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Infinite Pawsibilities

  • Writer's pictureCharles Pennefather

Why you need to pay attention to your flooring

We love bright, smooth floors because they contribute to an airy, happy space in our houses. They also give a premium air to our living space, and it brings us happiness. While your dog has no real colour preference, the grip it gets from your flooring can become a big factor in its health, especially as age advances.

If you own a breed that is small and athletic, this article isn’t for you. However, if you own a breed that isn’t known for its athleticism, or if the breed is known to commonly have hip dysplasia, this is extremely important for you. Flooring like smooth tiles or marble don’t give the dog any grip, and this puts pressure on their joints. Imagine you walking on a slippery road – it will take a lot of energy out of you to keep your balance, right? It’s the same with your dog. And if your dog get overweight or has hip dysplasia, you’re going to put that extra pressure on joints that can do without it.

If you have a breed prone to getting overweight, like a Labrador Retriever, or a breed that commonly has hip dysplasia, like a German Shepherd, keep an eye on them as they get up off the floor, when they sit, and when they stand. If you see their paws slipping, it’s time to think about options.

Option 1:  booties.

                You could make your dog wear booties that have grip – you’ve probably seen the funny videos that people have put up on the Internet when they try to make their dogs wear them for walking in the snow. The reason the dogs are so uncomfortable is that they get a lot of information from their paws and nails (they even have nerves in their nails, remember) which gets dampened when they wear those booties. It’s like listening to someone underwater; you probably won’t get the message. You will have to desensitise your dog to the boots, which will take effort, and you will have to make sure the boots are clean. I also don’t see how the boots can remain on the dog’s feet indefinitely, so I don’t feel like this is a great option except for walks.

Option 2: anti-skid mats

                You can get various forms of anti-skid mats. You’ve probably seen cushioned ones at your local judo dojo (if you haven’t, go take a class! It’s good for your health!) These mats have edges that interlock, so you can increase the covered area as per your requirements. However, it will be difficult to cover your entire house with mats like these.

Option 3: Linoleum

                This is what is locally called ‘carpeting’. It is like wallpaper, but for the floor. There are sheets that you glue to the floor and just like wallpaper, there are various colours and patterns to choose from, so you can have your floor look like marble or tiles, and still have grip more than either of those. Of course, if you have a puppy and it realises that the edges can be pulled up from the floor you’re going to have a problem, but given our conditions and limitations this seems to be the best compromise.


In closing, if you have a breed that usually turns out to have hip dysplasia or hip problems in general, please do not teach the dog the ‘sit’ command or ask it to sit a lot. We usually want focus and stillness from the dog with that command, which can also be achieved by the stop/wait or watch me commands – and those don’t put pressure on the dog’s hips!

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