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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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211 comments… add one

  • della 2014/12/03, 1:16 am

    I’m thrilled I found this post. I just brought upstairs an old fleece dog boot to see if I could make them — exactly the same pattern, too. Exactly the same reaction from the dog, too. Didn’t hate them. What did you decide about the taller boots? My only concern would be that they would get soggy then freeze, and maybe end up making the legs much colder than if they were bare, even. I keep wishing for a waterproof soft fabric. Thanks!

    • Domestik Goddess 2014/12/03, 12:18 pm

      Glad you like it, Della. :) Regarding the taller boots, a lot depends on the dog. My own Greyhounds use the shorter boots, as shown here, as did my old Golden Retriever, but my friend’s field-trained Goldens wear a taller version with two bands to fasten, to help protect their legs from scratchy brush when they’re tracking and retrieving in the field and woods. I don’t find the soggy-freeze is a problem, but I do keep an extra pair on hand (same as with little kids and their mittens) so there is always a dry pair to put on. I hear ya about the waterproof soft fabric – someone really needs to invent a fabric like that!

  • Terri 2014/11/24, 1:09 pm

    Hi,

    I like the boots, thanks for the pattern. I was wondering, though…do you happen to have a pattern for the coat? I really like that, too, and would love to make one.

    Thanks

  • aellath 2014/08/10, 1:10 pm

    great! as i’m sure you know, most dog stuff isn’t sized for greys’ odd dimensions, so i was happy to find this. i just decided to make booties for our 13yo grey’s hind paws to help with traction on our wooden floors. once she slips and sprawls, she can’t seem to get up again anymore. thanks for the tips about dewclaws. whilst she hasn’t any in the back, she does in front and i hadn’t considered that the booties should be lengthened to avoid strapping right on them. thanks!

  • Korrine 2014/07/31, 5:25 pm

    I have been looking for a boot pattern, but not for snow, but to protect their paws from hot pavement in the south, using leather scraps as someone suggested, I think this will work, great idea

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Marie 2014/01/26, 1:31 pm

    I love the pattern, and am so greatful for it. I have a cockapoo, and his hind feet are slightly smaller than the front. I made different patterns (1/2″ finished diameter difference) for the two feet, and cut elastic to 3″ for one and 3 1/2″ for the other. The main thing I did differently was to stitch them together with the wrong sides facing, so the stitching is on the outside around the edge. It is decorative but, more importantly, it is soft inside with no seam on his feet or legs. Then I stitched the top edges of the rear ones so it’s easy to tell the difference when you’re putting them on him.

  • Alicia 2014/01/23, 3:39 pm

    Hello,
    We just wanted to say thank you for this extremely helpful post. Our poor baby George’s feet get so cold outside. Pitt Bulls are supposed to be tough (harhar) but George is quite the character. He will take you very far from home on a walk only to lay down halfway home! Ohio is frigid this time of the year! The cold front coming through isn’t helping much of anything either! Our other doggy, Emma suffers from awful allergies all year round so I think that an indoor pair might be in order! She constantly is at her paws and they get so red and irritated, this seems like an inexpensive solution! Thank you again !

    • Domestik Goddess 2014/01/23, 4:41 pm

      Oh poor George and Emma… Yes, I’ve heard you’re getting some downright-Canadian-type weather in Ohio this year – brrrr! We find that a little pair of dog booties can make a big difference to how “tough” the pups can be on a winter walk. Hopefully your guys will find they help them too!

  • Sarah 2014/01/17, 6:57 pm

    I have a quick question about the length of elastic you used. I do not want to cut off the circulation of my dogs feet. I am thinking of following you pattern exactly but nervous about wasting elastic by cutting it too short to begin with. Thanks!

    • Domestik Goddess 2014/01/17, 10:24 pm

      Hi Sarah, you don’t really need a whole lot of elastic – just enough to create a little “give” while keeping the boots snug. If you use a good sized piece of velcro, as shown, you can easily adjust the booties when you put them on your dog. I made my boots just as shown in the pattern – and the same boots work just fine for quite a range of sizes, from my big-boned male greyhound (95lbs) to large-ish female Golden (55lbs) to quite a dainty (65 lbs) female greyhound. It’s really quite forgiving, I’ve found. If in doubt, “test fit” on your dog before you put the scissors to your elastic.

  • Colleen 2014/01/07, 6:07 pm

    My dog is a Great Pyrenees nod I also have a Rhodesian Ridgeback. Would I need to increase the size of the printout to 5″? Also, I think I will use both fleece and nylon so that the boots don’t get as wet or snowy as fast. Thanks for the idea! This may not seem like a lot to you but we just got a foot of snow! That’s a lot for us. Now I don’t have to worry about my dogs having cold feet now though.

    • Domestik Goddess 2014/01/07, 8:39 pm

      You may find your Great Pyrenees (furry feet, mountain breed) is actually OK in the snow, but the Rhodie would likely be glad of the boots, so if you’re short on time then prioritize that guy’s footwear. Temperature is more an issue than amount of snow, actually – my greyhounds get boots on when the temperature goes down to about minus-15 Celcius (I think that’s about 5 degrees Fahrenheit) – but it also depends on what kind of weather your dogs are used to. If you don’t usually get much snow, they are likely to be more sensitive to the cold stuff up between the toes. I find the fleece dries out very quickly, and it’s really comfortable for the dogs because it’s soft and flexible, so you might want to try that and see how it goes before going for a nylon layer – nylon can be stiff in cold weather, it’s less stretchy to get the boots on, but it’s certainly doable. I have made boots of nyoprene material for when the dogs go walking in town where there is a lot of salt on the ground, but nylon would work just as well there – just be sure you pay close attention to the non-slip surface, as nylon on snow is very very slippery. As for size, measure around the foot and size up the print-out to whatever percentage you need to fit your dog. If in doubt, go larger rather than smaller as you can always just nip the boots in if they turn out to be too big. Hope this helps – good luck, and stay warm! :)

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