A lot of people have asked why my dog wears boots. Buster sports his fancy footwear for a variety of reasons, so my answer varies depending on the situation. Health, weather, time of year, and where we’re walking are all factors that have an impact. So, let’s get into exactly why my dog wears boots!

Buster the German Shepherd Dog on a pet friendly trail wearing black dog boots

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Reasons Why My Dog Wears Boots

For years Buster’s been wearing dog boots, but lately we’ve gotten more questions about them. The boots help Buster in so many ways that, depending on the day, the reason he’s wearing them can be different. If you have a dog like Buster, perhaps dog boots will help your pup, too! Here are the reasons why my dog wears boots:


Buster is terribly allergic to germinating grass. In the Spring, a walk in the park leaves him itching for days! Wearing boots keeps his paws from coming into direct contact with the grass, and the grassy bits can’t get into the fur between his pads where it’s hard to get out. A quick wipe of his legs and belly with a damp towel after removing his boots helps prevent any allergic reaction he might otherwise suffer.

Buster the German Shepherd Dog in his wheelchair in the grass

Dragging Feet

As he’s gotten older, Buster’s developed arthritis in his hips. The weakness and discomfort that causes has resulted in him dragging his back paws when he’s walking. The dog boots protect Buster’s paws from being scraped up when we’re out for walks.

READ MORE ⇒  Helping a Dog with Arthritis Keep Going

Buster the German Shepherd Dog in his wheelchair wearing purple dog boots

Foxtails and Sand Burrs

Seeing your dog limp toward you with one paw held up makes every dog lover’s heart hurt. Knowing your dog has stepped on a sand burr and is in pain feels awful. But realizing he’s walked through foxtails is even worse. With their barbs, foxtails can get embedded in your pet’s skin and require a trip to the vet to remove. Dog boots help keep your pet safe from these harmful weeds.

Buster the German Shepherd Dog wearing purple dog boots in Texas

Health Benefits

When we’re traveling, making pit stops at rest areas or gas stations is part of the deal. Many, many pets are using the same areas to relieve themselves, and unfortunately, not everyone cleans up after their pets. Ty’s willing to do his duty quickly and get back in the Winnebago, but Buster insists on sniffing every tree and post. Wearing his dog boots helps ensure he doesn’t pick up an illness on his hunt for the perfect spot to go.


Hot Pavement or Sand

Sand and pavement bake in the sun and can burn your dog’s pads when they get too hot. On warm, sunny days we test surfaces with our bare fee before walking the dogs on them. If it’s too hot for us, it’s too hot for the boys! Dog boots come in handy on days when you’re concerned that the ground could become too warm for your pup’s paws. That extra layer of protection provides peace of mind when you’re out and about.

Buster the German Shepherd Dog walking in purple dog boots

Protection On the Trail

When we’re exploring new pet friendly hiking trails, we can’t always know what terrain to expect. Some trails have sharp or rough rocks that make walking uncomfortable for pets. Having Buster’s dog boots along allows us to provide some protection for his paws so we can continue our hike.

READ MORE ⇒  13 Tips for Hiking with Dogs

Buster the German Shepherd dog wearing purple boots on a pet friendly trail

Staying Clean

Some dogs just attract dirt, and Buster is one of those dogs. Ty’s always been very fussy and would walk around a puddle rather than get his paws wet or muddy. But Buster is the opposite. He believes mud puddles are for prancing through, loves seeing his paw prints in mud, and gleefully gathers sand, leaves, and pine needles in his pads. Rather than spoil his fun, he wears his boots so we can leave his messy collections outside.

Buster Splashing in the Dog Park in Asheville, NC

Snow and Salt

Much to Buster’s disappointment, we try to keep the Winnebago out of snow and salt. But you may not be so lucky! For dogs who build up snowballs in their pads and those who walk in areas where salt is used to melt ice and snow in the winter, dog boots are a convenient way to keep your dog safe and comfortable.



Tender Paws

Buster’s had tender paws his whole life. And some places we’ve stayed had gravel or rough pavement that made his paws sore after a few days. In those situations, Buster wears his boots to keep his feet happy so he can enjoy his walks.

Buster the German Shepherd Dog playing with a ball wearing purple dog boots


As you can see, there are a lot of practical reasons why my dog wears boots. But Buster’s also loves the attention! Many conversations have begun with a question about Buster’s footwear, and while I’m chatting with the person, Buster saunters over for an ear massage or scratch on the rump. He absolutely has people wrapped around his boot-covered paws!

Pawz Dog Boots have worked great for Buster, but there are a lot of brands on the market. If you’re wondering which dog boots would best meet your needs, we’ve reviewed some of the most popular brands in this post   Which Dog Boots Are Best For Your Dog.

Can you think of other situations where dog boots would be good for your pup?

Gear Used in This Post:
(Affiliate Links)

Pawz Dog Boots

Freedom No-Pull Harness

Alcott Martingale Collar

Alcott Weekender Leash

Walkin’ Wheels Dog Wheelchair


Visit our Amazon store to learn about more products we rely on to make traveling with pets easier, safer, and more fun!

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  • you are a great example of a considerate loving thoughtful pet parent… so many people don’t think about hot pavement, helping out a dog w pain from arthritis who can still walk with some wheels for comfort… i test the pavement too with my hands pressed into the (black) pavement or my bare feet… a good minute to see how hot it actually is…
    i’m aware that we have to look ahead to things that could be an issue. as are grassy areas that people treat w chemicals to deter gophers and insects and all sorts of things we can’t even consider people do. better to be aware that life is different that 70’s & 80’s and long before that… our environment is more toxic than ever as seen in so many dogs with irritation of their paws bc they are allergic to the environment and biting & itching paws and tush and licking their bits insensately is a key insight to a dog with allergies… thanks for thinking of informing others of what should be already known but not everyone thinks of. okay bye!

    • Thanks so much for your note, Keeley — I truly appreciate it. I hope you have a fantastic day!

  • We get asked the same thing! My dog wears RC Pet brand booties since they stand behind their products and will replace them when Xero (dog) wears them out . After 3 months he usually wears them down so we started adding a thick layer of shoe goo to the soles so they last much longer.
    Xero stepped in a sharp rock when he was trying to find a good poo spot. Poor guy didn’t have his boots on and cut his pad. We keep a first aid kit in his harness pack so I was able to clean it up and get it bandaged for the trip home. Needless to say he’s wearing his boots whenever we are out from now on. Unfortunately RC Pet only has fleece lines booties that seem a bit too warm for summer. I was hoping to find some information about wearing them in summer and if it’d be an issue. These are the only ones so far that he can run in without loosing one, even in 2 feet of snow!
    Thanks for this post. I think more dog owners should protect their dogs feet when it’s warm out. It’s Not hard to tell that many of them are struggling while walking on hot pavement!

    • Thanks so much for your note, Brooke! And I agree – asphalt, sand, and sidewalks can all be too hot for dogs to walk on comfortably in the summer. And it’s important to protect our furry pals’ paws. The only thing I’d add is dog sweat through their paw pads. So when it’s hot, booties should only be worn for short periods of time to allow the dog to continue regulating his body temperature. Thanks again, and happy trails to you!

  • Thank you for this article. My dog also wears boots while walking due to reasons you’ve outlined. Other dog owners have positive comments when they meet my dog, but some haven’t been so nice and makes snide remarks. Wish those people can read this article before judging others!

    • Agreed, Clara! You’re doing what’s best for your dog – don’t let people who don’t understand make you feel bad about that.

  • I dont like to give negative comment but Please don’t use those rubber boots as they cut off blood flow. People leave them on too long and they are like putting a tight balloon on your wrist. Urban Walkers or Ruff Wear would be a better option. It would be nice if you reviewed other types of boots for other options.

    • Hi Terri! I really appreciate your feedback about rubber boots. I guess its possible that they could be problematic. But we used them for years with our dog, Buster, and they worked great for us. Also, we do have a blog post comparing other types of dog boots which you can find here >> https://www.gopetfriendly.com/blog/dog-boots/

  • Nice. I must say very article on this blog is so informative. I don’t really know that boots could be this much helpful. I have a very huge friend circle and many of my friends, neighbors, and known people have dogs. They are good at grooming and feeding them but I have never seen any of their dogs ever wearing boots. Maybe people are not aware of what benefits it could give their dogs. For me, I don’t personally like my dog barefoot especially after a fresh bath and while playing outdoor. But the problem is as soon as I get him to wear socks (not boots, I have stitched a pair of customized socks for my dog), he starts getting irritated and remove them right away. So it’s tough for me to it a habit for my dog to wear boots. One thing more, what if a dog doesn’t wear boots and have allergies too. What is the solution in this situation? What is the best thing in replacement? Any recommendations?

    • Hi Alex! Yes, it can sometimes take dogs a bit to get used to wearing boots. To help that along, I’d try the PAWZ booties. Because they’re a single layer of rubber, the dog has a more natural feeling of the floor or ground, which helps acclimate them to wearing the boots. For dogs who have allergies but don’t wear boots, wiping their paws and belly with a damp rag or paper towel after being outside can help remove the pollen that causes the reaction. I hope that helps!

  • Thanks Amy ! Went shopping for summer boots because Buddy is dragging his hind legs when walking. He is also getting unconfortable when walking on gravel. I saw the exact same boots Buster is wearing at a local store so Iam going to buy them for my dog!

    • Fantastic, Julie! They can be a little tricky to get on, so here are my tips:
      1. Stretch them out a bit, like you would a balloon before you blow it up
      2. Front paws are pretty easy if your dog knows “Shake” and will hand you his paws
      3. For the back paws, kneel on one knee behind your dog and set one of his legs against you thigh so you can use both hands to open the boot and slide it over his paw
      I hope that helps, and that he likes them!

  • Pawz boots were being given away at a surf-dog event I was photographing a couple years ago. It was great marketing for them having all these dogs running around on the sand and in the water with them on. I used them on my tripawd Great Dane on her last trip to Teton Valley during mud season. I found them challenging to get on, it took two of us to do it, and I’m always concerned about how tightly they fit at the top even using size XL.
    It is great they don’t come off but are you at all concerned that they are too tight on their ankles/wrists?

    • Hi Jenny! I totally understand your concern – they do fit kind of tight at the top. When they’re new I stretch them out a bit before putting them on Buster for the first time (like stretching a balloon before you blow it up). And, they do continue to stretch as they get older. Also, I don’t leave them on Buster for hours. Usually he’s in them for an hour or so max.

      I also agree that they’re tricky to get on. To conquer that, I taught Buster to rest his hind paws (one at a time) on my thigh while I kneel behind him. That way his paw is off the ground and I can use both hands to stretch the boot over his paw. You might want to give it a try!

  • Thank you very much for your common sense decisions to keep Buster Healthy, safe & happy on His walks. I remember our Charly had the same allergies and I didn’t know how to prevent it other than wiping and checking his paws. When we went camping- we did have a lawn chair for him to keep him off the pine needles- which he really disliked. Can you please repost your recommendations on the company for the doggie boots? Thank you Amy & Rob !

    • Hi Cynthia! You’re so welcome. We learn these things over time and I enjoy being able to share the information. I’ll add a “Gear we Used” section at the bottom of the post with the link you’re looking for. Thanks for your note!

  • Category: Travel Gear, Travel Tips / Tagged with: Health and Safety