Many dogs need a little extra paw protection from time to time, and the hard, rubber shoes sold in pet stores don’t always work. The good news is that DIY dog booties are easy to make, either with or with out a dog booties pattern.
Why Make DIY Dog Shoes?
Most of the time, dogs are happy to run and romp “barefoot” as nature intended! But there are some times when a simple set of DIY dog boots might be in order.
- Walking during unusually cold temperatures that the dog isn’t accustomed to
- Salt or chemical ice melters are present, causing irritation and posing a hazard if licked off
- Ice and snow forms clumps on longer fur between toes
- You’re walking over unusually rough terrain
- Hot summertime temperatures heats pavement
- Your pet has a paw injury
- Your pet has an injury or irritation elsewhere and you want to prevent scratching
If your dog needs to wear boots in bad weather, be sure to let them get used to the idea gradually, and don’t go too far on your first few walks. Check for signs of discomfort or chafing, and make sure that your dog’s toenails are at the proper length so that they don’t snag or break inside the boot.
Be sure that your dog boot pattern doesn’t leave you with a fit that’s too tight. Your pet’s paws expand each time they make contact with the ground, so a roomy but not-too-big fit is ideal. Patterns made with soft fabric have a bit of give and are preferable to hard plastic.
How to Make Dog Booties
When determining how to make dog shoes, it’s best to consider the reason you’d like to protect your dog’s feet as you come up with a solution. Sometimes homemade dog booties simply act as a barrier between the outside world and an injury that’s healing up, and sometimes they’re simply meant to keep your dog from scratching hot spots or other areas that need to be left alone.
If you’re interested in protecting your dog’s feet from freezing temperatures, then you’ll want to make sure that the booties are warm, plus you’ll want to use material that prevents slipping. This dog booties pattern from Domestik Goddess might be ideal, since it calls for polar fleece, vinyl, and some Velcro, along with a little bit of elastic. The pattern is very simple to sew and you can easily change the size to suit your dog’s paws. Complete sewing instructions are included.
How to Make Dog Boots for Hot Pavement
If you need to protect your dog’s feet from hot pavement, you’ll want a durable fabric that acts as a good barrier between the pavement and your dog’s feet. It’s worth noting here that these are best for short outings. Save longer summer walks for early morning or late evening when temperatures are cool, or head to a park with plenty of grass to save your dog’s feet from scorching heat.
The easiest way to make DIY dog booties for summer is to use a dog shoe pattern like this one, and make your pet’s boots with durable, breathable fabric such as denim. If you like, you can add suede or another durable material to the paw pad area, but this might affect your ability to wash the boots when needed.
How to Make Doggie Booties with Duct Tape
In case snow, ice, and salt are a problem or you’re dealing with wet, slushy mud, super-soft, absorbent dog booties probably won’t be enough. At the very least, you’ll need to clean and dry them before your next outing. That’s where these cool DIY dog shoes come in.
Similar to the simple paw protectors worn by sled dogs, this DIY dog boots pattern stand up to tougher conditions, plus it’s a whole lot easier to clean and dry afterward. The concept is simple: You’ll be using soft, warm fabric to cover your pet’s feet and keep them from getting too cold, and you’ll be covering that fabric in a layer of duct tape. You’re going to need four shoe laces, too. Any color will do!
Steps for DIY Duct Tape Dog Booties
Start by looking at your dog’s paws and cutting a piece of fabric that’s large enough to wrap the entire paw and ankle. It’s better to use too much than not enough; you can trim away any extra fabric later.
You’re going to need treats and patience, because the next steps take a while. The end results are worth it though, and if your dog regularly receives toenail trims, he’ll probably be OK with it.
One by one, wrap your dog’s paws in the fabric. Secure the top portion of the fabric in place with a strip of duct tape right above the ankle. Don’t get the tape on your dog’s fur; just tape over the fabric. This should be snug.
Next, cover all the fabric with duct tape. Make sure that your dog’s fur isn’t accidentally caught in the tape. You’re basically creating a fabric-lined custom dog bootie for each foot.
When you’re finished, you’ll be left with four little sneakers for your dog. Carefully remove them one by one and use a waterproof marker to note which paw the shoe belongs to. Make two small slits on the front of each of the DIY dog booties to create a tongue similar to the ones on your own shoes.
Now trim any extra fabric. Next, use a few more pieces of duct tape to reinforce the tongue and the side flaps. Be sure to fold the tape so there aren’t any sticky spots. Next, use scissors or a hole punch to make small holes in the side flaps. These should be far enough from the edges so that tearing isn’t a concern. Add laces just like you would for your own sneakers, and you’ve got a great set of DIY doggie boots!
Test them out to see if any adjustments are needed. If the boots ever need to be repaired, you can add more tape. These are easy to make and wipe dry, and you probably have everything needed to make them around the house! You can see photos that cover how to make dog boots using this method here. There’s also a longer version of these DIY duct tape dog boots at Wonder Puppy. These fasten with velcro instead of shoe laces and they’re a bit stiffer though they will soften up with use.
How to Make Doggie Boots from Baby Socks
Simple DIY dog paw socks are perfect for those times when you want to have a breathable barrier between rough, dry surfaces and your dog’s feet, as well as for keeping medicated ointment or other treatments on a dog’s feet when needed. These DIY dog socks are also perfect for preventing scratching, although you might need to have your dog wear a cone or a soft E-collar to prevent them from chewing the socks off their feet when you’re not watching.
Be sure to have some ½ inch elastic on hand. Depending on your dog’s size, you’ll probably need a few feet to keep the socks in place.
Start with two pairs of baby socks in a size that will comfortably fit your dog’s feet. If you’re trying to help a wound heal, or if your dog will be wearing socks frequently, you’ll probably want to make some spares after you get the fit just right.
You’ll be making two sets of dog paw socks, one for the front, and one for the back. Cut a small slit in the top section of each sock, about an inch from the upper edge. Tie one end of the elastic into the slit, making a double-knot so that it won’t come undone by accident.
Fitting the Dog Socks on Your Dog
Put the sock on your dog and notice where the top edge sits on his leg. Bring the elastic over the dog’s back and extend it to the same point on the opposite leg, ensuring there’s enough elastic to make a knot once the second sock is on. You don’t want to stretch the elastic here; the stretchy quality is for your dog’s comfort, as well as to make it easier to put the socks on your dog quickly. You can always untie one sock and tighten the elastic if you need to.
After you make the first set of dog socks, repeat the process for the hind legs if needed.
If your dog is going to wear four socks at once, you’ll probably find that they stay on better if you create a simple harness by using a third piece of elastic to connect the sets of socks together. If your dog is only wearing socks on his front or back legs, you can use a piece of elastic to connect the “harness” holding the dog socks in place to his collar. This should be long enough to go from the top of the elastic leg strap to the collar without stretching very much, but not so long that it’s loose. Whatever the reason for protecting your dog’s feet, you’ll probably find that easy DIY dog boots or socks do the trick. Once your pet is accustomed to the boots, they’ll enjoy greater comfort in challenging weather conditions.