Many homes now have wood, laminate or tile flooring, particularly in areas such as kitchens, where dogs spend much of their time. Dogs have to work hard to prevent themselves from slipping on these surfaces. This becomes more difficult as their muscles become weaker with age and their joints are stiff and painful with arthritis. Slips stretch inflamed joints and tight muscles out of their normal range, and this causes small injuries to the muscles, ligaments and tendons. Injuries cause scars and scars cause stiffness and pain. Preventing this repetitive trauma and pain using simple measures is likely to make life easier both in the short and long term for the arthritic dog.
- Carpets/ rugs/ mats do not have to be expensive. Try rubber backed mats which can be purchased new or second hand (e.g. from eBay), carpet tiles for small areas, carpet off cuts and runners.
- Secure mats to floor with non slip tape to prevent them slipping.
- If it is not possible to cover all your dog’s routes with mats either restrict where they walk, or place mats in strategic ‘problem’ areas such as doorways and thresholds.
- There are a huge variety of dog boots available. Where possible ‘try before you buy’ to get a good fit.
- Keep your dog’s hair trimmed short between their toes and keep nails trimmed. Walking on hairy feet is a bit like walking in socks and makes the dog more likely to slip. If you are not happy to do this most veterinary practices run nurse clinics where a qualified veterinary nurse or dog groomer will be happy to do this for you.