Old Dog, Weak Legs
Now that we have an old dog in the house, we’ve realized that while hardwood and cement floors might look nice, they make it very difficult for an almost 12-year-old Labrador Retriever with weakening hind legs to stand up.
Dylan would never complain about our slick floors (or anything else), but we realized we needed to do something to give him some traction and allow him to stand up without his legs slipping out from under him.
One alternative would have been to lay down carpet in the house, but if I told you how much we spent ripping the nasty old carpet out of our house and refinishing our floors you’d understand why this was NOT a viable solution.
Another would be to try an item called Toe Grips, which are rubber rings you slip over a dog’s toenails to give them traction on slick surfaces. Unfortunately, Dylan can’t stand to have his feet touched by anyone, and that’s my fault.
When he was a puppy, I tried to cut his nails, but I cut into the quick of one of them. The subsequent pain and blood that caused convinced Dylan that anyone touching his paws was the worst thing he could possibly imagine, so it would have been tough to slip the rubber rings over his toes.
We ended up trying rubber “Puzzle Mats” on Amazon. Unfortunately they had a really strong chemical smell that didn’t dissipate after a couple of days, so we sent them back.
Yoga Mats Help Old Dogs Stay Upright
My wife Randy saw some Gaiam rubber yoga mats in a store and decided to give them a try.
And they worked!
Even though they’re thin, they grip the floor well. And they’re inexpensive.
These mats don’t have that nasty chemical smell, probably because they don’t have the 6 worst types of phthalates, a class of chemicals linked to breast cancer, birth defects, asthma, neurodevelopmental problems in newborns, fertility issues and obesity.
The mats we bought are 68″ x 24″ x 3mm so they cover a lot of ground. You can find these mats in stores like Target and Bed, Bath, and Beyond for about $20, but Amazon has a great selection, and its site makes it easy to find the mats that are 3mm thick.
Gaiam has thicker mats but they are more expensive. Don’t waste your money on them.
Having the Gaiam yoga mats around our house has really helped Dylan, and I think they’re one of the most cost effective ways to keep your older dog from sliding on hardwood or cement floors.