No matter how much your dog loves playing in the snow, they may not love their winter wardrobe. Most dogs are used to navigating the world barefoot, so they may resist wearing boots that separate their paws from the pavement. But some form of foot protection is necessary during the colder months. In addition to ice and snow, a dog's feet are vulnerable to the harmful rock salt found on streets and sidewalks this time of year. If your dog hides under the bed whenever you break out the booties, you can try an alternative solution using an item you may already have at home.
According to the Animal Humane Society, applying a layer of petroleum jelly to your pet's paws can keep them safe in winter weather. The product acts as a protective barrier between their feet and their ground that stops snow and salt from getting lodged between their toes. It also moisturizes your dog's paw pads and prevents painful cracking. Though regular Vaseline isn't toxic to dogs, you can also invest in balms made especially for puppy paws.
Like any non-food item, petroleum jelly can make your dog sick if consumed in large amounts, so be conservative with how much you apply and always wipe their paws off when you come inside. Cleaning your dog's feet after a winter walk is also necessary to remove any salt or deicing agents they picked up outdoors. On top of burning your dog's paws, salt can potentially poison your pet if they lick it off and ingest it.
Petroleum jelly offers some level of protection, but if you have the gear and the patience to wrangle your pet, boots are the safest option. They're the only way to be sure your dog's feet won't come in contact with dangerous salt and ice. If your pet isn't cooperating, try using meals, treats, or the prospect of a walk as a reward for being subjected to humiliation. Here are more tips for walking your dog safely in cold weather.