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Slippery floors and senior dogs

Slippery floors and senior dogs


Social media is full of videos of dogs slipping and sliding on laminate or wooden floors, but is this just a bit of fun, or can slipping be a problem – especially for our senior dogs?

Senior dogs and slippery surfaces

As dog owners, many of us opt to have easy clean floors, such as laminate, tiled or wooden floors. Although, these floors make our life easier, they can actually make our dog’s life more difficult.

Why are slippery surfaces difficult to walk on?

Have you ever found yourself stiff and sore after walking on icy pavements? Perhaps muscles you didn’t know you had are aching? To prevent ourselves slipping when we walk on ice we change our gait. By changing how we walk, we activate different muscles and these may be stiff the following day.

When dogs walk on slippery surfaces, they also try to stop themselves from slipping. This can create the same kind of stiffness that we suffer from after walking on ice. In addition to this, if the dog slips it can cause further damage to the soft tissues, known as micro-traumas. In older dogs, a slip or a fall can lead to further inflammation and pain in already arthritic joints.

Can slippery floors cause problems for puppies and adult dogs?

There is not enough research to support whether slippery floors can affect younger dogs too, but many canine professionals such as physiotherapists and hydrotherapists believe that if the limb slips out of its normal range of motion, this will cause small sprains and strains at any age.  You should never ask your dog to play on slippery floors, even sitting can cause the limbs to splay out in an abnormal position.

What can we do about it?

The most simple (but less aesthetic way) to reduce slips and trips is to cover slippery floors with mats and rugs. These don’t have to be expensive, even cheap yoga mats or runners can be used. It is especially important to ensure that when your senior dog gets out of their bed they are not stepping straight onto a slippery floor.

Cover slippery floors with mats

Keeping their nails and the fur in between your dog’s pads clipped short can help with traction too. And if their pads are dry and cracked, using some paw balm to moisturise the pads may help.

You could also try:

·         Anti-slip socks or boots

·         Toe nail grips

·         Adhesive coatings for the pads

Before you buy, this Facebook page is a great site for reviews of equipment that have helped dogs with arthritis: https://www.facebook.com/groups/540364159637089/

 

For more information

If you would like more information to help your senior dog, please contact our nutritionist on nutrition@vetskitchen.co.uk or 01793 887555.

In addition to nutrition, Fiona is a qualified canine myotherapist, hydrotherapist and holds the CAMadvocate qualification (Canine Arthritis Management professional qualification).

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