Fancy Footwear: Do Pets Need It?

While we’re sure we’ll all agree that tiny socks and shoes for our pets are super adorable, do they really need any kind of footwear? While shoes may be unnecessary for our canine and feline friends the majority of the year, here’s a list of exceptions in which foot gear will benefit your pet!

  • After a foot injury: Whether it be a cut, a splinter, or a broken bone, your pet will likely have bandages, stitches, and/or a cast on his foot or leg that cannot get wet.  Protective footwear is necessary when going outside to make sure that the foot stays dry.  Sometimes, veterinarians can make you a temporary boot out of an empty bag of fluids!
  • On extremely hot days: While cats typically keep on the grass during the hot summer months, many dogs will endure the pain of hot asphalt on their feet to enjoy a longer walk with their owners.  Though their paw pads are well designed to distribute weight, they are not capable of handling excess heat soaked up on the sidewalk.  If you can’t keep your pet on the grass on toasty days, consider a set of breathable shoes!
  • During the winter: There are many reasons your pet could benefit from a nice pair of winter boots.  Snow and ice can sometimes get stuck in between their toes, leading to frostbite.  Also, the and chemicals used on driveways, sidewalks, and streets to keep ice from forming can be toxic to cats and dogs.  If your pet does not tolerate boots, you can try rinsing her feet in warm water as soon as you come back inside or by applying petroleum jelly to their paw pads prior to going outside.
  • Areas of construction: If you’re redoing your driveway or your neighbor is getting a new roof, consider putting shoes on your pet before letting them outside.  Construction can mean nails, glass, and metal on the ground to hurt your four-legged-friend’s feet.
  • Hiking: Some companies even make special boots for canine companions that enjoy a good hike through the woods.  Nature easily creates things like burs and spines that could cut or get stuck in your dog’s foot.

Though any kind of footwear is going to take some getting used to for your pet, be sure to take cues from them.  If they absolutely cannot stand wearing shoes (even after much praise and many treats), try to remember these outdoor dangers and limit your pet’s exposure!

Does your pet have a set of shoes? How does he or she feel about them? Let us know in the comments below!