Dogs can be seriously injured indoors on smooth flooring. Here are the pitfalls of those ‘mirror finish’ flooring for dogs and why you ought to avoid them.
How many times have you seen your pooch chase something around your polished living room floor, slip and crash into a wall? Dogs can be seriously injured indoors on smooth flooring.
Floors with highly polished surfaces can be disastrous for canines. They can result in a lot of broken bones and contusions. Stairs are especially problematic. Playtime can turn dangerous and dogs can hit their chins on floor, resulting in pain and loss of teeth. It also affects them psychologically and dogs grow tearful of all smooth flooring and limit their movements and confine themselves to one part of the house, leading to problems of muscle atrophy and hip issues. Soft tissue injuries can occur in puppies,
because their muscles and ligaments have not finished developing. Not taking precautions in young dogs can cause joint strain over time.
Are any particular types of dogs vulnerable?
Special needs dogs like those who use carts for mobility, senior dogs, dogs with orthopaedic issues like canine hip dysplasia (CHD) and osteoarthritis, vision-impaired dogs, and large and giant breed dogs are all vulnerable to injury due to slippery flooring. Smooth floors can be both dangerous and uncomfortable for dogs who are sick and weak, and difficult for dogs who are vision impaired. Also, Chondrodystrophic breeds like Dachshunds and Pekingese may end up with slipped discs after a fall.
Anticipating a fall, a dog will often compound the problem by tensing his muscles and trying to grip the floor with his toenails, reducing traction and making himself even less surefooted. The repeated stress on the hips can lead to aggravation of osteoarthritis and atrophy of hind limb musculature and stress on abnormal hips of dogs with CHD.
Ideal flooring for pooches…
Careful consideration is required when it comes to household flooring. Smooth laminates and stone like marble are extremely dangerous and should be avoided. Textured laminates, textured granite flooring, bamboo flooring and vinyl flooring are all excellent options.
Textured laminates and granite are both hardy, scratch resistant and do not stain with doggie spills. They are also very easy to clean and are hygienic. The only disadvantage is that it often becomes cold and uncomfortable for dogs to lie down on in the winter months. This is easily remedied by providing them with beds or rugs to lie on.
Bamboo flooring is of late becoming very popular. It is a more eco-friendly option. In toughness and scratch resistance, it rivals stone and laminates. It is naturally textured and offers great support to animals while walking. It is a much cheaper option than certain laminated and stone tile flooring. They remain warm in winter and are reasonably comfortable to lie down on.
Besides, vinyl flooring, while expensive, is an excellent option. It is low in allergens, easy to clean and does not stain with dog urine. Due to its slightly rubbery and textured surface, not only does it offer excellent grip, but also muffles the constant pitter patter of little feet. It is also warm during cold weather.
Ways to manage a polished surface…
- Play with your dog out in the park instead of inside the house.
- Using rubber backed rugs and yoga mats, create a walkway for your dog across the floor from room to room.
- Mop any spilled liquid immediately.
- Place carpet strips on the stairs.
- Keep your dog’s claws trimmed neatly. Excess fur that grows out from the footpad of the dogs must also be trimmed off.
- If your dogs will tolerate them, get Doggie – booties or Non Slip socks.
- They come in a variety of colours and sizes and provide traction on smooth or wet surfaces.
- Use Paw Pad conditioner to keep pads supple and help grip better.
- Place a rug where they land after jumping off furniture. Anchor the rug under the legs of the sofa or bed so it does not slip as well when the dog jumps onto it. Alternatively, train your dog to use an Ottoman to get off the couch.
Happy and safe pet parenting!
(Dr Kadambari Venkatraman is a self confessed cynophiliac. She shares her home with two dogs and a number of other transient boarders she fosters. She has a Masters in Veterinary Surgery and Radiology and currently works with Animal Care Clinic in Hyderabad as a Consultant Veterinary Surgeon).