It's not a bootie, it's an adventure!!

Copper often drags his feet forward or walks on the tops of them. This happens more in the cart, it depends on his mood and energy level. It's more likely to happen when he's tired or relaxed, and sometimes he'll just drag his hind feet completely a bit. Therefore he needs foot protection to prevent scraping up his hind feet and grinding his nails down too far. Finding something that holds up has not been easy, especially since we walk mostly on concrete and our walks are getting longer and longer as he builds up strength in the cart. I don't want to put his feet up in the cart stirrups, since he does use his hind feet most of the time and really does need to work that hind end. I have not found the perfect solution yet (as of 6/22/04), and if I do, you'll read about it here. But here's what I've learned.

There's two basic types of booties, mitten style and boot style. The mitten style are flat and may have no front or back. The boot style is shaped like a dog's foot. So far I've not tried the boot style yet, but hope to soon. 

I had been buying Pawtectors at Petco for about $25/set of 4. They're maybe cheaper if ordered online from somewhere else, but  I wanted to make sure they fit and it was just easier for me to go get them at the store. They're fabric lined rubber, held on with a velcro strap. One set lasted us almost a month, flipping them over, using only two at a time (Copper only needs them on his hind feet). These seem to be the best mitten types I've seen so far, the all over rubber coating protects the foot no matter if the bootie slips a bit or not. The velcro straps hold well. I've tried repairing them with duct tape when he wears through them, but that doesn't hold to the rubber so well, especially when Copper heads into a puddle. I've started carrying a bit of spare duct tape in my doggie bag. They're also harder to find in summer months, they're mostly a winter item. Notice I'm writing this in June.

Some I've seen only have a little protection on top near the toes, and these wouldn't work well for Copper. The mitten type booties will slip around, and it can be a lot on days he drags his feet a lot. So he needs a bigger protected area on the tops of them than most offer. Many are just felt and vinyl, or mostly nylon, which wouldn't even last a single walk with him.

For temporary use, I've made some duct tape booties. You can see them here at:
http://www.wonderpuppy.net/booties.htm
I've been experimenting with them, adding aluminum in various ways. Tried cutting toe caps out of a disposable roasting pan, but it's not so easy to make the edges safe. They will cut you or your dog if you're not careful (as my thumb can attest to). Copper wore through those too, I probably didn't have them shaped so well. I may try them again and see if I can improve that idea. Also tried aluminum tape, and that did hold up for one walk, but still needed patching  to be used again. They need daily repair, but at least they're cheap and do the job. They get him through his daily walk and as a bonus they match his blue merle coloring too, hehehe. 

I have a few wonderful friends helping me try to figure this out, and it's interesting trying to come up with solutions. This will be an ongoing project to find the perfect boot. I'll be trying some boot-shaped booties soon too. I'll post any comments here on anything I come up with. 



Update 9/27/04

In July, I discovered Copper didn't have the strength in his paws to bend the duct tape booties at all anymore. He dragged all the time in the cart when he had them on. So, it was time for another change. 

I did use boot shaped booties from Avery for a couple months and they did work well, a pair lasted about a month and they were cheaper than the Pawtectors. They often held his foot in correct position and made using his hind legs a bit easier.When they didn't slip around anyway. Since Copper doesn't keep his feet bent by himself and was dragging more and more, that happened pretty often. They would slip or turn. Usually about every other walk I was adjusting them while we were out.  And they weren't so easy to put on, I had to try to bend his foot into it and keep it in place while wrapping the velcro. But overall they were pretty effective once I got them on right. Cabela's has them here. I got the orange so it would be easy to see one came off. I used them until Copper needed to start using stirrups.

I also tried the Ruffwear 3D Bark n' Boots, but they didn't even last a block before they started to wear through at the toe from Copper's dragging. I kept them in his saddle bags for spares though since they're pretty compact. 

Again, Copper started running into too much resistance no matter what boot he wore, so I attached the cart stirrups. For a while, I had the stirrups adjusted so he could still touch the ground, but barely. I sewed some Teflon film to some fleece mitt type booties that had a rubberish sole (not vinyl). You can't glue teflon very easily, so the best thing is to sew it.  It involved ripping out the existing seam on the toe, sewing the teflon on so it didn't catch in the seam, then resewing the seam. So they had some traction on the bottom and would slide easily on the top. I don't know what kind these are, I picked them up at the grooming shop next to my vet's, but they're pretty generic. This worked very well since Copper wasn't putting a lot of weight on them, they held up nicely and still have some life in them after several weeks. I have no idea how someone would get the Teflon film, I was fortunate enough to have a friend who sent me a piece. (You know who you are - Thanks!!). 

Now that even the slightest resistance on his paws stops the motion of his hind feet, I took them completely off the ground in the cart. He still moves his legs back and forth just hanging from the stirrups so he still works those muscles a bit. This means no need for booties in the cart. But since he's dragging more around the house and getting wear spots on his feet, when he's not in the cart he's  in his well worn Pawtectors for part of the day. They're not breathable enough for him to wear full time, and since dogs sweat through their paws they need lots of air. He does still push against the ground with his paws somewhat when he slides around, so I needed something not too slick, and for now the Pawtectors are working. As he gets worse, I'll eventually start using the other booties for this. 
 

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Last updated 9/27/04