River has some new shoes! That’s right. River wears boots when he goes outside for walks now. Despite his show of freezing in place and not being able to put his paw down properly after I put a boot on and the occasional side-eye, since the winter salt went down on the roads and sidewalks River has only gone out with his Muttluks. And besides, once he’s outside he just wants to keep going and forgets his embarrassment.
Last winter, I thought River would do okay without boots because we had been diligent about paw wiping after walks in our old neighborhood, but this was a new neighborhood and they put out more salt on the sidewalks than we were prepared for. Before too long, River’s pads were cracked and painful. His walks became potty breaks directly outside of our building’s main door, maybe he would get halfway down the sidewalk, but it was difficult. I would wipe his paws free of salt and ice with simple ingredient, fragrance-free gentle baby wipes then apply a balm to his pads multiple times a day but nothing helped as much as spring arriving that year. Read more about road salt and pet safety here.
Not willing to make the same mistake again, I measured River’s paws and got him the best pair(s) of winter dog boots I knew! Muttluks are made in Canada and they have been making them since 1994. I found out about them when I read a book called “Following Atticus,” which tells the story of a man and his dog who hike in New Hampshire. It tells so much more than that, those two really have a special bond, and I highly recommend it. As you would imagine, it snows a lot up there in New England. Atticus’ paws were getting sensitive from all the salt on the sidewalks in town and he would spend a lot of time hiking in the snow, so Tom, the owner and author, got him Muttluks to protect his feet so that they could enjoy the outdoors more safely.
And that’s all I wanted for River as well. He really loves his walks and will often find a good spot to stop and sniff the air for several minutes, but if I let him he might stop for 20 minutes just to nature watch. Instead of being reduced to only having potty breaks and indoor playtime, River gets his usual 30-40 minute walks AND indoor playtime! I really love the design of his fleece-lined boots. Not only do they keep a barrier between him and the salt, but they keep his paws warm even after 40 minutes outside and the Velcro strap is reflective and easily adjustable for a perfect fit.
Unless you have a fenced yard where you can let your dog out and they do not have to encounter the main roads and sidewalks, chances are you and I are wiping paws after each walk to help prevent irritation and damage to their pads. And if you do have a yard, you’re likely to wipe anyway because you don’t want snow or mud in your house either – who would!
We have gotten better at putting his boots on more quickly, but River still gives me a little embarrassed look as we get ready. But I’d much rather have him feeling a little embarrassed or have a neighbor chuckle when spotting his boots than to have River hobbled by the pain of walking outside in winter.
I’m so happy River got his Muttluks in time for the snowfall last week!