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Sew Your Own Winter Dog Boots

greyhound-wears-boots

greyhound walking in homemade winter snow bootsNow, don’t make fun of my greyhound in his little red boots! It’s not a fashion statement, dog boots are a necessity in the darkest pit of the Canadian winter.

Paw protection is especially important for the short-coated dog breeds like greyhounds, and especially when the weather is as brutal as it’s been here lately — we’re talking about -28°C, with a windchill factor that makes it feel like -40°C (that’s the same as 40 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, for my American friends). The snow squeaks when you walk on it, and exposed skin can begin to freeze in less than one minute!

So, my latest sewing project has been to sew up some new polar-fleece dog boots. These are quick to make and easy to put on the dog, but they don’t shake off very easily. I’ve made these boots with non-slid vinyl soles, elastic at the ankles, and Velcro fasteners, and the dogs don’t hate them too much.

I based this pattern on an old set of store-bought dog booties that I borrowed from a neighbour, and used some scraps of fleece, elastic, and Velcro that were left over from other sewing projects.

Feel free to use my pattern to make your own dog boots — just right-click to save the image to your computer. It’s not very fancy, because I just sketched it out on a piece of scrap paper, but it works just fine! And you can size the pattern up or down on your printer, to fit the size of your dog’s paws.

free pattern for sewing dog boots

For the large male greyhound, I printed out the pattern so that it was 4½ inches wide, measured across the sole. Those large boots fit the Golden Retriever, too, while 1½ inches was plenty wide for boots for a mutt of vaguely Beagle-Chihuahua ancestry.

sewing project - fleece dog boot with elastic and velcro fastener I love fleece fabric for dog boots because it sews up easily, keeps the paws as warm as possible, doesn’t stain too badly, and dries quickly to be ready for the next outing. For large size boots, I used ¾-inch Velcro and the same width of elastic. For smaller boots, obviously, you’d use a narrower size.

Sewing Instructions:

• Place the “toe” of the pattern on a fold of fabric and cut out around the boot shape. When you unfold the fabric, you’ll have a sort of hourglass shape. Don’t sew up the sides until you’ve done the next steps!

• Following the marks I’ve put on the pattern, place a circle of vinyl or other non-slip material on the sole of the boot and sew it in place.

• Sew on a piece of Velcro at the ankle position, using the softer fuzzy half, and catching a piece of elastic underneath it, as shown. The stitching for the Velcro will hold on the elastic.

• Sew the other half of the Velcro strip (the part with all the tiny hooks) securely onto the free end of the elastic. Make sure that the hooks are facing down when you’re looking at the sole of the boot.

• Finally, fold the boot in half with the right sides together (so that the vinyl sole is inside) and sew up the sides. Turn it right side out.

Because I knew that I was going to sew my dog boots from fleece fabric, which doesn’t fray or ravel, I didn’t add much of a seam allowance to the pattern — about ¼” around the edges — so you might want to count in an extra bit of width for seam allowance if you’re planning to use a woven fabric like a waterproof nylon or such. The other thing I did that’s different from the pattern is adjust the height of the boots — ankle boots are of limited use for a country dog, so I extended the tops up a little bit to better handle the snow-softened farm lanes where we like to walk.

close-up of dog wearing a fleece winter bootie
To put the boots on the dog — just turn the boot so that the sole is to the back of the dog’s leg, and slide his paw into the boot. Wrap the elastic around the front of the leg, as shown, and fasten the Velcro. (If your dog has never worn boots before, see also How to Teach a Dog to Wear Boots.)

This lazy greyhound was napping in his crate and refused to get up to model his boots, in case I was going to make him go out in the cold, so this picture shows the view you get when a dog is lying down… but you can get the idea…

So there you have it: my pattern and instructions for sewing dog boots. Feel free to use it as you like!

Oh, and I’d love it if you could let me know if you come up with any improvements to the design. I’m thinking, for example, of making an even taller pair (with two fasteners) for when the dogs are walking in a real bit of snow…

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205 comments… add one

  • Marie 2014/01/26, 1:37 pm

    One more thing. I used leather samples from a “seconds” fabric store for the pads. They work well. I made them the same size as the end of the boots, and about 2″ x 2″ size, with the corners trimmed to fit. They go all the way to the fold when sewn on. The larger size seems to work better for our cockapoo.

  • Domestik Goddess 2014/01/26, 1:45 pm

    Great idea on the leather samples, Marie, thanks for that tip!

  • Patti Tucker 2014/01/28, 4:59 pm

    I have 2 Min Pins (miniature pinschers) and was wanting to find some sort of boot for them to wear when it’s cold outside. What size do you suggest? I have pic of them:

  • Domestik Goddess 2014/01/28, 6:20 pm

    My suggestion for a kind boots, well, I kind of like the pattern I made for my own dogs’ boots – the one you see on this page. :) Just size it down to fit your little guys. If you don’t know their paw measurements, get them to step on a tape measure and put weight on it, then wrap the tape up over their foot so it’s just snug, not tight – that will give you a good sense of what size the boots need to be. If you’re uncertain, make them a bit larger to start with and you can easily take them in and trim off any excess, if need be. Have fun! Stay warm!

  • M.A. 2014/02/10, 3:54 pm

    Yay! I can’t wait to make these. My adopted Grey has boots, but they are ill-fitting and short. I love that these have elastic to help them fit better and I plan to make them super long.

    Thanks for the pattern!

  • Domestik Goddess 2014/02/10, 4:24 pm

    You’re very welcome, M.A. :) Yes, the elastic is *key* in my experience! My dogs all wear short boots, but I’ve just made a slightly longer pair to accomodate the new big brindle greyhound who has his dew claws in an awkward place & is quite touchy about them if the boot fastening hits at the wrong point. Hope these booties work well for your guy!

  • cheryl 2014/02/18, 7:00 pm

    I hope you come up with a way of making an even taller pair (with two fasteners) for when the dogs are walking in a real bit of snow & send it to me. I have a whippet. What size would you say for him? thx

  • Domestik Goddess 2014/02/18, 7:38 pm

    Cheryl, I would suggest that you simply extend the height of the boots to whatever height you need, the same way I and hundreds of others have done. Just draw out the lines longer when you’re printing the pattern. As for the size your dog needs – as I’ve said in response to other comments, as well as in the instructions in the post itself, you really do need to measure your dog’s paws. Every dog is different, and even within breeds there are large differences in individual dogs’ size.

  • Sunnie Mitchell 2014/02/24, 2:42 pm

    Brilliant! We don’t have a dog right now and I’m fairly sure our Si-Abby would die first, lol, but these really are brilliant! I’ll save the pattern and instructions for the day we do have another dog – we live in NE Scotland.

    When I lived in the US (NW GA) the road salt problem (dog gets home and licks it off – NOT good!) had me searching the PetsMart for snow boots. I ended up getting them from Tractor Supply and once my aged Boxer got used to them I know he was thinking ‘What took you so long?!’. We had heavy snow and ice the last five years I lived in the US and I know he was glad for those boots.

  • Jean 2014/03/27, 3:47 pm

    these are great. We need dog boots not to protect our dog’s paws but to cut down on the amount of dirt and muck coming indoors. I saved the image, pasted it into a Word document and then enlarged it so the paw part measured 4 1/2″ across (our chow/Golden retriever cross has *enormous* paws). As I was cutting it out I enlongated by 1″ through the paw so that the elastic/velcro closure hits above his dew claws. This has fixed the issue we had with the commercial dog boots that the closure hit at his dew claw. When we had it tight enough to stay on, it caused trauma to his foot. Now he’s a happy dog and we have a cleaner house!

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