Does Your Dog Need Snow Boots?
If your dog has long hair between her toes, and you live in an area with snow, then you’ve probably witnessed your dog being plagued by frustrating and even painful snowballs. Some dogs will work so hard to remove the snowballs from their feet, that their feet can become raw and even bleed from excessive chewing and pulling. Depending on snow conditions and temperatures, even dogs with smooth, short coats can have problems with snow freezing to their feet. Abrasive, icy crust and sharp edges from skis, snowboards, microspikes, and snowshoes can also be hazardous to your dog’s feet and ankles. Around town, road salt and other de-icing chemicals can also be problematic.
Upgrades to the New Design
We tried the old-style of Ruffwear’s Polar Trex awhile back for winter backcountry adventures in Colorado’s high peaks, but could not get them to stay on Bella’s feet…even after resizing, trying sock liners, and wrapping her feet with sticky vet wrap. We were excited to see that the boots were totally redesigned last year, and decided to try again. The new Polar Trex are much more flexible, have redesigned fasteners, and they stay on! If you’ve used Ruffwear’s Grip Trex boots, then the fit of these is quite similar, only they are designed specifically with winter conditions in mind.
- Zippered, stretchy gaiter keeps snow and ice from packing inside the cuff of the boot. The gaiter also helps to lengthen the boot and offers extra protection from ski edges.
- Vibram sole is designed specifically for traction on ice.
- Insulating, layered construction
- Breathable, weather and water resistant outsole
- Reflective trim for low light conditions
Maybe Not for You If…
- Your dog has dew claws. Bella has dew claws on her from paws, and the closure on Ruffwear boots can cause blisters and irritation around her dew claws. Vet wrap and socks/liners on her front feet help, but they can still bunch and rub her dew claw area raw, so we have to be very careful. We opt to only use Bella’s Polar Trex only when there is a real need, and we check her front feet often for irritation.
- If you are purchasing boots for fast-paced adventures on packed trails, such as skijoring. We use lighter weight, simple booties such as those that sled dog mushers use for this purpose. They help Bella balance and get feedback from the ground naturally, are inexpensive to replace, and we don’t have to worry about gaiters since we aren’t traveling through deep snow when skijoring.
- If you are on a budget. A set of four boots retails for $99.95.
When it comes to traction, insulation, and protection in deep snow, then the Ruffwear’s Polar Trex are an excellent choice, particularly for dogs without dew claws. Polar Trex are made with the highest quality materials and should last for many years of use.
I like to have some form of protection on Bella’s feet and ankles when she joins us on activities that involve edges from skis or snowboards. It’s important to always be very aware of where your dog is in relation to your snow gear…training your dog to stay behind you on downhills is a good idea, and don’t forget that it is always better to fall than to accidentally run into your dog’s ankles! Finally, for those trips where just a little snow repellent is enough to fit your needs, then Musher’s Secret is another great product to keep paw buildup to a minimum!