Truelove has good quality products at a reasonable price and also fantastic customer service! They only sell a few types of harnesses, leashes, collars, and shoes but those come in different sizes and colors and they continuously work on adding new products to their portfolio.
Many owners think using boots is stupid while many believe it is necessary gear for dogs. Well, like with every other gear, the answer is: it depends.
Different boots can be used for many reasons like protecting the paws on hot or very cold pavement or to prevent the paws from drying out while walking on salted roads over the winter. Many also use them on icy snow when the dog's paws would get cuts. It can be also used inside if a dog has arthritis or just sliding around a lot on the floor in the house.
Some dog's paws are just more sensitive than others so you have to know your dog and see how they can handle different terrain and temperatures.
Many think that since people wear shoes for hikes, it's nice to provide the same comfort for dogs as well. We have to start by saying again that ANY gear used incorrectly or from the wrong reason can cause issues - even a flat collar, a Y-harness or yes, boots.
While we always hiked a lot, we haven't used boots before starting on higher elevation in the White Mountains. We started bringing them along for hikes on rough terrain above the treeline because that was the first time Mia's paws would start wearing down after a few hours of sliding, climbing on rocks. We regularly check her feet and as soon as there is an early sign of wear, the boots go on.
Why not start the hike with the boots on?
One of the main cons to consider is that even though most hiking boots have a grooved rubber sole, dogs lose traction when wearing them. They will try to jump on a rock or run up on a rock wall assuming they can use their claws if they would start sliding but they cannot. This is the reason why you want to have 100% control over your dog on steep sections when wearing boots, but having them on a short leash can also make the hike less enjoyable for both of you if you are used to off-leash hiking.
There are many other risks with boots: rubbing the dewclaws, bruising the paws, decreasing the ability of the dog to cool themselves (since they sweat on their paws), changing the way the dog puts weight on the feet. It is recommended to take regular breaks to remove the boots and check the dog's feet - especially if you are using those boots for hiking for the first time.
Long story short: boots are great for hikes but using them introduces new risks as well that everyone should be aware of. They also come in handy for emergencies in case your dog cuts their paw in the middle of a forest, far away from everything. They are definitely good to have with you but always consider if they are not truly needed before putting them on. Most dogs are perfectly fine and more comfortable without boots 99% of the time.
(The photo above displays the QUMY Dog Boots)
The best is always to follow the sizing guide on the product site. Measuring your dog's paws is the easiest if you put their paws on a paper, lift the opposite leg to put weight on the leg you are trying to measure and draw lines on both sides of the paw. You can measure the distance on the paper later without stressing the dog with it. It is always recommended to measure all paws! Commonly, the front paws are wider than the back ones but the opposite can be also true for some dogs.
You have to figure out how tight and snug they have to be for the optimal fit. Many think that leaving them looser or ordering one size bigger will make the boots comfier for the dog but if you have ever tried to hike in oversized boots, you know it's not true. If the paws are sliding around in the boots, the dog will lose balance much easier and the boots will chafe their paws much faster so you want to measure it as precisely as possible.
The TLS3961 Truelove Boots are durable and strong boots that come in 8 sizes and four colors.
The bottom and the front of the boots are made from TPR, a thermoplastic rubber which is also used for our shoes. It is not too rigid, allows some flexibility but it's strong enough to protect the paws from sharp objects like rocks on a hike or broken glass on the streets. The grooved soles provide some traction but of course it is not the same as using their claws so be careful not to let them run around off-leash on slippery surfaces or steep trails with the boots on.
The downside of the TPR material is that it MAY become slightly sticky when exposed to high temperatures - which could be even around 110 Fahrenheit (45 Celsius), depending on the exact material used. This means that while it's great for winter, it might not be the best for extreme heat like hot pavement or a walk in the desert. Disclaimer: We haven't used it in the city on hot days so we haven't had any experience with this specific attribute of the product yet, this is just based on the properties of the material and others expereinces.
The other con for using these over the summer is that the material isn't breathable so the dog's paws get hot and dump in them easily. Dogs also cool down by sweating on their paws so restricting this with a waterproof material has its own risks.
The inside of the boots are not overly soft but they have a fleece kind of layer. This helps to make it comfier but after a few use, dirt will start building up in them. The sewing is visible inside but it isn't sticking out much, they aren't chafing the paws as far as we saw.
The boots are secured by two strong hook&loop fasteners which also have reflective lines on them.
These boots worked well for us over the years but it's hard to review any boot because there are so many factors that are just based on each dog. Even though this was a good fit for Mia, it might be too snug or sit too high or be too short for your dog.
With saying this, it's also true that we tried a few other brands before that just never stayed on whatever we did. These boots do not fall off - even if the dog runs through mud or deep snow. The boots are not moving around much so Mia is surprisingly confident to jump on steep-rocky parts while wearing them and she is not losing her balance when walking on sharp-rock-covered terrain.
The Hook&Loop fasteners hold up surprisingly well. The only downside of using velcro on a boot is that it will inevitably start collecting dirt on the uncovered parts that are hard to clean. The reflective stripes are a nice extra but not sure how helpful and necessary they are on a boot.
We only had trouble with the velcros when used in deep snow because it kept opening up once wet snow built up in them.
The material is waterproof, at least at the beginning. After a few hikes, the material will start to break in and slowly becomes less and less waterproof over time. Being waterproof can be a helpful feature for salty winter roads but it's not a pro for summer hikes since this also means the moisture is stuck inside when the paws are sweating on a hot day which can cause rubbing much easier.
On the other hand, the waterproof material came in handy when Mia cut her paw on a hike and she ran through a puddle with the boots over the bandage. Her paw was completely dry at the end of the hike!
One important thing to check before using these types of boots is your dog's dewclaws (if your dog has them). Be sure to cut them and ensure they are not sharp at all because the boots will be tightened right above them, pressing the claws to the leg. When we have to use these boots for a longer time, we usually put vet wraps or some kind of bandage under/around the claws to be sure it is not hurting her skin.
Another thing to consider is the hight of the boots. For some, the top of the boots can press against the carpal pads on the back of the front legs chafing them.
We are happy with these shoes especially for this price. They seem to be sturdy even after extensive use on rough terrain, and most importantly: they stay on Mia's feet!
The main takeaway from our all-season testing is that there are no boots that would be great for all climate and all activities. On the product's site, Truelove suggests that these can be used on hot pavement, for hikes, and for winter walks in the city as well. They work well for all of these if you use them for a shorter period but if you look for something specifically for longer use on the hot summer days, we would recommend one made from a breathable material.
You can buy these boots through Amazon. Mia's feet are size 5, but be sure to carefully check the size chart and measure your dog's paws (all four!) when ordering one for your dog!
These boots come in four colors which can be matched with the colors of the other Truelove products! ;)