Dogs are good friends to man, so we try to include them in some of the things we do. Sometimes, we take our dog camping, jogging, and even hiking isn’t left out as well.
However, unlike humans, they cannot precisely convey how they feel with words, but we still do what we feel is best for them. So, right now, you are wondering if your dog needs to wear hiking boots just like you.
Of course, the dog’s paw is always there to protect them at different occasions and situations, but is that always enough? You probably want to think about this since hiking is involved.
Just like you protect your feet, your dog’s paws may need just an additional layer of protection on hiking adventures. But, of course, your dog needs to walk on different terrains to develop calluses on their paws.
This provides their paws with natural protection, but you cannot sometimes predict what to expect on hiking trails. And this brings up the confusion of whether your dog can hike with or without hiking boots.
However, this article has just the answer for you. We will discuss why your dog needs hiking boots and some cons they might possess. Also, you get to know when it is appropriate to wear hiking boots for your dog.
Let’s dive right into it!
Does My Dog Need Hiking Boots?
Of course, your dog needs hiking boots. Hiking boots serve as some additional protection for your dog’s paws. On different occasions, some people wear socks for their dogs when walking on different terrains, not just for hiking.
While socks are good, wearing hiking boots for your dog can be a better choice. Although you should first note that dogs don’t need hiking boots in all cases. There are times and situations where they will do just fine hiking on their paws.
But generally, hiking boots are suitable for your dog for different reasons. First, and more importantly, you wouldn’t want to bargain with your dog’s safety by not protecting their paws with boots.
Why should your dog wear hiking boots, and why shouldn’t they?
Pros of Hiking Boots for Dogs
Hiking boots bring a lot of benefits for your dogs on the trail. Let’s see what they are:
1. Protects the dog’s paw
Initially, a dog’s paw offers some natural protection for them. For example, it protects the dog on terrains and helps with temperature control.
While that is the case, your dog’s paw could use some extra layer of protection which hiking boots provide. In addition, hiking trails are unpredictable, and you may come across objects or animals that may pose a danger to your dog.
Dog hiking boots have thick paddings that help protect the paw from the impact of rocks, sharp twigs or branches, and other harmful objects. Also, the hiking boots protect your dog’s paws from ants, insects, scorpions, or other critters that may harm them.
While it may not guarantee 100% protection from harmful objects and animals that may affect the leg region, it does protect the dog’s paws to an extent.
2. Prevent paws from cracking
Hiking is some sort of rigorous walk, and when you are back home, you can feel it to your bones. So, while relaxing from the exercise, you probably don’t want to deal with your dog being in pain.
They may whimper in pain, and that could lead to more severe issues if not treated immediately. This is why you need to protect your dog’s paw on the trail, especially their paws.
And for this reason, you need to wear hiking boots for your dog. While allowing your dog to hike on different terrains without protection helps toughen their paws, it could also pose dangers to them.
Not only can that make their paws crack, but it also causes blisters or pains. In addition, unprotected feet can lead to dry paws after walking several hours and miles on the terrains.
This can make walking painful for your dog, and we are sure you would rather not have to carry your dog off the hiking terrain. So, of course, your dog needs hiking boots.
3. Support for your dog
Usually, you wear hiking boots for ankle support on hiking trails. Likewise, your dog needs that as well so they can hike in the most comfortable position possible. Just like the hiking boots you wear aid your ankle, dogs’ own also support the hocks.
So not only will they hold up the dog’s hocks, but they will also ensure that they maintain stability on hiking terrains. As long as you get quality and properly fitting hiking boots for your dog, you can be sure to get the extra support it needs.
4. Provide comfort with extra padding
Hiking requires comfortability. When this is missing, you get tired quickly, feel frustrated, or even sore all over. And just like you, your dog also needs to be comfortable and keep happy feet (or paws) when hiking. So, wearing hiking boots for your dog ensures that they are comfortable.
Generally, quality dog hiking boots have extra padding that leaves a soft feeling around the paws. And with every step your dog takes, they experience a soft landing.
5. Stability and traction
Since you will probably be hiking on different terrains with your dog, you want to be sure they are stable. So, whether you are walking on even or uneven terrains, your dog can be sure to stand firm.
Hiking boots provide traction for your dog when hiking. So, you can take your dog hiking on snow, ice, rocky or uneven terrains, and they will be safe.
Furthermore, it will prevent your dog from slipping and make them perform better on hiking trails. Also, it helps them reduce their risk of injury and energy impact between their feet and the surface.
Wearing hiking boots for your dog does sound like a good choice. Why? It seems like the best thing to do to protect your dog from harm and to ensure they enjoy hiking as much as you do.
Last update on 2021-11-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
However, there are certain drawbacks to wearing hiking boots for your dog. What are they?
Cons of Hiking boots for Dogs
It’s unavoidable that hiking boots can still bring some troubles for your dogs. Here’s some cons:
1. Your dog may not adapt to them easily
One major drawback of wearing hiking boots for your dog may be the difficulty adapting to them. In addition, since dogs are already used to walking with their paws, they may feel different walking in boots.
Usually, wearing hiking boots for your dog can make them feel uncomfortable, thereby messing with the way they walk. Also, having anything on their paws may seem strange if they originally don’t wear dog socks or shoes.
This may make walking, for them, awkward at first, till they get used to it. Then, after a few whiles or occasions, they will probably adapt to it.
A dog’s paw usually has excellent grips on different terrains. So while wearing boots on their paws could make them lose their balance and friction.
You could get them to feel comfortable walking by distracting them from being conscious of the hiking boots on their paws by rewarding your dogs or praising them for walking in the boots. Dogs love treats!
At the same time, you should probably check if they will be comfortable walking in them. You should not wait till you are in the car or on the hike.
Besides, the hiking boots for your dogs must fit correctly. You can test the level of their comfort by trying the boot on one paw at a time without fastening the zipper around their hocks.
Better still, your dog may not need to wear hiking boots on the trail, depending on the situation.
However, in some cases, some dogs never get used to wearing hiking boots even after a while. So if your dog falls in that category, you shouldn’t try to force them to wear it.
2. Hiking boots may fall off
Another downside to wearing hiking boots for your dog is that they may fall off. First of all, when your dog feels uncomfortable wearing them, it may try to pull them off with its teeth.
That can make it easily fall off, and you may lose them on the trail if you ignore it. This is more likely to happen if you don’t tighten them around your dog’s hocks.
Another reason they could fall off is if they don’t fit around your dog’s paws or hocks perfectly. This makes them more prone to slipping off their paws.
3. Getting the right fit is tough
Getting the proper hiking boots fit for yourself requires a lot of work. You know all the things you had to consider and pay attention to for you to get the perfect one.
Likewise, getting hiking boots for your dog can be challenging, sometimes even more than you think. And one major challenge with getting the right fit is that a dog’s paws aren’t equal.
The ones at the rear tend to be smaller than those at the front, so getting a set that would fit all the paws might be challenging. So, you would need to be sure that the hiking boots fit perfectly before leaving the store so you can easily replace them for a better fit.
You may consider buying different pairs for the front and back paws. Or better still, you can measure your dog’s paws before leaving home with a tape as well as their hocks.
4. Hiking boots can irritate your dog’s skin
Sometimes, hiking boots materials can irritate your dog’s skin. There is no specific clothing material that causes allergies for dogs, but you should study your dog and know what works for it.
Dogs can be allergic to wool, polyester, nylon, or any other material. So, it is best to know your dog, so it doesn’t end up with a horrible hiking experience.
How To Know When Your Dog Needs Hiking Boots?
Now, we have discussed if your dog needs hiking boots or not, and you have seen how handy they can be on hiking terrains. But, also, on the other hand, they could have some drawbacks.
However, you would not have too much issue with your dog wearing hiking boots or not when you know precisely the right time to wear boots for your dog. So, when is it appropriate or best to wear hiking boots for your dog?
1. Going for longer hikes
Of course, dogs probably don’t need to wear hiking boots around the home or walk around the neighborhood. Likewise, when going for shorter hikes, you may not need to wear hiking boots for your dog. Generally, your dog’s paw should probably be okay to go for hiking trips less than 8 miles.
If you are going to hike for hours or a whole day, you need to protect the paws from walking for too long. If your dog doesn’t feel so comfortable walking in hiking boots, they should probably not wear them all through the journey.
You can wear the boots for your dog, maybe when you are halfway on the journey or when returning to your base or car. This allows the dog’s paw to breathe and at the same time enjoy a certain level of protection.
2. Hiking on harsh terrains
Another proper time to wear hiking boots for your dog is when you are going for hikes on harsh terrains. On plain and well-paved terrains with no obstacles or harm, your dog’s paw will do just fine on them.
On rougher terrains, your dog may be susceptible to harm, like rocks, insects, or other ground creepers. If your dog walks on the terrain without any form of protection, it may end up with cuts, bruises, and blisters.
As a result, your dog may be in pain throughout hiking, and it could also pose a danger to its health. So, if you are sure of the hiking terrains, ensure you protect your dog. You could also carry the hiking boots with you anyway, so you are prepared for any unexpected situations.
3. Harsh weather conditions
Your dog needs to wear hiking boots if you’re going hiking during harsh weather conditions. For instance, your dog should wear hiking boots when the sun is scorching hot.
The sun would have heated the terrain, and that could hurt your dog when it walks on the surface. Also, it could hurt and make them be in pain all the time you are on the terrain.
Likewise, too cold weather conditions can be bad for your dog’s paws too. For example, going hiking with your dog when snow is falling all over can make it slip on the terrain.
Usually, the hiking boots ensure that your dog’s paw gets all the warmth they need to hike safely. Plus, hiking boots have insulation that keeps the paws warm even when the weather is freezing.
Another thing is that some hiking boots have waterproofing features that protect your dog’s paws from getting wet. So, if it’s raining or drizzling, you can wear hiking boots for your dog.
4. Dog state
One more thing that can help you decide whether you should wear hiking boots for your dog is their state in respect to their age or health condition. For example, as a dog gets older, it becomes weaker compared to the younger ones.
This means that its hocks may not be able to support its weight like in the past. And for an activity as rigorous as hiking, you should consider that.
Hiking boots usually provide hock support for dogs just like it does ankle support for you. It will not only protect the hock but make hiking easier for your dog.
Also, if your dog has some health conditions, they should wear hiking boots on a hike. You don’t want your dog’s health to deteriorate by leaving it susceptible to harm that could make it worse. In that case, you probably shouldn’t take your dog hiking on longer hikes or harsher terrains.
Just like you need to protect your feet when hiking, you also need to ensure your dog stays safe. And one way you can easily do that is to protect its paws.
But, of course, this brings up the debate of whether your dog needs to wear hiking boots or not. However, your dog does need to wear hiking boots when hiking, but this depends on different factors.
This article talked about the benefits and drawbacks of wearing hiking boots for your dog when going on a hike with them. Also, we discussed occasions where your dog must wear hiking boots.
It may seem pretty challenging at first, but your dog should adapt to how it feels around its paws with time.