Yana Paskova / Stringer
What with the end of the world via climate change bearing down on us, it's important not to just consider our own mortality, but the safety and comfort of our pets as well.
Dogs that spend any amount of time outdoors especially need winter care, and while their paws have circulatory systems that help them manage cold weather, snow and ice can do a lot of damage. Which is why you might want to consider dog booties.
I never thought I'd be that pet owner who puts boots on her dog, but seeing how uncomfortable the cold floor made my dog, Izzy, I decided it was time to bite the (silly) bullet. First I researched what kinds of boots were suitable for my dog's breed, because the size and shape of their paws and legs can make a huge difference in how well they stayed on.
We landed on Pawz, which are disposable booties that are pretty much little balloons for your dog's feet. They don't provide cold insulation, but they do stop the salt from getting in and burning her skin. Getting these suckers on, though, can be a real challenge — especially if you don't have the kind of dog that's patiently and eagerly waiting for balloons to be strapped to her feet.
Luckily, the internet giveth eternally. Googling for help led me to articles about using toilet paper or paper towel rolls to aid with bootie application — but those were too big for my 7kg rat terrier, whose legs are really skinny.
Searching around the house, I found something else that would be small enough and likely sturdier: an empty medicine bottle. This, it turned out, worked perfectly. Here's how you do it:
Choose a bottle with an appropriate diameter and length for your dog's paw and leg. It should slide over easily, but not be so wide that when you roll the bootie off of it, it snaps onto your dog's leg in an alarming and uncomfortable manner.
All instructional photos by Deanna Zandt.
Cut off the bottom of the bottle. (Leave the top part alone — that screwtop/lip maintains the bottle's integrity.)
Place the bootie on the end of the bottle that you just cut.
Slide the bootied bottle up your dog's leg.
Roll the bootie off onto your dog's paw, making sure to watch for dew claws getting caught.
Slide the bottle off her leg, over the bootie.
Adjust the bootie for a snug fit. Repeat, and give treats, as needed.