Why Do Dogs Walk Funny With Shoes On

Our dogs feel awkward wearing anything on their feet, so they walk funny! I can swear that it’s no easy task to get our dogs started wearing shoes! I have struggled to make our pet, Wiggle, wear them! Tricks and lots of belly rubs didn’t even save me then! My fur-baby hates wearing boots or socks and wrestles to walk or tries to remove them!

Why do dogs walk funny with shoes on?

  • Shoes restrict a dog’s natural ability to feel and grip the ground the same way they do barefoot. This causes stiff gait, so their stride resembles a trot.
  • Shoes can make them slip on a wet or icy surface.
  • Their attempt to shake the boots off leads to an amusing display of clumsiness.
  • Paws in shoes weigh more and are more restrictive. Dogs then tend to lift their feet higher and lose balance as their paws touch the floor.

Dog lovers understand that wearing shoes represents vital pawtection for dogs! It pays to know the importance of dog shoes, how to choose the correct shoes and how to train our fur babies to wear boots! We’ll cover these topics in this article.

Why Dogs Need Shoes

Protection from extreme weather

It’s a fact that we must protect dogs during the hot summer months and freezing winter seasons.

Rock salt, a.k.a table salt spread on roads for de-icing can erode the tender paws of our dogs. If the dog swallows the salt on the ice, it can result in vomiting, dehydration, or an upset stomach.

To take the necessary precautions for your pet’s health, we recommend:

  1. Use a non-toxic de-icing agent that is gentle on dog paws such as Morton’s Safe-T-Pet Ice Melt or Snow Joe Premium Ice Melt (demo in video below).
  2. For areas where regular de-icing agents and salt are in use, get your dog some booties to manage ice build-ups.
Snow Joe premium Ice Melt demo


By nature, dogs are playful and carefree.

Dogs can have boundless energy and are on their paws all day long – jumping, running, bouncing, and playing. As such, they can sometimes slip, bump, get scratches, and knock their heads on polished floors.

Shoes that fit well and don’t fall off assist in avoiding slipping accidents and can save you a trip or two to the vet!


Physical exercise, such as walking our dogs at least twice a day, is essential for dogs and dog owners alike. To protect their paws, add safety measures such as having pets wear shoes.

Dogs paws can get wet, dirty, and muddy after their time outdoors and can bring unwanted dirt into the house. Remember that unprotected dog paws can touch anything in their immediate surrounds.

For the sake of better hygiene, get your pooch used to slip-on paw-wear. It will help you feel at ease. Don’t forget to remove the paw-wear before going back into the house!

My dog hates wearing boots
Pomeranian Spitz ready for anything (hot or freezing side walks)

How To Make Your Dogs Wear Shoes

Show, See, Smell

First, show your pet dog the shoes the same way we do before giving them a new toy or treats. 

Do this for some familiarization. 

You can add gestures like putting them on your fingers and do some ‘finger strutting’ on the floor

Then, let them see and sniff a pair up close. Do this to help your dog feel less stressed by their new kicks, which will let them know that shoes aren’t a threat.

Touch then give a treat

Start putting a shoe on for each foot at intervals. 

Let a shoe stay on your dog’s foot for about 10 minutes or so. 

Once there’s no shaking or constant biting it off, it’s a good sign. 

Give some treats. 

Let it rest. 

Then, repeat for each foot until all four paws are covered.

Play and do a mock walk 

Now that your dog have the shoes on, it’s time to let them have a kick. 

Play with them. It’s, important not to laugh once they start walking strangely. Be encouraging!

Attach the leash and go for a mock walk around the house, doing your best to have them follow your lead. Walk your dog in this way for a shorter time than a regular walk outside until your dog becomes familiar with the new footwear.

Make sure the footwear is secure so that it doesn’t hamper your dog’s walk. 

Dog Shoes: Boon or Bane

I say, if the shoes serve a legitimate purpose when worn by our dogs, then it’s a bonus! 

  • It’s a protection from the soreness for our senior four-legged buddies. Our dogs’ paws wear and tear as they age, causing sensitivity and dryness, roughness, and cracks. Having them wear shoes is our way of giving them extra tender loving care.
  • We all have our days of cleaning paw marks from our floors. Save yourself time by letting those cute shoes prevent grime inside the house. 
  • Shoes provide extra comfort with padding. They work like brakes helping our pooch navigate slippery or steep slopes. 
How to keep dog boots from falling off
Terrier with snow shoes on the snow

But some owners are caught up with the fun of seeing their dogs shuffling with shoes. That’s when forcing our four-legged babies to wear shoes becomes a bane!

  • Do you make fun of your fur babies’ awkward walks? If so, know that this causes anxiety, and some of them will never adapt to wearing shoes!
  • Dogs sense our behavior/body language. When we are embarrassed by their clumsiness, they sense it and feel even more distressed.
  • Finding the right size is a burden, too! Most of us have bought the wrong ones at least once. Save ourselves a few bucks and get some idea or expert advice on getting the right shoe size. The correct size and fit will ensure that the paws are covered correctly. This will aid in our dogs being more comfortable when wearing them.

Kinds of Dog Shoes

Disposable dog boots

These easy slip-on, balloon-like designs, fit securely without zippers or straps.

They protect our dog from rock salt, sand, hot pavement, snow, and other irritating burrs.

They allow for ease of movement and maximum comfort while keeping our dog dry and safe from the elements.

Also, they are great for protecting pool liners during swimming.

They are used by veterinarians after surgery to keep paws protected and dry.


These shoes have a mesh upper, thick rubber bottom and an elastic band for protection from a paw injury.

They also assist with our dog’s balance.

As well as being a fashionable dog shoe, they are also great for everyday wear and better for walks and hikes!

Snow boots

Stylish, extra safe paw-wear, so our pet dogs are not kept indoors during the freezing winter! Boots give protection from ice, snow, chemical anti-icers, and pavement salt.

Look for a tough, treaded sole and comfortable insulation that will keep your dog’s paws covered and warm.

This style can also include a layer that extends boot height for extra protection.

Initially, our dogs will walk funny with these shoes on until they get the hang of wearing them!

Libby’s first outing in snow boots (resist laughing at your dog)

Related Questions

Do dogs need shoes in summer?

Yes. For protection from hot pavements and sharp objects.

Are dogs’ shoes cruel?

No. If it’s all about function and not fashion! We should keep our dogs’ paws from all kinds of injuries. But if you want to dress up and make your dog look chic, then yes. Imagine the stress of wearing something foreign to you.

Why can’t dogs walk in booties?

This is a moot point. For some hairy breeds, booties protect them from collecting ice and snow between the toes.

Can they wear socks all day?

I do not recommend them wearing socks 24/7, but it’s okay for several hours.

Do dogs like boots?

A lot of dogs do not since they can’t feel the ground wearing them.

Do dogs need shoes when we go hiking?

If the hiking trail is primitive and rough, I’d say yes. All sorts of natural debris, such as thorns and sharp burrs, can cut your dog’s paws while they are hiking. Find more reasons when hiking boots are a good idea for your dog by reading this article.


Michelle loves enjoying the outdoors with her dogs. She grew in a big house near the beach with German Shepherds. Nowadays, Michelle has down-sized her dogs to poodles, proving small dogs can enjoy the outdoors too! Her dogs enjoy playing fetch, swimming, and long walks. Michelle and her dogs enjoy escaping the city limits to hike, camp, and swim.

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