Active and working dogs, especially those that hike frequently or are in places that have rough ground, can benefit from wearing shoes. Boots are worn by sled dogs, including those in the famous Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Shoes protect the softer underside of a the dogs paws, known as the pads of the feet, from bruising and scratches as well as temperature changes. They can also keep dogs from stepping in chemicals or other toxins on the ground. Dog shoes can be purchased at pet stores and through many online retailers.
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Muttluks, one of the leading brands in dog shoes, started in 1994 as a home-based business in Canada. Muttluks were the brand of shoes worn by search and rescue dogs at Ground Zero in 2001. These shoes, marketed as "dog boots," are available in several different varieties at a number of different price points, and in sizes to fit all dogs from toy-sized to Great Dane. All Muttluks boots have reflective straps and are machine washable.
Neo-Paws claims to be the "Nike of the dog world," and has been selling canine-friendly footwear around the world since the mid-1990s. Neo-Paws sells different types of shoes -- regular performance shoes for paw protection and orthopaedic shoes for dogs that drag their feet when walking. Each type of shoe comes in winter and summer weights, and can be ordered in sizes ranging from XXXS to XXL.
Ruffwear specialises in dog gear for pets on the go -- shoes, backpacks and collars. Items are made of tough materials to withstand the elements, from rugged terrains to icy, snowy weather. The Oregon-based company sells seven different shoe types for dog foot and paw protection, classed by terrain and temperature. Shoes come in a variety of colours and sizes.
Many companies also market disposable dog shoes, which can be a much more economical option for pet owners who do not anticipate regular rugged treks with their dog. Disposable shoes protect a pet's feet, but are generally geared more toward keeping the owner's home and floors clean and scratch-free. The disposable shoes come in a variety of colours and sizes, and are available from numerous retailers. Some sellers compare shoes in this category to socks for dogs.
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