Barefoot Running: Not Just for Humans Anymore

I reluctantly started barefoot running just about a year ago. It’s not that the arguments made by Christopher McDougall and others weren’t compelling. It makes perfect sense to me that the heels in my running shoes could mess up the way my foot strikes the ground, and that the cushioning in these shoes could absorb energy that should go into propelling me forward.

The main reason I resisted barefoot running was that I thought my feet looked silly in those toe shoes. Not being a super-fast or ultra-distance runner, I didn’t want to look like I took myself that seriously. This all changed after I realized that knee surgery had failed to get rid of the pain I was suffering when running more than a few miles. Desperate times require desperate steps, for me it meant slipping into my first barefoot runners.

The opposite is true for our dog. When we go out into the snow, she really hates to wear dog boots. Besides looking silly, the boots affect her stride and serve as a constant distraction. If we end up in deep snow, it’s not unusual for a boot to slip off and be lost until Spring. The alternative, up until now, was to take her out knowing that little balls of ice would form in between the pads on her paws. All indications were that going barefoot in the snow was was an irritating, and ultimately painful, experience.

Enter Musher’s Secret.

This weekend we were up in the mountains hiking around in the snow, but instead of putting dog boots on her paws we tried Musher’s Secret, a 100% natural wax. We hiked in the snow for a couple of hours and the results seemed fairly promising. She did have some snow stick to her paws, but nothing like what would have happened had we not used the wax. We’re thinking that it’s something we could get better at applying and we’d probably see even better results.

If you do a little research, you will find some pretty strong arguments about the importance of protecting your dog’s paws year-round. Knowing the difference minimalist running shoes has made for me, I can’t help but wonder if this alternative to wearing dog boots isn’t also a better choice for her.

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