What is the Best Flooring for my dog? There is an information overload out there. A new ‘must have’ product for your dog launches almost every week!
Where do you begin?
Even experienced dog families are left scratching their heads!
Imagine for a moment walking on a soapy, slippery floor for hours at a time. What does your body do to adjust? You may adjust your style of walking or moving to keep from slipping. To do this you may tense your muscles, scrunch your toes or unevenly distribute your weight. These actions keep you from falling or slipping. But what are the long term effects on your body?
What is the best flooring for dogs?
The best surfaces for your dog are mud, sand, earth which means the out doors. City pets do not have access to walk, run and play on natural surfaces. City dogs have limited access to dog parks or nature walks and a majority of their time is spent indoors. We expect our kittens and puppies them to fit into social and physical surroundings of our choosing. With their have limited access to natural surfaces it’s our job to make things easier on our pets paws!
The surface your pup walks, runs and plays on determines how healthy feet and hips mature.
Especially for ‘fad breeds’ like French bulldogs. A tiled floor offers no traction or resistance. In addition, to the level of respiratory distress your brachy dog may experience- the is additional stress on developing bones and joints-walking on tile is a burden they do not need.
Dogs are walking, more like – slipping on tile or smooth surfaces. These are unnatural surfaces for paw pads. Your dogs nails and paws are a vital part of their walking mechanism. Keep them trimmed to make it easier on their gait. Over grown nails are painful and hinder a dogs ability to grip a surface.
4 Easy tips for healthy paws
1. Clean your dogs paws after a walk on muddy, sandy or slushy roads. A quick daily check for ticks hiding in between paws can save you time and your dog from a potential illness.
2. Protect their paws in extreme heat or cold you may use socks, booties or a paw covering comfortable for your dog. (Dogs do not need ‘shoes’ it is the circumstances they live in that warrant shoes/ paw coverings)
3. Check paws for cracks or injuries if you notice your dog limp (or any change in gait) Basic paw hygiene is essential, especially on city streets!
4. Walk early mornings and late evenings during summer months – it does not matter where you live. Pavement and road surfaces heat up quickly and retain heat. A darker road or sidewalk (tar or asphalt) retains more heat than lighter ones- apply basic rules of science to protect your pups paws.
Paw placement and gait- in plain English -how a dogs paw should fall on the ground. Keeping them grounded while reducing stress on their joints and muscles. This is how your dog’s paws should be firmly planted on a surface.
A healthy dog or pup depends broadly on these four factors breeding, exercise, nutrition & movement (surfaces play a big role). Canines are digitigrade which means they walk on their toes 1. It means in an ideal situation is when a dog grips the floor (as we saw earlier, nails play a role). However, on a smooth surface that is difficult or near impossible. Therefore, the next best thing is to experiment with different surfaces.
Puppies are running and jumping machines!
They race around the house skidding and sliding and amusing us. But while it looks like they are having fun, great damage may done to joint and growing bones. In addition, to nutrition and exercise, surfaces can have an impact on bone health and future problems. Joint diseases or osteoarthritis cannot be solely blamed on a surface, but it may be a contributing factor.
The advantages for your dog walking on earth include little or no nail clipping! Ask your friends and family with farm or outdoor dogs. They probably never trim their dogs nails! Nails are filed as they run and walk on natural surfaces.
Should I change my flooring to suit my dog?
For many of us, this is not a practical solution. The time as well as costs that are involved may make this prohibitive. For families who live in rented homes or apartments, it is quite unlikely your land lord will be happy for you to rip up their flooring for your dog! The solutions and suggestions we’ve listed are easy to do cost effective ways to help your puppy or senior dog.
Growing pups are forced to walk, trot or run on slick surfaces such as tile or marble floors. The resultant strain on their hips and joints causing havoc. For ill bred (think backyard breeder) puppies this is an even greater risk.
A pups bones like all “growing children” are sensitive to strains and over use. If your pup is constantly jumping on and off beds and couches, onto slippery floors you could see bone and joint problems before they reach adulthood. The added strain causes havoc on their joints.
Granite, marble and tile are common easy to maintain floorings. They are cost effective and durable from a human view point. However, these surfaces cause problems to our canine friends and the development of their hips and skeletal muscles.
Senior dogs as you see here are at greater risk from slipping (the granite was wet which makes it even more slippery). But we should not assume that growing dogs are not at risk or will never slip.
4 Easy to implement (DIY) ‘traction’ in your home
1. Rubber matting, or interlocking rubber tiles. Yoga Mats are great easy to carry and move surfaces which help your senior dog or puppy.
2. Cork may be an option you want to investigate. If it is available cork is an easier surface for your dog to walk on.
3. Carpets can provide a better walking surface, however, are not the easiest to keep clean (especially for puppies or senior dogs). Accidents are inevitable and keeping a carpet clean and infection free in a hot humid climate is near impossible.
4. Toe grips are available from a number of sources. A toe grip essentially helps your dog grip the floor when they walk. The rubber device is fixed on your dogs nail to help them achieve a grip on the floor.
There is no one solution, if you’d like to read further go through the references below.
How does the Canine Paw Pad attenuate ground impacts?
Miao H, Fu J, Qian Z, Ren L, Ren L. How does the canine paw pad attenuate ground impacts? A multi-layer cushion system. Biol Open. 2017;6(12):1889-1896. Published 2017 Dec 15. doi:10.1242/bio.024828Download
1 Nechiporuk Y, Novak V, Melnychenko A, Bevz O, Dudka V. Micromorphology and topography of tarsal joint capsule’s vascular elements in cats and dogs. Anat Histol Embryol. 2020;49(6):830-835. doi:10.1111/ahe.12589
Yoga Mat Photo Credit : Mikhail Nilov