WooFDriver's Team Bootied Up
I use booties and waxes when conditions warrant, but usually sparingly because it’s important to keep the callus on a Dog’s pads healthy to keep them less injury prone and booties can prevent that.
I like to vary the trail surfaces we run including asphalt. Different surfaces can offer different but important aspects that with a good rotation of a variety of surfaces they can almost all contribute to developing and maintaining healthy paws, pads, nails and joint/muscles.
It’s important to learn the way a particular dog runs and understand if there are issues causing abnormal or unnecessary pad wear that may be dog not surface dependent and then address accordingly.
This is true especially as dogs get older and age related health issues that may limit their mobility for instance, they sometimes don’t lift their paws as high when they walk so they can be subject to almost dragging their paws but it’s not always obvious to notice except if you see blood from grinding the nail or claw down to the bloodline. I actually have had dogs in their senior years that loved to be on the bike so much they would put holes in booties from dragging their back paws. I then in my thinking outside of the box created essentially steel paw booties:)
Sometimes A Must with Caution
I also have actually had issues with booties as they can inhibit dogs as the dogs have less contact with the ground and can’t use their toes or claws to grip the surface so they’ve caused some of my Dogs to slip. Additionally sometimes they can create awkward movements and gaits. Also booties can inhibit the pads on a Dog’s paws from developing and maintaining callus as I’ve mentioned which is so important for active working Dogs to keep them less injury prone on their pads. Finally it can be a challenge to keep them on during activities as they can tend to come off one way or another. So proper fit and and how they stay on your dog is another factor to consider as if it’s not right they can rub on the dog and create abrasions as well as come off the dog totally. Here’s Jag in the picture after he lost a booty, that’s why I always carry extra!
A Booty for all occasions
Some of Woofdriver's Booties
Again depending on the situation, when I use booties I have a range I choose from accordingly. In particular I like a brand called Dog Mocs which are like a sled dog bootie as they are not as fitted and allow the dogs to feel the ground more because they are thin but made of deerskin so they will last longer on a variety of surfaces. But again depending on the Dog and situation I keep an array of booties to find the best for any particular situation.
Booty or Wax
One additional aspect I didn’t directly address is snow. The same advice here holds true as I’ve mentioned again conditions ond type of snow from powder to hard packed, ice, salt, chemicals they use to treat on roads sidewalks etc… all should determine if you need to booty your dog. Of course harsh treatments they use on roads and sidewalks are a must to protect your dogs paws from… they even offer disposable booties like disposable gloves which can be useful in situations like this. For snow that is not treated for melting aspects to booty or not can be determined on activity, type of snow and of course your dog. You see some dogs usually with hair between their toes (not all dogs have hair between their toes and also some people shave the hair between their dog’s toes for this purpose) but the hair will accumulate snow there and their whole paw can become like a solid snowball which can be extremely dangerous to your dog. This is actually an issue they call SNOWBALLING. So paw protection would be essential some even use waxes. One brand I use is Musher’s Secret which is a non-toxic wax that can be rubbed on the pads and between the toes to to help prevent this snowballing effect. The wax will wear off so depending the distance and time you are working your dog, you may need to reapply multiple times on your adventure.
Diet & Supplements
Also, I’d like to mention that I believe proper diet and supplements, like Salmon Oil can really help contribute to healthy paw pads! In particular, I think a Salmon Oil supplement on your dog food can really benefit their pads. Just from my personal experience I think it provides essential oils that help keep them from drying out and cracking. I currently use this brand and have had good results.