As we traipsed through the new snow, Shawnee suddenly stopped and sat down.
“What’s wrong Shawnee?” I asked.
I didn’t really need to ask the question, because I already knew the answer.
She laid down, and started nibbling at her paws. Or more accurately, she grabbed on to the area between her pads and pulled with her teeth.
“We messed up. We really should have put her dog booties on” Bryon said.
Looking at Shawnee, you’d think she was perfectly equipped for winter weather. With an incredibly thick coat, I call her my “Woolly Bear.” She never gets cold outside no matter the temperature or how much snow there is.
Snow seems to invigorate her, as she stands at the door, tail wagging, impatiently waiting for me to leash her up. Once we get outside, she kicks her legs up, tossing snow everywhere. Then she proceeds to flop over, wriggling around like a cockroach on its back.
But I know what she’s doing — making doggy snow angels!
But Shawnee needs to be properly outfitted, or she’s miserable over the course of our snow walk — dog booties.
All that thick fur between her pads acts like velcro to the snow, creating ice balls within minutes. Imagine if we had to walk around with ice balls between all our toes? It wouldn’t feel too good.
They sell these booties for $3.00/bootie in a myriad of colors. We’ve found that bright colors like Blaze Orange or Neon Pink work well. That way if they pop off, you can usually spot them pretty easily.
Sizing is critical — too small, and it’s impossible to pull them on. Too large and they don’t cinch securely and they’ll lose them. A great way to check is to dip you dog’s paws in water and then step on paper and measure them that way.
These dog booties have a very secure velcro closure up high that is easy to fasten. Most of the time, we only lose one or two boots per winter per dog. So we start out buying 10 for each dog which runs $30.00. Not a bad deal for a dog that’s happy romping through the snow.
Don’t get discouraged by how your dog responds when you first put them on. Most dogs don’t love having boots put on them. Logan does a high stepping routine around the house, like he’s walking on hot coals.
The trick is to get them outside as soon as possible and engaged in the favorite fun games. Get a bright orange ball, give them the favorite treat as a reward for allowing you to “outfit” them. Once Logan and Shawnee get out in the snow, they completely forget how weird they feel, as they frolick in the snow. And it makes for a much happier walk, snowhoe or ski, when they aren’t stopping every few minutes to gnaw on the ice balls.
If for some reason, your dog absolutely won’t tolerate boots no how, no way, there is another option. Musher’s Secret is a kind of grease that keeps snow from sticking to your dog’s fur. It does get kind of messy though putting it on, so try to get your dogs into wearing boots.
Boots aren’t everything you need to make you dog happy in winter. In the next post, we’ll talk about some other items that are sure to make Fido a happy snow camper.