In Hong Kong’s hot and humid weather, we all enjoy nice smooth floors in our homes, easy to clean and easy to walk on! Unfortunately, most of these floorings prove to be very slippery for dogs. Some floors like marble can feel like trying to walk on an ice-skating rink every day, which can be a huge pain (literally) and quite frankly scary, not to mention difficult to stand up for many senior pets.
Dogs and humans have very different foot anatomy for walking. Humans walk with our heel on the ground, leaving a large and secure footprint. The dog, however, walks with its heel (or hock) off the ground- which is just like us walking on tippy-toes. The anatomy helps them to move faster but to do so they rely heavily on their good strong toenails to grip and ding into the ground and propel them forward. (Take a moment to watch your dog stand- they roll their toes forward and dig their nails into the surface…..unless of course there’s nothing to dig into!). Therefore, they can walk, trot and run perfectly on rough terrains such as rocky, grassy or sandy roads, but not so easily on smooth flooring. For young healthy dogs, it can be challenging but still manageable, as they learn to adapt to our smooth world. Often it proves to be too difficult for our senior, arthritic or special needs dogs.
The dog needs to have the paw pads exposed to allow touch with the ground, as the sensory receptors here provide proprioception (placing) feedback on the foot’s position to the brain. Proprioception is how the pet feels the ground and is able to navigate the surface and walk. The paw pads also have sweat glands. This is why dog shoes, sticky boots or socks can be helpful, but are an on/ off solution, as they limit both the proprioception feedback and ability to sweat which can cause skin issues if worn for anything other than short periods of time. The addition of carpets or yoga mats to the floors of your home is very helpful but not always practical and only helps for the spaces under your control. Toe grips are a life changing solution for so many pets that we see, as once applied, they are designed to stay on as the nail grows and are replaced at 4-6 weeks, when worn or next nail trim.
Jai Jai poses with his new snazzy grips
Dr Buzby’s Toe grips are little rubber rings which are applied to the pet’s nail. By donning it on the nails with a slight angle, the rubber part will be in contact with the floor instead of the nail and provide much more friction. It will also leave the paw pad uncovered so your dog can continue it use the paw pads as designed for feeling and sweating. Toe grips come in a wide range of sizes for doggies as small as a chihuahua to as big as a Great Dane. The colours are specific sizes so while red is often a popular request (!), they look awesome in yellow, blue, green, purple, orange and navy!
Toe grips are available from Paws in Motion and we are always happy to help with size advice if you contact us, or you can watch the videos on our product page to help you decide. Some doggies might need a combination of sizes if the outside toenails are bigger than the middle toes (common in larger dogs).
So next time you see a dog walking down the street with swanky coloured nails, while we can’t always be sure someone didn't give thier pet a manicure.…. Most likely it’s the grippy toe grips. And you now know how lucky that dog is to have these cute little rings to help them walk more easily (and maybe they got a mani-pedi at the same time too)!!