Does your GSD need hiking shoes? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
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Does your GSD need hiking shoes?

I met a GSD expert in person the other day and she said my GSD must have hiking shoes. For context, she’s only 9 months and we haven’t taken her for any hikes and don’t plan to for awhile until she’s older, but I would like to work on her breaking them in if she does need them.

So.. Does a GSD need booties for hiking?! I’ve read conflicting information now and I don’t know what to do. I saw photos of dogs that got worse blisters in the booties and were miserable.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 04:25 PM
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I do a lot of hiking with Crios during the winter. Off trail, in the desert. Lots of rocky hills and mountains to traverse. He doesn’t wear booties. I tried a peel and stick version that covers just the pads, and has a grip on the side facing out, but he got blisters from those. I felt horrible having to peel them off those blisters!

What I do is have Crios carry 2 memory cool gel pads long enough to get two paws on one pad. So when we take breaks, or I see him energy go from go go go to looking at his paws, it cues me into his feet bothering him. We take as long of a break as he needs, and he will step off when ready. So I roll them back up, put them in his backpack, and either continue the hike if he goes in a forward direction, or head back to the car if he turns around and heads that way.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 05:50 PM
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This almost made me scoff and laugh, because I'm one of those people that believes humanizing dogs and other animals is the worst thing we've ever done. Treating them as our babies or fur kids disrespects both humans and dogs. They are two different species, and dog's feet are well design for travelling over rough terrain. Most GSd owners I know would feel the same way if anyone suggested their dogs needed boots for hiking.

Then I started thinking about the differences in climate between the U.S. and Canada. Dogs CAN burn their pads on hot asphalt, or hot rocky surfaces, so I could maybe see the need for booties.

A lot depends on how you condition your dog to rough terrain, how hot it is, the type of terrain, length of the hike, etc. Dog's foot pads become tougher and more callused with wear and tear, just like human feet. And just like humans, they will get sore if you do too much too soon.

OTOH, in many tropical countries in the world, most of the HUMAN population goes barefoot. An article I saw in the Huffington Post said there are 300 million people in the world that can't afford shoes. Why the heck are we worrying about dogs' feet?

First world problems...
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Last edited by Sunsilver; 07-14-2019 at 05:53 PM.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 07:09 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Jchrest View Post
I do a lot of hiking with Crios during the winter. Off trail, in the desert. Lots of rocky hills and mountains to traverse. He doesn’t wear booties. I tried a peel and stick version that covers just the pads, and has a grip on the side facing out, but he got blisters from those. I felt horrible having to peel them off those blisters!

What I do is have Crios carry 2 memory cool gel pads long enough to get two paws on one pad. So when we take breaks, or I see him energy go from go go go to looking at his paws, it cues me into his feet bothering him. We take as long of a break as he needs, and he will step off when ready. So I roll them back up, put them in his backpack, and either continue the hike if he goes in a forward direction, or head back to the car if he turns around and heads that way.
Ooh I like this idea! I know that sometimes I prefer to walk barefoot because blisters suck from shoes far more than your feet getting a little raw

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Originally Posted by Sunsilver View Post
This almost made me scoff and laugh, because I'm one of those people that believes humanizing dogs and other animals is the worst thing we've ever done. Treating them as our babies or fur kids disrespects both humans and dogs. They are two different species, and dog's feet are well design for travelling over rough terrain. Most GSd owners I know would feel the same way if anyone suggested their dogs needed boots for hiking.

Then I started thinking about the differences in climate between the U.S. and Canada. Dogs CAN burn their pads on hot asphalt, or hot rocky surfaces, so I could maybe see the need for booties.

A lot depends on how you condition your dog to rough terrain, how hot it is, the type of terrain, length of the hike, etc. Dog's foot pads become tougher and more callused with wear and tear, just like human feet. And just like humans, they will get sore if you do too much too soon.

OTOH, in many tropical countries in the world, most of the HUMAN population goes barefoot. An article I saw in the Huffington Post said there are 300 million people in the world that can't afford shoes. Why the heck are we worrying about dogs' feet?

First world problems...
Yeah unfortunately, my dad walked my dog once and didn’t realize how hot it was for her feet and she was just dripping blood as she walked along. Plus frankly, if I had control over what happens in the rest of the world, everyone would have shoes 😕 But I can only protect my own dog and donate to others!
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by germanshepowner View Post
Yeah unfortunately, my dad walked my dog once and didn’t realize how hot it was for her feet and she was just dripping blood as she walked along.
If it's too hot for us to walk barefoot for a long time on the concrete areas it probably is for our dogs too Can't tell you how many times I've seen people walking their dogs down the sidewalk or street without a understanding of what it could be doing to their dogs feet.

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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 08:31 PM
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Just be mindful of the climate, and the surfaces your dog is walking on. Common sense goes a long way. When I was a kid, we usually went barefoot in summer. But then, broken glass and dumped syringes weren't an issue back then.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by germanshepowner View Post
Yeah unfortunately, my dad walked my dog once and didn’t realize how hot it was for her feet and she was just dripping blood as she walked along.
If it's too hot for us to walk barefoot for a long time on the concrete areas it probably is for our dogs too [IMG class=inlineimg]/forum/images/smilies/wink.gif[/IMG] Can't tell you how many times I've seen people walking their dogs down the sidewalk or street without a understanding of what it could be doing to their dogs feet.

https://www.facebook.com/MedicalLake...66505496730257
I’d walk barefoot on asphalt before I would make my dog walk on it.. It is crazy how many people do it anyway. 😕
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 09:44 PM
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I also do the 15 second rule. If I can keep my bare foot on the asphalt, not just the sidewalk, so can my dogs. So far, it’s been too hot at night as well. We do a lot of activities in the winter, or the butt crack of dawn, doesn’t seem to be a happy medium yet!
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 09:47 PM
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This is what we do in 112 weather
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Sunsilver View Post
This almost made me scoff and laugh, because I'm one of those people that believes humanizing dogs and other animals is the worst thing we've ever done. Treating them as our babies or fur kids disrespects both humans and dogs. They are two different species, and dog's feet are well design for travelling over rough terrain. Most GSd owners I know would feel the same way if anyone suggested their dogs needed boots for hiking.

Then I started thinking about the differences in climate between the U.S. and Canada. Dogs CAN burn their pads on hot asphalt, or hot rocky surfaces, so I could maybe see the need for booties.

A lot depends on how you condition your dog to rough terrain, how hot it is, the type of terrain, length of the hike, etc. Dog's foot pads become tougher and more callused with wear and tear, just like human feet. And just like humans, they will get sore if you do too much too soon.

OTOH, in many tropical countries in the world, most of the HUMAN population goes barefoot. An article I saw in the Huffington Post said there are 300 million people in the world that can't afford shoes. Why the heck are we worrying about dogs' feet?

First world problems...
Funny you should mention. I don't have dogs that wear boots. However, a few years back Shadow got a nasty burn on her one pad from the ice melt crap in the winter.
I have discovered, with help from this forum that Mushers Secret is the way to go. It basically helps mitigate the damage to her pads from all the nasty stuff city living will cause.
We had one dog rejected from the K9 team due to soft feet though. If he even looked at gravel he was foot sore for days. Good dog, went on to a detection career, but no amount of conditioning was making his feet tough enough to work outdoors.
I hike routinely with my dogs and always have. Never needed boots, and we have toured some pretty awesome terrain. They do need conditioning though, and be very cautious in areas where shale in prevalent. That crap is sharp and will do a number on even a veteran dogs feet.
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