Dogs can be injured by slipping and falling on smooth flooring. Take these steps to keep him from getting hurt.

Most of us have smooth floor surfaces in our homes, but did you know they pose a safety risk for your dog? Laminate, tile and hardwood floors look great, and they’re easy to keep clean, but your dog’s paws aren’t designed to walk on such smooth hard surfaces. And that can lead to slipping, sliding and falling – and potentially serious injury. Luckily, there are many ways to prevent these accidents from happening.

“Many types of injury can occur when dogs slip and slide on floors,” says Lorraine Walston of Woodrow Wear. “They can range from small bruises to more serious issues that might require surgery to repair or stabilize. More frequent injuries range from pulled or torn muscles and ligaments (like an ACL), to bone and hip injuries, to an aggravation of swollen, arthritic joints or damaged tissues and nerves.”

Dogs need to “get a grip”

The first thing we should consider is how a dog walks, and why it’s so hard for him to walk normally – and feel confident about doing so– on a hard, smooth surface. “Dogs use their toenails for traction,” says veterinarian Dr. Julie Buzby, the founder of Dr. Buzby’s ToeGrips. “They will engage their paws, flex their toes, and dig their nails into the earth like soccer cleats. But hard nails can’t get a grip on hard floors.”

9 ways to prevent slips and falls

Fortunately, we can do several things to ensure our dogs’ safety and comfort.

  1. Keep your dog’s nails short. “Short nails are a prerequisite for healthy posture and a normal gait,” says Dr. Buzby.
  2. If your dog has fuzzy foot pads, keep them trimmed and neat. Otherwise, he is essentially trying to walk in slippers, not an easy task on a slick surface.
  3. Place carpet runners or rugs through main traffic areas, especially where your dog is most likely to walk. Make sure the rugs and runners are secured to the floor to prevent slipping when your dog (or anyone else) walks or runs on them.
  4. Pay extra attention to where your dog likes to nap or rest. Getting up from a slick floor can be quite challenging, especially for larger or older dogs, so placing a rug there will make things easier and more comfortable for him.
  5. Consider stairs as well. If your dog slips and falls down the stairs, any injuries he sustains can be especially serious. Invest in a good runner and install it securely on your steps.
  6. Keeping your dog physically fit is important, too. If your dog maintains an ideal body weight, there will be less pressure on his joints, and that makes walking easier. Feeding your dog a healthy diet of wholesome nutritious foods will prevent him from gaining too much weight. Couple it with regular exercise, which improves your dog’s mobility as well as maintaining a healthy weight.
  7. A number of products are available that can make it easier for your dog to walk on slippery floors. Power Paws from Woodrow Wear are flexible, non-slip dog socks that provide traction so that dogs don’t slide around on hard smooth flooring, even when they’re running. They’re a good choice for senior dogs and those with arthritis or hip dysplasia. The socks are available in 13 sizes and two foot shapes for all types of dog. “Dogs that no longer slip or struggle on slippery floors experience a whole new level of confidence,” says Lorraine.
  8. PupGear’s Paw Pads are thin, self-adhesive traction pads that you stick directly to two or more of your dog’s foot pads. Offered in small/medium and large, they’re non-toxic and feature human grade medical adhesive, so they won’t harm your dog if he licks them. Since the pads adhere directly to the dog’s feet, the traction accompanies him wherever you take him.
  9. Dr. Buzby’s ToeGrips are non-slip grips that slide onto the dog’s toenails to restore traction and confidence on tile, laminate and hardwood floors. They work with the dog’s bio-mechanics by engaging the toenails, which is how he naturally “grips” the surface he’s walking on. Hard nails can’t grip hard floors, but this product gives dogs the ability to do so.

Taking these ideas to heart will prevent your dog from slipping and falling, and will restore his self-confidence about safely navigating smooth, hard floors.

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