Here in the Midwest region of the United States, winters can get cold and snowy. But that doesn’t mean that outdoor adventures stop. It just means that your dog may need some cold-weather gear. As Ranulph Fiennes once put it, “there is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” And one piece of gear that can help your dog succeed on winter hikes, are boots. This winter, we upgraded Glia from home-sewn booties to Muttluks Fleece-Lined Dog Boots. These dog boots were designed for snowy conditions, making them perfect for my Minnesota pup.
Muttluks: “The Boot That Works”
Muttluks is a Canadian company founded in 1994 by Marianne Bertrand. She originally started designing boots after seeing her own dogs’ need for protection from the cold, damp, icy, snowy, and salt-ridden streets of Toronto. The companies name was derived from the Inuit word “mukluk” meaning “high boot.” According to the insert that came with Glia’s set of boots, since 1994, Muttluks have protected over a million dog’s paws and continue to hold a reputation as “the boot that works.”
Fleece Lined Dog Boots
Before I buy any gear for Glia, I spend some time on the internet reading reviews of the various product options. One thing I noticed in the various dog Facebook groups I participate in, is that Muttluks was the #1 brand of dog boot routinely recommended for winter hiking. (Ruffwear and DogBooties were also frequently mentioned.) When I made my way over to Muttluks’ website, I was impressed with the features of the fleece-lined Muttluks dog boots.
- Fleece lining
- Nylon exterior
- Self-tightening straps
- Reflective straps
- Leather soles
- Stretchy leg cuff
- Machine washable
- Available in 8 sizes
These dog boots were made for snow and were reported as dog boots that stay on. So we made the trip to a local pet store to try a set on for sizing.
Sizing and Fit
These boots come in sets of four. Since most many dogs have slightly smaller hind paws compared to front paws, this can make choosing the right size a bit tricky. Glia is a 40# American Staffordshire terrier mix and we ended up purchasing the small size (sizing ranges from Itty Bitty to XX-Large).
This size fits Glia’s front paws just right, but is a little large for her back paws. If tightened adequately, the boots do stay on her hind paws pretty well.
A note about the strap location: Glia has her dewclaws and the straps on the front boots fasten over the top of her dewclaws. This could become an issue on longer hikes. So far, we have not hiked further than 1.5 hours in these boots and Glia has not had any sores develop. However, I do notice that she will lick her dewclaw a bit after removing these boots.
Do these boots stay on?
The biggest question anyone ever has about dog boots is whether or not they stay on. No one wants to spend money on dog boots only to have them slipping off repeatedly during hikes. Or worse, losing the boots as they fall off while your dog is running through deep snow.
Our first walk, we had 5 instances of the boots falling off (on various paws, both front and back). I have since learned to tighten the boots a bit further, and they stay on well. Unfortunately, I do notice that the tighter I fasten them, the longer it takes Glia to acclimate to wearing the boots. Finding the sweet spot between keeping the boots on and keeping Glia comfortable can take a little time at the beginning of a hike.
Do the paws stay dry?
One of the big reasons I purchased Muttluks for Glia was that her home-sewn boots would get wet when walking through the slush on the road. They still protected her from the salt, but I worried about the dampness of her booties making her feet colder during walks in cold winter temperatures.
Everytime Glia has hiked in her Muttluks, her paws have been dry when the boots were removed.
One of my favorite features of these boots are the variety of colors they come in. Not only are they stylish, but picking a color like hot pink increases visibility. I can easily tell if Glia still has all four boots on. And if she doesn’t, it is easier to find a hot-pink boot in the snow compared to attempting to track down a less bright boot.
One negative I do have to mention is that Glia has very little traction in these boots. Glia can’t wear these boots when walking on the bare ice of a lake without slipping around excessively. Additionally, we often hike through icy, hilly terrain. And I worry about her traction on this rocky, hilly terrain. This weekend we went chasing frozen waterfalls and I almost removed the boots prior to hiking down to the falls. If Glia hadn’t been on-leash I would have, but I was able to stop her slides when needed since she was attached to me.
In deep snow, this wouldn’t be a problem. But with only an inch or less on most of our hiking trails right now, it is the biggest thing I would like to change about these dog boots.
We are pleased with our set of Muttluk Fleece-Lined dog boots. They are definitely an upgrade from our home-sewn pair. Our list of pros outweighs our cons. We would give them a 5/5 if only the strap did not put pressure across Glia’s dewclaws. And if she could get traction on slippery surfaces. As it is, these Muttluk dog boots receive a 4 out of 5 from me and Glia.
Does your dog wear boots in the winter? What is your favorite style/brand of dog boot?
Looking for other ways to keep your dog safe in the winter? Check out our winter safety guide.
And Just For Fun
Here is Glia trying the boots on in the house before her first hike wearing her fleece-lined Muttluks.
And just to prove that the first hike did go well.