Booty

New rear wheels

After Peat’s pad debacle, and the post that generated more comments than any other post on this blog, along with a boatload of very helpful recommendations and suggestions, I’m writing to report on a successful first try of one of the recommended products (thanks, Jeff): 1000 Cordura booties from dogbooties.com.

He’s okay with them…

At only $3 each (yes, they’re sold individually), we thought we’d give them a shot. We bought four size small blaze orange booties with the Velstretch fastener. Dogbooties is in Anchorage, Alaska, and makes thousands of these things for sled dogs, so the booties are effective in snow and ice. Shipping for two pairs cost about $8, and they came Priority Mail in three or four days. (We just ordered 4 more X-Small since these had a wee bit too much breathing room; hopefully they’ll fit better.)

Undeterred (Clint Eastwood’s new film about a Brittany bird dog with pad probs)

Yesterday we went on a short hunt (2 hours, 3.5 miles). The terrain was moderately abrasive, and Peat ran 10.5 miles. I was able to “install” the booties on both his rear feet (even though only his right foot had the messed up pad; we were advised by Jeff and our vet to go bilateral, which makes sense) in about two or three minutes before letting him out of the truck, including adding a couple wraps of duct tape over the Velstretch fastener. He hopped out of the truck and comically tried to propel himself exclusively with his front legs for about 30 seconds, before apparently saying, “Screw it, I need those rear wheels!” In less than two minutes, he was sprinting around like his normal bat-out-of-hell self whenever beginning a hunt.

Check-in and hydration station

The rest of the hunt I monitored the booties, which were easy to see since they’re blaze orange, somewhat worried they’d come undone. They never did, and he never slowed down. I’d have to say he didn’t let them impede him in any way. It was actually sort of funny since I could hear him coming with the fwapping of his booties, so I could tell which dog was coming up on me from behind just from the sound.

Post-hunt snorkle

Another thing I worried about a little bit was whether the foreign objects on his hind feet would mess with his mind, which must play a part in his prey drive and pointing instincts. He pointed coveys, and backed Angus’s points, like normal.

Minimal wear-and-tear

After the hunt, I removed the booties (which only took a second, even with the duct tape, which I’d “tabbed” by folding a diagonal at the end so I could easily grab it to remove afterward). I kind of expected them to be thrashed. There was a little wear on them, but I’d say we could get another three to four hunts out of them, as long as they don’t come off. See the photo above to judge for yourself.

The “A-Team”

So, after just one outing, I’ll go out on a limb and say these things are worth a shot if your dog is suffering from abraded and abused pads. We mobilized to make the DIY motorcycle tube booties (cool videos; thanks for several commenters for references to this!), and actually bought all the stuff for it but managed to get a motorcycle tube that was too small for Peat’s tiny rear feet (I got a 2.25″ tube, but couldn’t get it over his foot). I’m going to pass on going back to this idea since the snow should start falling, and (thanks again, Jeff) the rubber bootie option in the snow doesn’t seem like the best solution given the potential for slippage.

Peat’s pad healing is still a work in progress. We took him to the vet earlier this week, and he put some antibiotic ointment on it and wrapped it, saying Peat would be able to hunt by the weekend with some kind of booty. So we kept it wrapped for a few days and kept it moist. Yesterday, some Pad Kote (thanks, Ron) came in the mail, and I applied it last night while Peat was sleeping. I couldn’t believe he didn’t wake up because the turpentine/smoky smell was overpowering. I put the dogbootie on it to keep the purple die from staining everything it touched. He pulled the booty off in the middle of the night, but by that time his pad was dry. Today, it’s still the color purple (apologies to Alice Walker), and it’s got a sheen to it like a kind of coating. I’m not sure I’ll continue putting this stuff on his cracked pad since it makes more sense to me to keep it moist instead of drying it out, but that could change. Anyway, I’m glad we seem to have found a sort-of solution, for now. He’s not limping, he’s getting exercise, and all is well-ish.

11 Replies to “Booty”

    1. Until yesterday I’d never put anything on my dogs’ feet. Peat’s problem, I’m pretty sure, was just an unlucky encounter with a really sharp rock or thorn, and not weak pads per se. Both dogs’ feet have been very tough with little or no trouble. But it’s that one time when you still want to hunt but need to protect a wound that — for us, at least — requires booties. I think I’ll carry a pair from now on just in case.

  1. Great news. I am going to get some dogbooties just in case. I used to use pad Kote back when I had GSPs. Britts seem to handle lava better. Less pounds per square inch weight on their pads.

  2. Glad it worked out. My experience with Abby was just as your’s – put them on just before she takes off and she pays them no mind. Though, I’ve had a hard time keeping boots on her. Next time I planned on wrapping her wrist with the flex athletic time and using duct tape as you did, maybe that’s the ticket. I use Pad Heal, which sounds similar to Pad Kote – smells awful. I put a baby sock over her foot w/ the athletic tape holding it on. Works great and keeps her from licking it while it dries. Also good technique to keep her from licking an injured pad. I’ve seen a lot of recommendations for Lewis booties, which might work better in snow/ice though much more expensive.

  3. There is a video on how to put on boots so they will not come off’ Go to Gundog Supply web sight Lewis Boot page and watch the video.

  4. As much as I like the 1000 weight cordura boots for general protection I don’t feel they stand up to the harsh terrain of typical chukar country. I found that I could Increase the longevity of the boots by applying a coat of Shoe Goo to the pad side and edges of the boot. If you are diligent and add more Goo to wear spots as they occur, you can increase their life expectancy dramatically.
    I second James T’s recommendation regarding using the Gundog supply protocol. You will rarely lose a boot.

    1. Thanks for the Shoe Goo tip, Neil. Peat has run about 40 miles in the booties so far and they’re holding up pretty well, and haven’t fallen off yet. I’m simply putting them over his feet, using the Velcro closure, and putting a couple wraps of duct tape over the Velcro; nothing in the inside of the bootie as in the Gun Dog supply video. So, so far so good, and happy with the value, as well as the traction in snow, ice, and dirt/rocks.

  5. I’ve been using the 1000 Cordura boots from Dogbotties.com for at least 5 years now on both of my dogs. They work great. For short weekend trips I don’t typically boot my dogs but I do carry a couple of these booties in my pack incase they tear/cut a pad out on the hunt. For longer hunts, 2-5 days in the field, is where I really get the value out of these boots, or anytime they are in snow/ice. Historically my dogs pads are trashed after 2-3 days of hard hunting in the Chukar hills of OR/ID, but by using the boots I can get a good 4 days of hunting out of them before they physically start slowing down. My dogs do wear through them after about 2 hunts and I’ve had success extending their life by applying shoe goo and I’ve also added gorilla tape to the bottoms and just replace that every day. I buy these boots 60 at a time and just consider it a cost of the hunt, similar to shells. One of my dogs has smaller feet and I have trouble keeping them on if I don’t tape them, but the other dog has bigger feet and will usually keeps the boots on all day using just the Velcro closure of the boot. Another trick that I do to extend the life of the boot is when the bottom surface starts to show wear I will flip it over and the top becomes the bottom, getting another hunt out of them.

    My dogs hate having them put on but as soon as they hit the ground hunting they forget all about them. I have to take them off before putting them back into the dog box or they will crew them off.

  6. Similar to the Shoe Goo comments, we apply Plasti Dip to the pad area, seams, and toe of the boots in order to give a longer life and re-dip as needed. You can pick it up at box hardware stores. We started with dogbooties.com but now make our own with templates made/modified with theirs. It helps that my wife sews. We bought Cordura, Velcro, and heavy duty thread and went to town.

    We hunt mostly in TX, KS, NE, and SD so we have different boots to match the terrain. For severe cactus or sharp rocky terrain in desert areas, we’ve made double ply boots with a piece of leather sandwiched between the Cordura on the pad and toe portion. For moderate cactus, we go with double ply and a piece of inner tube sandiched between the Cordura. We also have some regular double ply with no inset when dealing with stickers or just to help the dogs feet on extended hunting trips. We found that our dogs tend to wear out the boots in their nail area first which is why we started making the double ply in the first place. They will wear out the inside first, but the outside layer will still be good for a few more hunts. We apply Plasti Dip to all of our boots and it helps tremendously.

    We also tape our boots on, but I’ve found that using electrical tape instead of duct tape is a lot easier.

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