Hiking with dogs - boots?

Bob Palin

Feb 9, 2012
Given Nick's problems with his dogs' feet on hikes and the fact that my little devil Biff got a cut on his foot out walking last night I wondered if people had any thoughts or hints about buying and getting your dog to wear boots.

Biff doesn't much like his feet being touched and resists strongly to attempts to put some boots we were given on him - they're a little too small for his front feet (huge!) so I'm also interested in what to get.

Brands? Fitting? Socks? Training?
I'm not super experienced with the dog boots but here is what I know.

I bought a pair of Large Ruffwear boots several years ago. They fit all of my dogs pretty well which include a 75 lb Akita mix, an 85 lb pit mix and a 100 lb doberman. I think Teak (the doberman) could use one size larger though. I've put them on all three but only really hiked them on Teak. Nikita allowed me to put them on but then she walked like she was in 2 feet of snow. She got used to them and could probably hike just fine in them, just haven't tried it. Patina meanwhile was not a fan. She didn't want them on and once we did get them tightened up, she went to work getting them off. If we kept her moving around, she would walk with them no problem, but the moment we lost her attention, she was trying to pull them off.

Teak meanwhile loves the boots. I put them on her and she goes crazy running back and forth. She even gallops and sounds like a horse when she's coming at you. The only problem is she lost them several times. In fact, she lost one on the last mile of our last hike so now I onlly have three boots. :(

So I've been looking at getting a new set and always carrying a spare set in her pack but dang are they expensive! Ndheiner makes his own dog boots. He just sews some material together and puts a little velcro strap around the top. I'll try and get him to post up some pics and info.

I personally don't want to make my own but $40 a set is ridiculous. Anyone know a good alternative?
My oldest dog took a while to get used to wearing boots but I started at home for short periods at a time 10- 15 minutes and then extended the time then going on walks with them. I like the Ruff Wear boots but I have also made duct tape boots a few times. As for fitting they all seemed to fit different so Petsmart I went to have her try them on.. really no dog likes boots immediately but give them some time.
nick , I think I have a pair of XL ruff wear boots in the garage.. used 1X and the old dog doesn't go out anymore and the new pup won't need that large...
My older dog wouldn't wear them until he bagged Lewis Peak in Ogden with me. It is a pretty long trip with a gnarly uphill to start and lots of rocks. When we got to the peak, I noticed he was hurtin and put the boots on. They made all the difference and he will now let me put them on him when he wants them on.

My younger dog will not wear them no matter what I try. In fact, if they were made of cat turds and greenies (her two favorite treats, one I give her to combat her sneaking around for the other) she wouldn't wear them. She is pretty tough though, she did 19 miles with not even a limp and when we got back to the car her feet were hamburger.
The Ruff Wear booties for dogs are a good investment. I would also suggest looking into the liners that go with them. Usually about $10. I have seen the booties wear sores onto the dogs paws after a few days on a hike.
I know this is an old thread but I thought I'd post anyways in case anyone else comes across it searching for info..

In the northeast over by me (NY, NH, NJ, VT, PA, etc) the trails are extremely rocky and rough on dog's feet. My little guy would rip boots right off but his feet needed protection, especially for longer 10+ mile hikes. I bought this stuff called "Musher's Secret" which is a wax for dog paws that hardens into a thin protective layer on the pads of their paws. I also use it in the winter for regular walks when it snows because it protects his feet from getting stung by the cold snow and from corrosive rock salt on the roads.

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Tinture of Benzion toughens up trail runners feet against blisters......maybe of use on dog pads? don't know ?
@slc_dan sewed some little nylon booties for his dog with a velcro strap to tighten them at the top and some shoe goo on the soles for traction. They worked great and his dog, who has had pad issues on longer trips, dominated the 30+ miles we did in Stevens Canyon and didn't seem too annoyed. I think most of the trip he only used them on her front paws.