainy, muddy days.
please stay safe and warm with all that snow!

the booker man and asa's mama

Wyatt said...

You 2 look so adorable. You are going to need the boots and the coats with the weather you have coming...Yikes!

Wyatt

Shauna (Fido and Wino) said...

We don't put boots on the dogs but I've been meaning to get some sort of jackets. It takes FOREVER to dry Kayloo off when she's wet...

Bruschi said...

Oh my gosh the duck walk is killing me! LOL!!

Maggie said...

That video is hilarious! We have tried boots - the rock salt the city throws down kills these guys' feet. They hated them, and constantly tried to shake them off. But I think those disposable ones might be a much, much better option! Hope you guys are staying safe and warm in all this craziness!

Kirby, CGC said...

I just brought some of those booties for Kirby, but I got the wrong size and will have to get the next size up. He wasn't crazy about me trying to put them on but the bribery of treats seemed to help.

I don't think they help in keeping their paws warm, but it will help to keep the snowballs from forming in between thier pads.

Hope you are staying safe and warm from the Blizzard 2011, Michigan is getting hit hard too.

Kirby's mom

Laura Herbertson said...

I haven't tried their booties, but I bought a nice dog coat from voyagers K9 apparel.
http://www.k9apparel.com/

Mary said...

Oh my goodness. That made my day, especially when Ms. M lifted up her back legs. They are so funny!

Neptune totally has the enormous American bulldog paws, which he wields with no regard for what's around him. He whacked me in the face the other day and left a scratch on my chin. Poor Levi gets the paw to the face all the time. I mean, I can't believe how big his paws are because he's not as big as Levi. Big paws, big head.

I'm a bad dog mom because I have never gotten boots for my boys. Levi would be patient as always, but I can only imagine fighting Neptune to put on boots! Putting on his collar is the most exciting thing in the world, so boots would take it to an all new level!

GW said...

My husband and I just watched the video and were absolutely tickled. Your dogs are so sweet...And it's so funny watching dogs get used to boots. Our greyhound mix Emma has piano player toes, so if we got boots for her, I can imagine she'd be in the same category as your girl is. Fortunately, we can take our girls right into our back yard on their Flexi leashes, so they don't have to go for long walks just to potty during inclimate weather. I am sooo glad that snowstorm tapered off by the time it reached the Columbus, Ohio area. I lived in Northbrook up until 1981, so well remember the blizzard of '78. No thanks on THAT much snow!

Lindsay said...

I have a pair of Muttluks for my dog. They are constantly falling off no matter how tight the strap. I have tried numerous types of dog booties to no avail. I have considered trying the balloon ones but thought they would rip walking on the streets. Good to hear otherwise. I will give them a try!

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