UPDATED SEPTEMBER 26th, 2022 removing discontinued boots and adding new ones!
So you’ve been looking for dog boots for your fair-footed friend? I bet you’re struggling to decide which ones to buy because there are SO many choices. And maybe you’re a little hesitant to make the investment because you’re pretty sure the darn things are just going to fall off and you’ll lose them in a snow bank.
I am about to do you a big favour! I have been selling dog boots to savvy pet parents for over a decade and we’ve tried them all! And I can tell you as a retailer, we have no interest in wasting our time with boots that are going to be returned because they don’t stay on, or they’re causing sores or injury to your dog’s feet. Returns are no fun for anyone!
This blog post contains affiliate links to Amazon.ca and if you click those links and make a purchase, I receive a small commission on that purchase.
Before I get to my top five boot choices, I’d like to tell you why I think dog boots are more than just a fashion statement; they’re very functional too! Here’s how:
You may think because you live in a location that seldom sees the cold white stuff, that your dog doesn’t really need boots. However, sidewalks can get super hot and really burn those tender tootsies. There are many boots suitable for all seasons, and creating a barrier between your dog’s feet and that hot asphalt could make for a much safer and enjoyable outing.
Rocky Trails and Beaches
You and your dog love hitting the trails, but sometimes your companion’s paw pads get torn and blistered and they can bleed. Torn paw pads are very painful and take AGES to heal. A comfortable boot will protect those paws which will provide you with more time to bond on the trails.
Where I live in Canada, a salt and chemical mixture is often applied to sidewalks and roads to melt ice and make surfaces less slippery. This means that dogs can accumulate salts on their feet, and eventually they will likely lick them off. Many ice-melting products contain chemicals that can cause chemical burns topically, and illness if ingested. Even if your favourite sidewalk salts are dog safe, they can still dry and crack their precious paw pads!
Cold Snow and Ice
You and your dog love to be outdoors exploring the winter wonderland, but after only a few minutes your dog starts lifting their feet and refusing to walk. It’s cause their pawzies are COLD man! Many people assume that dogs are much more cold weather resilient than they are. If you are cold and need to wear a parka and warm boots, odds are your dog needs some protection too. A warm, non-slip boot can extend your walks and hikes by hours!
Now that you know why your dog could use a set of sexy shoes, here are my top five recommendations! (in no particular order)
HOT TIP! Although you can purchase most things online these days, I would highly recommend you find a local retailer to purchase your boots from. The main reasons are that you can bring your dog into the store and the store staff can help you properly fit your dog’s boots. (I recently purchased a set of dog boots from a sizing chart alone and they are a good TWO sizes too small so I have to return them!) Also, it’s great to support local small businesses that help boost your local economy. #smallbusinesssaturday
1. Pawsh Pads Boots (Canada)
My first choice for winter conditions
My absolute favourite boots for snowy conditions are the Pawsh Pads boots. They are a taller boot covering more of the leg for additional warmth and protection from snow and ice.
One reflective velcro strap fastens around the ankle to prevent the foot from moving around in the boot, and the other higher up the leg to keep the boot from slipping down.
Pawsh pads boots are very easy to get on, which is unusual for tall boots. They are made of neoprene making them light weight, soft, comfortable and water resistant. And best of all, THEY STAY ON! We own a pair of these boots and my dogs have tested them in DEEP snow, and they always come back to me with all four boots on. I can’t say enough good things!
Available in five colours and seven sizes. Sold in sets of four.
2. RC Apex Boot (Canada)
My first choice for most versatile boot!
The Apex boots from RC were added to this list in 2022. We sold these boots for the 2021/2022 winter season and they were a huge success! People loved them! I have now switched all of my dogs onto these boots for my own personal use.
The Apex Boots don’t just look cool, they are high performance boots for your high performance pup! Constructed from tough yet breathable, lightweight knit technology, they sport a specialized molded outer sole for maximum comfort and exceptional traction in slippery conditions or on uneven terrain.
Our specifically sized back and front boots ensure a perfect fit that will stay on your dog no matter where your adventures take you.
Available in two colours and five sizes. Sold in sets of four with the back two boots being one size smaller than the front.
You can purchase the Apex Dog Boots on the RC Pets website or at your favourite pet specialty shop.
3. Ruffwear Grip Trex Boots (USA)
My first choice for summer conditions and rocky terrain
I know I am not alone in the fact that I am huge dog brand nerd, fan girl over Ruffwear. We have sold their products in our store for over a decade, and despite insane shipping costs into Canada, and our lousy Canadian dollar, we continue to carry them and they continue to sell! That’s because Ruffwear’s quality products are equal parts fashionable and functional. But I digress… about the boots…
Grip Trex boots are for all terrains meaning that if you live in a climate like mine, your dog can wear them 12 months out of the year. I love ROI like that! My dogs have worn these boots in the water, in the snow, on the trails and on the ice, and they are incredible for each scenario.
They have a Vibram rubber sole which continues to look new even after years of wear and tear and provides traction on varied terrain. I really love the breathable mesh that keeps dirt and debris out, but allows the foot to breathe.
The Grip Trex boots are very easy to put on, and the single velcro strip with reflective piping wraps around the thinnest part of the leg keeping these boots on – even when your dog is running and jumping.
My only complaint about the Grip Trex boots are that the top of the boot can interfere with dogs that have dew claws. I would suggest a higher boot for these pups. (see Polar Trex, Pawsh Pads & Muttluks)
Available in three colours and eight sizes. Sold in sets of two.
4. Ruffwear Polar Trex (USA)
My first choice for quality and design
I can’t describe this boot better than Ruffwear, so from their site:
The Ruffwear Polar Trex dog boots are designed for warmth, traction, and protection in winter conditions. Insulated upper softshell fabric creates breathable, weatherproof warmth in extreme cold and inclement weather. Ruffwear-designed Vibram® outsole provides optimum traction on frozen surfaces.
Closure system combines hook-and-loop with hardware, cinching around the narrowest part of the dog’s leg to provide a secure fit. Pullover stretch gaiter keeps snow out and improves retention by protecting the hook-and-loop ankle closure from the elements.
Unfortunately, I have not had the opportunity to put the Polar Trex boots through their paces on actual dog feet outdoors so I cannot attest to them staying on or not. However, I have had them in my hot little hands, and put them on my dogs’ feet.
What I CAN say about these boots is they are ridiculously high quality and the design is insane! Just look at them! They’re harder to put on than the Pawsh Pads boots, but if you are seeking an incredibly designed, quality boot for winter – this is your boot.
Available in one colour and eight sizes. Sold in sets of two.
5. Muttluks Original Fleece-Lined (Canada)
My first choice for warmth
The very first dog boots I ever heard of, and ever used were these boots from Muttluks! And to this day they are one of the most requested boots in our store.
I am going to be honest here and say that I find them one of the more difficult boots to put on, but I may be alone in that because SO MANY people love these boots.
They were designed by Canadians for our harsh winter climate, so they are fleece-lined and warm. It is a very high, tapered boot that is really great for deep snow. They are my first pick for dogs with large dewclaws as they keep them tucked in and safe from tearing. We very seldom get complaints from people regarding them falling off so although I have not tested them myself, I have heard great feedback!
The Fleece-Lined Muttluks have a treated leather sole that provides a more flexible fit than some of the rubber soles. They have one reflective strap that sits on the ankle. And good news for even the teeniest of dogs – these boots come in size “itty bitty” which work great for even the smallest tykes.
Available in seven colours and seven sizes. Sold in sets of four.
BONUS! 6. Gooeez All Season All Terrain Boots (Canada)
Extra special bonus boot! My first choice for tiny dogs.
The Gooeez boots came on the scene in the winter of 2021 and look poised for having another successful season in 2022. We brought these boots in for the super small dogs like the Chihuahuas and Yorkies!
The Gooeez boots are fused with proprietary elastomer gel with a unique, specially woven fabric to provide your dogs with the ultimate experience in paw-wear. They are very different from any other boot I’ve seen as they have a rubber interior that helps keep the boot on, and have no straps.
From my experience, these boots DO stay on, but I must say that they are very difficult to put on. Their website claims the boots stretch up to 3x their size which is true, but it’s very hard to stretch the boot AND hold your dog’s paw at the same time.
That said, most people DO figure it out (usually by borrowing a second set of hands), and they’re grateful for a boot that FINALLY fits their tiny dogs AND stays on.
Available in various colours and seven sizes. Sold in sets of two.
You can purchase the Gooeez Boots on the Gooeez Website or at your favourite pet specialty shop!
HOT TIP! No matter which boot you buy, remember that they can loosen over time when in use and as they get wet from snow or water. Just as with your own boots, you may need to tighten the straps every so often while your dog is enjoying their outdoor activities.