If you have ever put on shoes for your dog in the past, you may have noticed that they walk a little funny with them on. But why?
One main reason as to why they walk weird with shoes on would be that you are not buying the appropriate shoe for them!
Buying shoes for your dogs are just as trying as buying shoes for humans — you will need to choose the correct shoes for them and their paws.
There are various reasons as to why dogs need to wear shoes when going out — mainly to protect their paws. There are also various reasons as to why they walk funny.
In Germany, police dogs have blue boots on to prevent them from getting cut and wounded by hazards such as glass shards.
And during the Idiltarod Trail Sled Dog Races, these dogs would wear boots to keep their paws warm from the cold and prevent ice and dirt from getting to their paws.
Read more to find out why your dogs are walking funny in shoes and how to fix it!
Why Do They Need Shoes?
As mentioned, one main reason why they need shoes would be to protect their paws from harm — such as sharp objects on the ground and extreme weather.
Your dog’s paws are sensitive, especially in extreme weather like summer and winter.
Especially during winter, there may be rock salt placed on some roads for de-icing.
This can erode your dog’s paws, causing them harm.
In areas where there is salt on the ground, it is thus important for your dog to wear some booties, to reduce ice build-up.
These shoes can also help to protect them when they are playing, jumping, and running.
When they are playing, accidents may happen and might cause slips and scratches when not careful.
Letting your dog wear shoes that fit well will help in avoiding some accidents too.
As paws can get dirty, wet, and muddy after walks and time outdoors, some owners may opt for shoes to keep them from bringing unwanted dirt into the house.
While dogs do not actually need boots, having them will help prevent your dog from injuries and keep their paws clean.
Why Do They Walk Funny?
There can be multiple reasons as to why they walk weird with boots on, such as:
- They are trying to wrestle the booties off
- The shoes are making them slip
- They do not have enough grip on the ground as they do without any shoes
- The shoes are too heavy for them
As dogs usually rely on their footpads to give them feedback, like how fast they are walking and what they are standing on, removing these by letting them wear shoes may result in them not having a grip and losing balance.
This signal is called proprioception.
When these signals are blocked by socks or boots, they may assume that their foot is stuck in something, resulting in them trying to shake the boots off.
If your dog is wearing shoes for the first time, they may not be used to it, making them uncomfortable and wanting to take them off.
Similar to the reasons above, they may start to shake them loose trying to get rid of a foreign object strapped on their paws.
Another reason as to why they may be walking weirdly is the fact that the shoes are not the correct fit for your dog — being either too big or too small.
Having a wrong-sized shoe may also result in them having difficulty walking and making them feel unnatural and uncomfortable.
How to Fix Their Weird Walk
If you still think that your dog will benefit from wearing boots, there are some ways you can fix their funny walk.
One way is to get them comfortable with things on their paws.
As wearing these shoes may make them feel unnatural and uncomfortable, you can start by getting them used to things touching their paws.
Such as massages or putting the shoes on for a shorter period of time.
When buying shoes for your dog, you can also get expert advice on getting the right fit.
Remember to find shoes that are waterproof and are anti-slip.
Choosing the correct size and fit will properly ensure that their paws are fully protected.
This will also help them feel more comfortable wearing the shoes.
Allow your dog time to get used to their new shoes and always encourage them so they do not feel anxious and distressed.
Other Ways To Protect Your Dogs’ Paws
One way to protect their paws and keep them comfortable is to keep them well-trimmed — including their nails and fur between their toe pads.
Having long nails may result in dirt build-up, making him feel uncomfortable while walking.
This may also affect his weight distribution and result in him losing his balance.
When trimming your dog, remember to trim between their toe pads, to keep grit away from their fur.
Having too much fur there may also make it difficult for your dog to walk and affect how he stands too.
Remember to lubricate your dog’s paws often too as it will prevent them from being dry and cracked.
Vaseline, coconut oil, and beeswax can help form a protective layer over their paws.
These will help to hydrate, soothe and soften their skin too.
While dogs do not necessarily need shoes, they may provide benefits and additional protection for them.
Having shoes can keep them safe from injury, provided you pick one that fits your dog well.
Choosing shoes for dogs is as important as choosing shoes for humans, choosing the wrong kind may result in them walking weirdly.
Getting the right shoe will make a difference, even in how they walk.
Remember to encourage them to use their shoes by giving positive reinforcements too.