01/21/2009 at 10:31 AM EST
My dog Jolly
went through many boots before I found a kind he'd actually wear: Pawz
, a rubber, balloon-like bootie.
Like many city dogs, Jolly limps when his paws are burned by salt, which property owners throw with abandon even before the first snowflake. I tried canvas, fleece and $70 neoprene boots. Each time Jolly walked like a puppet, awkwardly over-extending his legs. The boots took a long time to get on and a short time to fall off. Then I saw Pawz, which cost about $15-$20 depending on the size. They go on quick, stay on and produce no silly walks.
Gary Friedland, a former advertising exec, invented Pawz a few years ago for his Manhattan jack russels. He started with a latex mold of his dog's paw, but now has a shape that fits in any direction, on any paw. "The boot adjusts to a dog's paw," Friedland told PEOPLE Pets. "Dogs only feel secure and walk normally when they can feel the ground." Friedland says he's surprised at how many uses pet owners have come up with: giving dogs with arthritis extra traction, preventing rips in swimming pools or keeping out fire ants.