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Does My Dog Really (really!) Need to Wear Boots? The Pros and Cons of 3 Different Brands!

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Do you know what boots I should get my dog for winter?

This is a question I have struggled with for years, literally YEARS! There are so many boots on the market, and I have experimented with so many. I finally feel like I have a good answer for this question. This review will outline three different types of dog boots that I would recommend to most pet parents, SaltSox, Pawz, and RuffWear. With an honorable mention, Mushers Wax, for dogs who absolutely will not tolerate boots.

First things first, does your dog really need to wear boots?

To everyone who thinks dog boots are just a fashion statement, I’m sorry, but I have bad news. Dogs DO need to wear paw protection when there is rock salt on the streets. It is dangerous for your dog.

Rock salt is the mineral form of sodium chloride, halite. When applied to roads and sidewalks, it lowers the freezing point of water. This works great to reduce ice, but the chemical reaction will cause burns to your dog’s paws. It is also toxic if ingested.

And without further ado, here are my favorite dog boots!

Salt Sox

$58 – Sold in sets of 4


  • Very easy to put on
  • Durable
  • Stay on pretty well
  • The bottom has grip
  • The box has a size chart that makes it easy to find an appropriate size
  • Lined with polar fleece to provide warmth
  • Machine washable
  • Velcro closure for custom fit
  • Flexible and lightweight
  • Come in lots of colors


  • Need to order online (I have not seen them in pet stores yet)
  • If you lose them, it can be difficult to replace, only 4 come in a pack
  • More expensive

Bottom Line:

I’ll admit it, these boots are my favorite. They are easy to put on, stay on, and the dog’s seem to find them comfortable. They keep your dog’s feet safe from the salt, and they also provide warmth. The price is the biggest downside, and I haven’t had a chance to test their durability yet. If they last for several winters, they would absolutely be worth the price.

Saltsox Winter Collection


From $17 – Sold in sets of 12

How to put on Pawz boots


  • Easily available at almost any pet store
  • Inexpensive
  • Fit dogs with very small, and very large paws
  • Waterproof
  • Disposable
  • Flexible and lightweight
  • Several sets come in each box
  • Biodegradable
  • Handy Size Guide on Box


  • Hard to put on, and they do fall off frequently
  • Video of charlie, New tool for tiny sizes to get them on
  • Sometimes rip
  • Do not keep paws warm
  • Each size has its own color, so you can’t choose
  • Slippery

Bottom Line:

They keep your dog’s feet safe from the salt. They do tend to fall off and sometimes go missing. Luckily, the manufacturer is prepared for that and each pack comes with extras. It worries me that they do not have any sort of traction. Salt goes down when ice is on the ground, and it is easy to slip in these boots. However, they do accommodate the largest size of feet, but the big difference between sizes means that many dogs are in-between.

Pawz Boots

Ruffwear Boots

$25 – Sold in sets of 2

Ruff Wear boots are great for summer too!


  • Sold in sets of two
  • Very durable
  • Appropriate for summer and winter
  • Lots of sizes available
  • Weather-resistant
  • Velcro closure for custom fit
  • Boots provide great traction


  • More rigid and less flexible than the others
  • Not waterproof

Bottom Line:

My favorite feature of these is that they are sold in sets of two. Dustin’s feet are different sizes in the front than the back, and being able to order them separately is a huge help. I also really like that these boots cane be used in winter and summer (why would my dog need summer boots? — hot pavement).

Summit Trex™ Dog Boots

But, my dog really won’t walk if he is wearing boots, what should I do?

Mushers Secret may be for you!

If your dog finds the boots too aversive to wear, you could also use Mushers Secret wax instead. Mushers Secret is a hydrophobic wax that you apply to their paws pads, kind of like chap-stick, that acts as a barrier between your dog’s feet and the salt on the road.




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