In response to First Run's questions, Ruff Wear tests to see if dog boots provide protection from electrified sidewalks
Update: Blair Sorrell from StreetZaps.com reports that dog boots will not protect your pet. "Dog booties may become saturated with water and road salts and will not protect your pooch. In fact, canine shoes may actually increase the chance of a shocking once they become water logged."
There are currently no dog booties on the market (either sneaker or balloon style) that carry an OSHA safety rating from protection against voltage. StreetZaps state "Booties that protect against voltage are still a 'concept' rather than a practical option."
To avoid shocks, dogs owners should avoid outdoor electrical equipment, lampposts, metal grates, manholes, service boxes and walking under sidewalk scaffolding which is often improperly grounded.
Con Edison further states that pedestrians walking dogs should cross the street whenever they see Con Edison electrical warnings -- even if a path is left open for limited pedestrian traffics. Your shoes will protect you from residual voltage but your dog's paws have no shielding.
For more information, vist: streetzaps.com
Dear First Run,
After hearing of your concerns and having talked with a few reporters regarding the issue of electrified sidewalks and grates in NYC, I wanted to investigate just how effective our Bark n' Boot were in protecting canines from electrical shocks.
The test we performed uses standard 120 VAC household voltage. This test in no way makes claim that our booties will protect against all voltages and all conditions. Remember lightning can jump across thin air given the excessive voltage and its nature to seek out a ground.
What The Test Consists Of
We took electrical wire and connected each wire to a metal rod (screwdrivers).
We then drove the two screwdrivers into the ground and thoroughly wetted the ground with tap water for better conductivity. At this point we measured the voltage traveling through the ground. Please note the voltmeter measuring 113.2 VAC.
At this point we fitted the aluminum dog paw with a DRY Bark n' Boot. And placed the bootie in full contact with the electrified ground. Please note the voltmeter measuring 000.0 VAC. There is no electrical discharging through the Bark n' Boot.
We then soaked the bootie in a bucket of water for several minutes thoroughly saturating all layers of the bootie and the aluminum dog paw.
We then placed the bootie on the electrified soil and the water from the bootie pooled between the bootie and the soil providing a conductive path. At this point we measured 58.0 VAC. This follows along with my original statement:
Our Booties should prevent the passage of electricity provided the booties are not excessively soaking wet and dirty or salty.
At this point Niki tested the voltage by placing two fingers on the electrified bootie. The additional pressure further increased the contact of the bootie to the electrified soil and the voltage increased slightly to 67.3 VAC. BUT as you will note that while the voltmeter is showing 67.3 VAC, Niki is NOT EXPERIANCING ANY SHOCK or electrical sensation whatsoever.
While I have demonstrated how our Bark n' Boots may provide some protection from electrical shock, this brings up other concerns. Should a dog relieve himself/herself by lifting a leg on an electrified fire hydrant or squatting on a charged grate/sidewalk this could close the circuit and create a rather different method of circuitry and a shocking experience to say the least.
In our test using standard 120 VAC household current, a dry bootie was an excellent insulator between an electrified field (the soil) and the aluminum dog paw with 000.0 VAC transfer.
Because we can not control the condition, moisture content, and fitting of the bootie on all dogs we can not state that our booties will protect against electrical shock in every instance.
I hope this information is useful for you and the canines of NYC. As you know we all face daily challenges and dangers when venturing out into the world. It is how we adapt and adjust our lives to face those challenges that allow us to survive. Until the city rectifies the electricity leaking into the city streets and sidewalks the citizens will be responsible for the wellbeing of their canine companions as well as their own.
Let me know if you have any further questions or comments.