With the exception of ToeGrips, the products on the market which address traction-related mobility issues for dogs have one claim to fame—adding friction to the dog’s paws or pads. It seems logical that adding “paw friction” should reduce slipping, and to some extent, it does. But here’s the thing: for dogs, this is “Plan B”, not “Plan A”.
“Plan A”—inherent to the very design of the paw—is to engage the toenails.
As a veterinarian with an odd passion for dog feet, here’s what I know to be true: dogs are hard-wired to use their nails as their primary traction mechanism. Outdoors, toenails function like cleats, digging into the earth for grip. (When was the last time you saw a dog slipping around while playing on dirt or grass? I rest my case.)
On their natural terrain, dogs have the right equipment and they know how to use it!
When feeling secure, dogs rely on default paw friction to walk. However, when dogs start to slip, their natural reflex is to engage their nails, as their “go to” mechanism for traction.
We even see this in dogs who are standing still. Have you ever seen a dog in a vet hospital reception area frozen in fear? One hallmark of that posture is the dog standing on his “tippy toes”. Why? Dogs are hard-wired to “dig” their nails into the ground for traction.
We also see dogs “engage their nails” and “dig in” when trying to rise from slick floors. This is another key place where ToeGrips play the role of hero!
Take a look at the online and catalog options for dog traction products. These products seek to increase paw friction with the ground—socks, boots, booties, pad stickies, pad balm, even glue-on rubber for the paw pads! The inherent problem with these products is that they solve the problem as if dogs were humans in need of sneakers.
However, the problem isn’t with the dog, but rather, the environment.
Painted concrete, Brazilian cherry, travertine, and laminate are not natural surfaces for a dog to live on. While we, the human race, now enjoy better living through modern conveniences, we’ve actually made our dogs’ lives a little harder.
Am I suggesting that we move our families into lean-tos in the woods? As much as my sons would love that, I am not. What I am suggesting is that we understand the root issue and help dogs adapt in a way that supports their natural instincts and abilities. Until dogs evolve to possess grippy toes like tree frogs, I recommend ToeGrips.
Hard nails can’t grip hard floors, but the nonslip, custom-engineered material that ToeGrips are made from restores the nails’ natural gripping power. By helping dogs function naturally, they get the traction they need!