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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
  • Sharyn 2008/11/20, 4:48 pm

    This is great. Thanks for the pattern. I’m thinking of making some up for my sister’s dog for Christmas.
    Also, I saw these how to’s for making non-slip slippers (for humans) and think maybe it could be adapted for the dog boots too.

  • tammy 2008/11/13, 11:31 am

    thank-you so much for the pattern I am going to make them for my yorkie. the great thing is I can make a bunch of different colors to match his diffrent clothes at a cheap price. thanks

  • Barbara Garton 2008/10/04, 12:28 pm

    Thank you very much. My price depends on size of dogs paw, the need for bootie [outside/inside] use, and fabric used. I also require more measurements. I just found a great waterproof fabric with fleece backing and a new non-slip sole material and do need to try a set for my girl. Then we can walk in the rain.

  • domestika 2008/10/03, 1:13 pm

    Barbara, thanks for visiting: I’ve become an instant fan of your soft sculpture animal dolls — and your Tacky Boots look like a great design! (Is there somewhere that we can find your prices listed?)

    For dog booties, I’ve found that the only really durable boots are Muttluks, which are a bit on the stiff side – the dogs don’t so much enjoy wearing them, although of course they can be trained to it – and take a bit of fiddling to put on.

    So the goofy greyhound pictured above has a pair of Muttluks for really bad weather and/or long hikes, and then I keep a batch of these cheap-and-easy homemade fleece booties to pop onto his feet for those quick “business trips” outdoors. If a big front claw starts to poke a hole, I usually just darn it up and keep on going… unless I’m feeling too lazy! One pair of fleece dog booties will get us through the winter, but I like to have two pairs so one pair can be used while the other pair is drying out.

  • Barbara Garton 2008/10/01, 7:22 pm

    I just found your site and noticed that the pattern I designed from a photo last year for a customer is almost the same pattern. I use several layers of fabrics and do more reinforced stitching but the shape is very close. I do offer them on my site and have helped many. I am having issues with the durability of fabric choices and the older ” big guys ” walking outside, but they work great on my allergy girl that can not come in contact with the outside world. They allow her to walk the neighborhood again.
    Thanks for offering the pattern for those who are creative and I will post a link to help inspire others and their poochies.

  • JulieB 2008/08/14, 5:10 pm

    Just found this pattern — I’m very excited! I have 2 Italian Greyhounds that manage to remain in their “we’re absolutely freezing to death” states even when it’s 75 degrees in the house and 105 degrees outside! I also have a retired racer grey that sometimes has difficulties on my hardwood floors, a greyhound mix that refuses to potty in the rain because her feet get wet, and another retired grey that manages to track mud all over the kitchen even during times when it hasn’t rained for months (from where does the mud come?!)!
    All 5 of them would benefit from some form of boots, and I’ve been avoiding shelling out $100 (or more!) to buy boots for any of them. This is a pattern I can easily and effectively adapt for all of them — Thank you!

    If the boots turn out well, I’d LOVE to carry them in my online store (I currently only make martingale collars & leashes for sale — I’m planning to branch out.) If I do I’ll definitely note the pattern came from you, http://domestikgoddess.com! I’ll also send you the web address of my store (new website under construction).

    Thanks, again.

  • domestika 2008/08/08, 10:07 am

    Ann, you can also just measure around the widest part of your dog’s paw, and use that measurement to size the pattern up or down. Remember the widest part of the dog’s paw will need to fit through the narrow part — the “ankle” of the bootie, so that’s the one really important measurement, but less so if you use a semi-stretchy fabric like a fleece.

  • Ann 2008/08/05, 9:28 pm

    For Norma Trai.
    Do you think you could e-mail me your boot pattern?I also have a min.schnauzer
    and would like to try out the size you made.Mine is still a pup right now but come winter he will need something.Thanks for sending if possible.

  • domestika 2008/07/29, 11:43 am

    Keri, that sounds like another good use for dog boots! When my old Shiba was getting on in years, he lost muscle tone in one of his back haunches and his leg kept sliding out from underneath him on slippery smooth floors – wish I’d thought of giving him a grippy little non-slip bootie for that foot!

  • Keri 2008/07/28, 3:23 am

    My old labrador has trouble negotiating slippery steps. I can’t wait to try your pattern using a grippy fabric for the sole.

  • domestika 2008/03/05, 2:19 pm

    @Norma, thanks so much for stopping by to let me know this pattern worked for you – cold enough here in Atlantic Canada, but an Alaskan dog deserves nice flannel-lined boots, for sure!

  • Norma Trail 2008/03/05, 2:09 pm

    I made these booties for my mini schnauzer. We live in Alaska where it gets very cold in the winter -40 or more. There is no problem when you take her out with the booties on. I lined my with flannel material for extra warmth. Thanks so much for free pattern. These are easy to sew.

  • domestika 2008/02/11, 9:44 am

    @Kathie, yes, taller is better, I think that’s what I’ll do next time I make a set of these. And I found the same thing, that other (store-bought) dog boots just don’t want to stay on — these seem to work better because the boot itself is soft and the elastic-velcro combination makes them easier to fit to the leg. Glad it worked for you!

    @Janai, thanks for leaving a comment! One of the other readers had a great idea to make the boots with a double layer — fleece on the inside and a waterproof outer layer — so that might work for you with the mud. I made up a bunch of boots and just keep throwing them in the wash when they get filthy, but we have more of a snow problem than a mud problem here in Atlantic Canada so you might want a waterproof nylon or some fabric like that on the outside. Don’t forget to put a non-slip sole on, though, because nylon is so slippery.

    @Mitch, I am so pleased to hear my dog boots pattern worked out for you! Thanks very much for your idea for using elastic as the non-slip treads — Should wear okay in snow, and even if youhave to do some repairs later on, at least your dog has toasty-warm toes now! Dogs are smart, aren’t they? If it’s a choice between freezing the feet and wearing boots, they do tend to figure out that boots are the better option! :)

  • Mitch 2008/02/11, 1:42 am

    With temp is single digits & wind chill of -25 … my poor dog had frozen toes after a few minutes – did not want to go out to do business – I was desperate for dog boots!
    Found your pattern & whipped up a set in about 15 minutes. I had fleece and used wide ridge heavy duty elastic about 2″ wide – like for men’s PJ waist or skirt cut into disk and applied with ridges going side-to-side on sole for traction – outside is also very icy and did not even have any rubber/vinyl to try. They work great – ridgy elastic on sole seems to give great traction – will see how it wears. After about 1 minute of “reluctance” on dog’s part he figured out how great they were … and he had never had any type of boots on before. thanks

  • Janai 2008/01/29, 5:13 pm

    Thanks for posting this! I’m going to try it-my dogs run in our wooded backyard and their paws become caked with mud during the winter (NOW!!!:(. I’m hoping I can make a waterproof/mudproof version for them. Any suggestions?
    Also, any suggestions on helping them become used to wearing something on their feet?
    Thanks!!!

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