Update: just learned you can also make booties from duct tape. (Thanks, Deb!) I will try this for patching these since they are developing holes already (on the top of all places! She’s really dragging her feet).
My beloved German Shepherd Cora, who is now 13 years old, has been diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy.
We had a feeling that something was wrong. Cora’s back end just isn’t working like it used to. She stumbles, trips, and can’t make it up the steps sometimes, all symptoms of her condition. There is no treatment for her at this point beyond TLC and today’s post is about one way I am taking care of my dear aging dog.
Because her back legs are getting weaker, Cora drags her feet a lot. For some months now, the two middle nails on both of her back feet have been worn down to nubs. If she walks on a hard surface, she’s in danger of scraping her nails down to the quick and bleeding. This has happened several times in the past, and I walk her as much as possible on grass as a result. But even these precautions haven’t been enough. Yesterday, she scraped one of her knuckles on the walk and bled everywhere. Time to do something more to protect her dragging feet.
I looked at dog booties at the pet store and didn’t like them. They seemed plastic and impersonal, so I decided to make them myself. Here’s the short version of what I did.
I traced her foot and added 1 1/4 inches along the seam line to allow for her foot and a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Then I took a pair of my old jeans and laid the pattern on the leg at the bottom, using the hem for the finished edge so I wouldn’t have to sew one myself.
I was thinking about how to get velcro in the right places for the closure when I came up with a simpler solution: ribbon ties. I cut pieces of ribbon about 10 inches long and pinned them in place so they would be sewn into the seam. If you try this, make sure you don’t catch more of the ribbon in the seam than you want.
After that, I sewed my half inch seam, going over the beginning, end, and sections with the ribbon a few extra times for strength. I trimmed down the seam to more like 1/4 inch wide, clipped the curved part, then turned them inside out and pressed them for good measure.
The last step was to put them on the dog, and they fit just fine. When we went for our walk, I discovered the ties work best if you wrap them past each other and tie them on the far side so that the ribbon goes all the way around the dog’s leg. This gives a snug fit and keeps the booties from sliding off. Cora didn’t seem to mind them at all, and she came in with her nails and feet intact. Success!