• Vets at Home

Old dogs and slippery floors: 4 ways to improve traction

Old dogs and slippery floors is a terrible combination. Wood, polished concrete and tiles are often very difficult for many old dogs to get traction on. They can have difficulty getting up, walking can be tricky and worst of all they can be prone to slipping and causing injury. Some dogs also get nervous and tentative walking on the floor following a bad experience which makes the risk of slippage and injury worse as they dart across the scary part of the floor.


Whilst this is an issue most common in older dogs, any dog that is recovering from injury or surgery (such as spinal problems or cruciate disease) will also benefit from measures to improve grip. Here are 4 methods you can try.


1. Keeping nails trimmed

As dogs age they tend to do less running around and wear down their nails less. Those long nails make walking more difficult, sometimes painful, and also change the way the foot needs to contact the ground. Starting regular nail trimming may need to occur earlier in life to ensure your dog is comfortable with having their feet touched and trimmed. From puppyhood you should start with touching their feet whilst giving praise or treats so your dog is comfortable with handling their feet as many old dogs become quite sensitive about them. If you have a dog that is already sensitive about it you can talk to a trainer about desensitisation or book in with the vet or groomer for regular nail trims.


Whilst you are working on their feet consider also trimming the long hair that some dogs have around the bottom of their feet to improve the contact of the more grippy pad surface with the ground. This is probably best done by a groomer or vet unless you have experience with using clippers.


2. Carpets, rugs and rubber mats

These work really well. Ideally the back of the carpet should be rubber backed so it doesn't slip on the floor. If you have a large floor space make sure the important areas where your dog needs to walk are covered. These include around bed, walking to front/back door, to water and food bowls and any areas where they like to spend time with you such as the living room. Cheap carpet runners can be found at spotlight, yoga mats can work, and rolls of grip matting can be found at bunnings or clarke rubber. You may also be able to source them second hand asking on community groups.


3. Toe grips

Toe grips are circular pieces of rubber that are designed to be superglued onto your dogs nails. A common brand is Dr Buzbys. These can assist your dog with traction however I find that as the nail grows many owners don't change them frequently enough. Also the superglued grips can be difficult to remove. They are an option however if you are unable to sufficiently manage the slippery floors by using carpets.


4. Dog boots

Dog boots can sometimes these can be helpful depending on the boot. Finding a good boot that fits your dog and stays on, provides good grip, and your dog doesn't want to pull off can be tricky. They also shouldn't be left on all day and night. You may want to place them as your dog is moving around into non-carpeted areas and remove them at night so their feet can breathe. Pawz Dog boots are biodegradable rubber boots that will assist with traction. Pawz boots can be purchased from here .