Have you ever taken your dog on unfamiliar terrain that had them limping the next day? That’s because dogs’ pads harden over time and terrain. Dog boots can help with that, but they still need a break-in period—after all, would you go for a long run in brand new shoes without socks?
Here are a few things you can do to help break-in your dog’s boots.
Work them. When you first get the boots, work them in your hands so the sole becomes more pliable. Because of their weight, small dogs have a particularly hard time softening the outsole, so breaking them in with your hands can really help them become more comfortable, quickly.
Take it slow. Start by putting the boots on in the house for a couple minutes, then try short adventures outside; gradually increasing the time spent in the boots.
Stop and check. Each time you use the boots during the break-in period, stop and check for rubbing and hot spots. This is also a great time to check the strap tension and fit, so the boots stay secure.
Socks for dogs? Just like socks help with the overall comfort of our shoes, boot liners can help with a dog’s overall comfort, providing a soft, wicking layer between the paw and the boot.
Get the right fit. Getting the right size boot not only ensures the boot will stay on and upright, but it also helps with boot comfort. The boot strap should fit snugly above the metatarsal/metacarpal pad, but below the carpal pad and dew claw. It should fit with little excess room from left to right, and front to back, and bend at a 45-degree angle where the dog’s paw naturally bends. Click for more tips on getting the right fit or check out pictures of the correct boot fit.
The boot dance. Your dog will most likely “dance” their first time in boots. Don’t be alarmed—this is a natural reaction. You might be surprised how quickly your dog will get used to the idea of boots if you follow these tips for getting your dog used to boots.