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Sew Your Own Winter Dog 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 boots that I borrowed from a neighbour, and used some scraps of fleece, elastic, and Velcro that were left over from other sewing projects.

free-dog-boot-pattern

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 and then did over in a simple Paint program, 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.

For the large male greyhound, I printed out my 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…

234 comments… add one
  • Sherry 2014/01/05, 2:12 pm

    My dog is an old rescue. When she was younger we think she may have been hit my a car or something that made her 2 hind legs weaker than her front. When I made booties for her and slipped the two back ones on she was actually happy. I think she finally had warm feet. There was not coaxing her or anything!! The booties worked like a charm. Before her feet got so cold in the snow that she just laid down(she is a chow mix-wt-70 lb.) and refused to walk any more. We had to carry her home. Today in the snow, we could see she was so happy romping around sniffing like it was summer. As soon as we got in the car I took those booties off(soaking wet) and put my mitts on her hind feet. When we got home I dried her feet off and stuck another pair of mitts on her hind legs. She has not moved since. I think I will make her some indoor slippers as well. Thank you so much !!

  • Emily Ton 2013/11/14, 6:50 pm

    your dog boots are great i wish i am like you .my dogs love the boots.for your fan Emily Ton.

  • Domestik Goddess 2013/09/24, 5:10 pm

    Heather, another thought – it might be worth trying Muttluks (leather-soled boots made in Canada), as well. I find them a bit stiff so it took some extra training to get my dogs to accept them, compared to the softer homemade booties, but they’re pretty rugged paw protectors. Amazon has them, see http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0006HB6Y6/ for one size/color, but of course they have a full range.

  • Heather 2013/09/23, 1:59 am

    I have an 8 month old German Shepherd/Boxer/Pitt (ahem. Mutt) that is going to need both a set of winter booties and a set of summer booties. I live in the Desert Southwest of the US and it goes from regularly hitting/passing the mid 90’s F (36 C-ish for you people with temperature readings that make sense) in the summer to dropping regularly to the 10’sF (about -10C) in the winter. Add to that a bunch of very evil sticker and cactus bushes and you have a nightmare for any living/rolling thing that would rather not be punctured.

    I am going to try to figure out a way to keep the most evil of the spines out while also providing for warmth in cold and blisteringly-hot asphalt. Not sure what the summer ones will look like but I am thinking a basic breathable bombproof nylon for the uppers with old bike tires for treads (the bike tires don’t last long due to the puncturevine spines–aptly named Tribulus terrestris). Failing that I can do a hardened textured leather base.

    You probably won’t have to worry as much about the heat variety, but any suggestions would be appreciated. (By the way, I was sent over to your site from tlc.howstuffworks.com/home/dog-boots-diy-pattern.htm so thank them too!)

    • Domestik Goddess 2013/09/24, 5:06 pm

      Wow, Heather, you do have a challenge on your hands (er, paws) there! FWIW, my dogs don’t need protection from cold until its around -15, -20 Celcius (and two of the greyhounds grew up in Florida, it’s not just that they’re hardy Canadian mutts or anything) so I think you’re really just looking at protection rather than serious warmth; possibly one pair might do the job.

      But that is some serious protection your pup needs, with nasty stickers and cactus spines!

      Sounds like you’re onto a good idea with the recycled bike tires as a start, but that may get a bit brittle on the coldest days. I’d try that first, then go with the hardened leather, or perhaps both? You’d want some flexibility in the sole… hmm… any chance of laying hands on a piece of Kevlar, like they use for police vests?

      So glad you stopped by. Nothing like a good challenge for my brain, even if “maybe Kevlar?” is about all I’ve been able to come up with so far. :-) Love to hear what you decide to try & how it works out for you – odds are your BS/Boxer/Pit is not the only dog out there who wants to off-road among the desert hazards, so your experience may help others as well.

      I’m a big fan of HowStuffWorks, by the way, so what a pleasure to know they sent you here – thanks to them indeed!)

  • jody 2013/07/24, 8:31 pm

    Thank you for the pattern and directions. My son has a greyhound and I have an old English sheepdog, they both need foot protection during the winter. Now to get them to learn to wear them before this winter.

  • Rita 2013/07/24, 2:40 pm

    Hello, I plan on making these for my loveable long legged Chihuahua. I am going to purchase some fabric called PUL which is used for making baby diaper covers and is waterproof. I am going to line the fabric with this thin water proof fabric bc I want to keep his little feet dry when we walk and there is lots of snow outside. I will put some non skid fabric on the pad portion to prevent slipping and use two bands to hold them on. Thank you for sharing.

  • jasper.marvelous 2013/06/30, 6:40 am

    i made them for my Chihuahua she loves them it also works great to protect from grass allergy

  • Amanda 2013/06/19, 7:26 pm

    I have been reading some posts and need some help making a pair of Summer shoes for my greyhound girl. We live in Goodyear Az, and the outside temps get around to 115-120 I don’t even want to know what the sidewalk temp is! When I take my dog, Itsy, out to use the potty, I either carry her or we run to the grass! She’s not exactly petite so sometimes I can’t carry her, I have tried buying the 30 dollar pairs of boots, but they fall off cause her legs are skinny. So my question is what would be a good summer appropriate fabric that will protect from the heat? Thanks for the help!

    • Domestik Goddess 2014/01/07, 8:42 pm

      Amanda, sorry I missed your question earlier… have you thought about quilted fabric, like for a potholder? Seriously, if you find the fleece doesn’t give enough insulation for her pads on hot surfaces, I’d try a pair of quilted booties.

  • Eva Glynn 2013/05/02, 9:14 pm

    My sons coyote hunting dog “Nuts” cut his pad. He needed a breathable shoe/sock. I saw this pattern and whipped it up in no time. I have a pic but don’t see where to include. Thank you for the ideal idea!

  • Pat Myers 2013/02/27, 11:41 pm

    I just took in a rescue Chinese Crested hairless. He doesn’t seem to mind the weather, but he has a PJ on plus a coat, and I was worried about his feet. 14 lbs., long legged, but feet are small. This should be interesting. I think I’m going to try a longer pair and possible fasten as you have plus fasten up the leg again to have some leg covering. I was also toying with the idea of some of that rubberized material that you use to open lids or use as shelf liner. The non-skid stuff as the sole to the foot. Doesn’t the vinyl still slip some?

    • Domestik Goddess 2013/02/28, 12:22 am

      Yep, on that packed-down icy snow, it does still slip a bit – maybe a couple of days out of the winter – but there’s a texture on the vinyl I used (hard to see in the photo) so it isn’t really as slick as you might think.

      Shelf liner rubbery stuff has worked well for me but it depends if your pup will be walking on pavement a lot, as the rubber stuff wears down and/or tears off when it gets too much use on a rough surface.

      Do have a read through (OKay, maybe *skim* through) the comments here – so many great dog owners with so many great ideas to contribute, I know they’ve improved on my original concept a dozen times over!

      Also, blessings on you for taking in a rescue dog. :)

  • CraftasaurusRex 2013/01/18, 6:25 pm

    We just got a dog named Circus last weekend, and even though he is a big tough looking boy, he is not a huge fan of the single digits (Farenheit) weather we’ve been having, nor of the snow, ice, and salt that are plaguing the sidewalks around our condo. I already had to make him a dog-jacket so he isn’t shivering when we get home from our walks. I’ve also been having to cut our walks SUPER short, because he will start limping if we go as long as we would both like. I did a quick search for dog booties, and your page was by far the best pattern I found! I plan on digging into my stash and making him up a set tonight.

    On behalf of Circus and myself, thank you! :)

  • Wanda Riekens 2013/01/08, 1:45 pm

    I would love to have your picture e-mailed to me if possible. I have a toy poodle that I’d like to make them for plus I day care 2 other toy poodles and a chihuahua/rat terrier mix that I’d like to make them for also. Heard about these boots from a lady who was walking her Yorkie and had made her boots. Thanks!

  • patricia van dyke 2013/01/02, 8:00 pm

    hi, I just wanted to thank you for this pattern I found yesterday. I had bought muttluks, but they wouldn’t stay on my dogs feet, so I went out and bought black and pink solid fleece, made the boot the same but 6″ up the leg to catch on the elbow bone, then before I put the velcros on at ankle and one at the top of leg, I put a piece of pink fleece on the top of foot up about five” and then black rib cuff on top. Then I added velcros and sewed together. I have two little shihtzus, so I had eight to make, but they work great. I wish I could send a pic, but I don’t see a place to attach, if I figure that out, I’ll send. Thank you so much

  • Lauri Kopish 2012/12/29, 9:02 am

    …..that nice pair of gloves you got your husband for Christmas, and he lost one the first day…..well, don’t throw the other one away. Cut the fingers and thumb off to make booties for your Chihuahua (4 plus a spare, for if she looses one). Be creative; lace-ups, velcro, elastic, or any combination of these, for a snug and stylish fit.

  • Michelle 2012/12/09, 12:14 pm

    I have three chihuahua crosses in the house, my son’s little one is less than three pounds and very thinly furred. Living in the “icy tundra” (my military son’s description) of the Dakotas she has absolutely no fun on cold mornings and now that we have our first snow of the year, there was total anarchy this morning when it was time for the potty run (Dad DOESN’T do boots unless requested!). With hard wood floors I found that the grippy type shelf liner is easy to sew to the booties and is replacable.

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