IHDI hearing service dogs work rain or shine, and we keep them outfitted to ensure they can do so safely. Hearing Dog Grayson models his boots to share the importance of dog booties and how they help protect his feet -- and your dog's feet, too -- from extreme temperatures and the hazards that come with them. In the summer, hot blacktops or other rock surfaces when hiking can lead to paw burns and a trip to the vet. When experiencing such surfaces, your dog may appear restless, lifting their paws to indicate discomfort, but some dogs don't give obvious signs. Conversely, in the wintertime, subzero temperatures, rock salt, and other chemical treatments for ice can make outings for your dog dangerous and painful. Getting your dog acclimated to wearing booties ahead of these situations can give you a safe and humane option for dealing with these hazards.
When introducing booties to your dog, have their favorite treat nearby, and start on a surface with some grip. You don't want the dog sliding around in the booties. The whole experience should be positive, and rewarding for your dog, so give lots of praise throughout the entire process. It may take several sessions before the dog can walk in all four booties. Start by putting a bootie on one paw only. Praise the dog and give them a treat and then remove the bootie. Continue the process for the rest of the dog's paws. If this is going well, try putting a bootie on one front foot and see if the dog will take a few steps. Try luring the dog with treats and lots of encouragement. Next, put a bootie on a back paw and continue the process. Go slow and take breaks. Work up to doing a short walk around the block, or try playing with your dog's favorite toy to help distract them from the fact they are wearing booties. Once the dog is acclimated, don't forget to put the booties on periodically so your dog can wear them comfortably.