As a pet owner, whether you are brand new or have owned a dog for years, you care about their health, well-being, and quality of life – just like you would a member of your own family. We completely understand that feeling! This feeling can translate to situations big and small, from preventing diseases and health conditions to getting a specific toy your dog loves.
Today we’re going to talk about how to stop your dog from slipping on hardwood floors and explain why it’s happening. Now, this may seem like it is not that big of a deal, but if you have experienced this situation continually happening, you know it can be somewhat concerning and could lead to your furry companion’s injury, damage to your home, or both.
Reasons to Stop Your Dog From Slipping
If your puppy is stumbling around your floor like they are a baby deer on a slip n’ slide, or perhaps you have an elderly dog that can’t stand up once he sits down. You might have even noticed that your dog looks like they’re doing the splits just trying to stand up. These instances can happen if you have one of the following flooring options in your home:
- Polished Cement
These floors are a popular option for many homeowners because they look great and are easy to clean. Unfortunately, we can’t have carpet in every inch of our home to protect our pups, so we understand the struggle! When it comes to hard floors, your dog might feel like they are walking on ice and can’t get their footing. At first, this may look adorable as your puppy wobbles and tumbles around your floor, but these falls can be seriously dangerous to their health.
For example, a young and healthy puppy risks pulled muscles or torn ligaments, and that’s just the beginning. If you have an elderly or special needs dog, those consequences can become even more serious. The aggressive staggering movements of your dog trying to stay balanced or hold themselves up can cause irreparable damage to older dogs with arthritis, spinal, joint, or hip problems.
These medical conditions can cause your dog’s legs to twist and his feet to slide out from under him when walking over slippery surfaces. A stumble or fall could mean an expensive trip to the veterinarian. As a pet owner, we never want to see our dogs in pain or hurt, so this scenario sounds like a nightmare to most. For the sake of your dog, young or old, you need to come up with a solution! Well, don’t worry, we’re here to help.
Why is My Dog Slipping on Hardwood Floors?
First off, let’s start with some possible reasons your dog could be sliding around like an ice skater on your floors. Naturally, dogs’ bodies are built with certain elements to fight this issue (thanks evolution!) So, in some cases, there may be something on their body that you, as their human, need to keep up with to prevent the slipping and sliding.
1. Dry Paw Pads – Your dog’s paw pads are their natural traction, kind of like a tire, so when they become dry and cracked, the “tread” is worn off. Cracked pads can be caused by allergies, nutrition, and other medical conditions, so it’s best to check in with your vet to make sure none of these are the cause.
But in most cases, you simply need to moisturize their pads just like you do with your own body. Grab some balm, vaseline, etc, and rub it on those paws! If your dog doesn’t like their paws being touched, maybe give them some peanut butter or another one of their favorite treats to keep them busy while you complete this task.
2. Long Nails – So we’ve just established that the paw pads are the traction your puppy uses to keep their grip on those slippery floors, but when their nails are overgrown this has a big impact on how they stand. If your dog’s nails are too long, your dog will place weight on the nails when walking, instead of their toe pads.
Not standing on their toe pads decreases the traction, as nails have none. Giving your dog’s nails a trim allows them to place the balance back on their pads, giving them the traction they need to stand tall!
3. Paw Pads are Overgrown – As you know, dogs grow hair on almost every part of their bodies, including their feet. Not just the top of their paws, but the bottom too! This hair, if overgrown, can grow long enough to cover your dog’s paw pads, which we know is the traction that keeps them standing.
With hair covering the traction, this could be causing them to slip and slide on their soft fur on the bottom of their feet. To fix this, they just need a trim! You can do this at home, but it never hurts to go to a professional. Usually, your groomers will ask if you’d like a paw pad trim during your puppy’s regular hair cut, if not, it’s usually only a few bucks extra and well worth it.
Products to Help Your Dog Stop Slipping
So let’s say you’ve tried all of the options above and nothing is working, your dog is still slipping and sliding all over your house. You might want to invest in a product or two to help your furry friend get their footing. Luckily, you’ve got a few good options!
- Dog Socks – Just like regular socks, but made especially for your puppy’s paw! They come with traction grips on the bottom that prevent slipping. (Pro Tip: buy a matching pair for you and your dog so they don’t feel like the only weirdo wearing these socks everywhere!)
- Dog Shoes – Similar to the socks, but little doggy shoes. These ones may take your dog some getting used to as they are not used to having something with so much weight on their paws, but once they adjust and realize they are able to stand firmly, you won’t regret the purchase.
- Toe Nail Covers – These are a great option if your dog is rejecting wearing a sock or shoe on their paw. They are rubber covers that simply go over your dog’s nails. Developed by Veterinarian Samantha Mchenry, they can help even the most elderly of dogs properly grip slippery floors. They work by creating friction. Rubber is capable of gripping slick surfaces like hardwood or laminate, where our dogs’ nails on their own are not. These very small treads are more than enough to provide your dog with extra traction, and most people won’t even notice your dog wearing them!
- Paw Wax – Paw wax can be used for a variety of scenarios for your puppy, so it’s a great investment that will come in handy often. It can be used to protect paws from ice, snow and even hot pavements – it can also provide extra grip on slippery surfaces! Simply rub it on your dog’s paw to create a barrier on the paw. Of course, just like any topical ointment, this needs to be reapplied and is a temporary solution. Applying this 1-2 times per day will usually do the trick!
- Adhesive Paw Grip – Think of these as a dog bandaid with a grip on them. One side is a sticky adhesive that sticks to your dog’s paw pad. To apply, it’s best to clean your dog’s paw pad beforehand. Typically, you’ll only get 2-5 days of wear before the adhesive loses stickiness, and the grips fall off. Just like the paw wax, these are a great temporary option.
- Changing Your Flooring – This option may seem dramatic, but for a dog lover there’s no limit to the lengths you will go to in order to make your dog’s life better. Carpet, foam, or rubber are just a few materials dogs can effortlessly grip. If you don’t want to make any permanent changes to your home, you can also purchase rubber interlocking tiles – similar to ones you’d see in a garage or baby’s play area. These will provide traction for your puppy without damaging or changing your home’s structure!
- Talk to Your Vet – If none of these options seem right for you, or if you have tried these options with no success, it’s a good idea to reach out to your vet, as something serious could be wrong with your dog. Some medical issues make it difficult to walk across slippery flooring:
- Physical injuries (Torn ACL, Broken leg, sprain, etc.)
- Hip and hind leg problems
- Joint issues
- Damaged nerves
- Spine or disk problems
- Vestibular disease (Affects balance)
These symptoms may be invisible when walking on easy-to-grip surfaces. However, once your dog steps onto slippery flooring, they can be easily spotted as your dog starts to struggle to keep itself up. Although it is easy to disregard a medical issue being the reason for your dog’s slipping, it’s important to address it as quickly as possible.
If you suspect that the cause of your dog slipping is medical, take your dog to the vet for a check-up. Don’t delay in seeing a vet, in any scenario. Most conditions or illnesses caught in the early stages are treatable or manageable – your puppy will have a better life for it!
Conclusion for How to Stop Your Dog From Slipping On Hardwood Floors
We know that whether you are a brand new dog owner or have owned a dog for years, you care about their health, well-being, and quality of life. As you can see from this article, your dog slipping and sliding on your floor can be very dangerous for your home, your dog’s health, and your own peace of mind.
Consequences can be pulled muscles or torn ligaments, especially for elderly dogs with arthritis, joint or hip problems. Fortunately, there are quite a few solutions to prevent this issue. First, we mentioned prevention methods that naturally occur on your dog’s body. These can be moisturizing paw pads, trimming nails, or trimming hairs that grow onto the paw pad.
If these don’t work, it is also possible to purchase products that aid in traction for your dog. A few of these are doggy socks, shoes, nail covers, and various adhesives. Whichever solution you choose, you are making a great decision for your puppy and home. We hope this article told you how to stop your dog from slipping on hardwood floors.
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Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
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