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293 Ruff Wear Grip Trex Boots 2010-10-13

Jake on Mount Bierstadt in his Ruff Wear Boots

A few years back we began taking our dog, Jake, to Colorado with us to climb some of the 14,000 foot mountains. He loved hiking with us and tried as hard as he could; but had a problem with his paws. The sharp rocks and snow took a toll on his pads. Soon his paws were swollen to twice their normal size. We went to the Vet. The Vet suggested that Jake use dog booties, take some anti-inflammatory drugs, and give him a little extra time between climbs.

We altered our schedule for the remainder of the trip and began giving him the medicine regularly. He was fine for the rest of the trip.

The next year as we prepared for our vacation trip we purchased some Ruff Wear dog booties. He did not like having them on his paws. He stepped like he was stepping in something he did not like. Each step was high, very deliberate, and awkward. We wondered, how would he ever be able to walk in the boots? But, after a few times playing in the backyard (wearing the boots), we saw that he was going to do just fine. He did not like them; but would wear them and eventually walk with a normal gait.

In Colorado, again trying to climb 14,000 foot mountains Jake did better than the previous year without the boots. The only problem we had with the boots was Jake did not like wearing them and made the donning process as difficult as possible. We then found out that we had to take the boots off from time to time to give his feet air. That meant we had to put the boots back on again! It never got any easier.

The following year we bought an additional pair of boots as back-ups for Jake. We were going to spend a longer period of time in the mountains and attempt to climb the 54 14,000 foot mountains in one summer. Jake was going with us on all the easier peaks. He climbed over twenty mountains that summer and largely because of the Ruff Wear boots and other tricks we learned.

A few things we learned about the boots...

  • Some dog's paws are more sensitive than others. Jake definitely needed the boots.
  • Climbing rock and snow are difficult on paws. Easy dirt trails are not difficult on their pads.
  • The boots should be sized as small as possible. Jake is a large Golden Retriever, but wore a size medium boot.
  • The socks helped. Yes, of course they sell socks with the boots. The socks help alleviate sore spots and makes putting the boots on a bit more manageable. Once the sock is fitted, the boot slips on easier.
  • We taped the top of the boots to help keep the velcro secure. We still lost boots from time to time. We carried backup boots and socks.
  • It does take a while before the dog is used to the boots. Practice before going to the trail.
  • You must take the shoes off from time to time to let their feet breathe. Be sure and check their feet for sore spots while the shoes are off.
  • On snow the dog does not have the gripping power of his claws while wearing the boots. However the snow can really damage his paws and claws without the boots. You just have to assist the pup while hiking or climbing in snow. Jake actually learned to step in our steps we were kicking in the snow.
  • On rock, the boots gave Jake more traction.
  • The boots were not as durable as we expected. We were gluing them back together after each trip.

On Mount Blanca we met a man with a dog on top of the mountain. The dog's paws were bleeding and the pup was in obvious pain. Amy gave the man some medicine for the dog before we left the top.

It is fun to have your dog accompany you for a climb in the mountains or a hike on a trail; but you, the owner or guardian, is responsible for the dog. You should have dog specific equipment (like the Ruff Wear boots), a dog first aid kit, and have an emergency plan in place if you need to evacuate the animal. Care for and control the dog, or leave them at home.

We liked the Ruff Wear boots. They could be more durable and have a better closure system; but those were minor problems. Our dog, Jake adjusted to wearing the boots and we think he liked the climbing rubber! The boots definitely enabled us to safely take our dog on many mountain trails.


Happy Ruff Ruff trails.


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