Losing your traction on a slippery surface is a scary feeling, and dogs feel the same way too. Whether your canine buddy has fallen before or just doesn’t like the feel of the floor, there are several things you can do to help him walk on a slippery floor.
Train your dog to step on slippery floors by getting him used to them a couple of paws at a time. Start out by feeding him on carpeting or an area rug near the slippery floor. After a few days, set the dish on the slippery floor at the edge near the carpet so your dog still has all four paws on the carpet. Once he is comfortable at this location, move the dish just enough that he need only put his front two paws on the slippery floor to eat. Slowly move the dish farther each day until all four paws are on the slippery floor.
Once your dog is eating with all four paws on the slippery floor, train him to walk across the floor with confidence and comfort by walking him on a leash with a treat in your hand at his eye level. Never force your dog across the floor and remember to always be patient. Walk slowly and talk in a calm, reassuring voice to allay your dog’s fear. You can also practice this with one of your dog’s favorite toys instead of a treat.
If training doesn’t help with your dog’s comfort level on slippery floors or if your dog is unable to walk on them because of health or age-related issues, dog boots or socks are another option. Several companies make boots and socks designed to give dogs a better grip. Boots are commonly made of thick nylon or neoprene and can be worn indoors and out. Socks are lightweight, made of cotton and elastic, and have non-slip rubberized soles. Many dogs prefer the thin, lightweight aspect of socks; however, socks are not designed to be worn outdoors. Both boots and socks can be worn on all four paws or on the front or rear paws only; it depends on your dog’s needs and preferences. Dog boots and socks are available online and at most pet stores.
When other efforts fail, you can help your dog walk on slippery floors by covering the “slippery” on the floor. A simple and inexpensive way to do this by placing rugs in the areas that your dog walks. Use rugs with a rubber backing or place non-slip mats under the rugs. There are also several non-skid floor coatings and tapes you can apply to your floors. These are available for several types of flooring and can be applied to the whole floor or just the high-traffic areas. Coatings and tapes are available online and at major hardware stores.
If you have any uncertainties about the reason for your dog’s difficulties with slippery floors, have him examined by a veterinarian. A veterinarian will give your dog a full exam to make sure he does not have any injuries or illnesses which you are unaware of that could be causing the problem.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Laura Payne has been freelance writing for several online publications in her free time since 2006. She holds a Master of Arts in linguistics from Wayne State University and a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Oakland University. Payne teaches linguistics classes at both universities on an adjunct basis.