How to Help Your Senior Pet’s Mobility in the Winter January 16, 2019

Are you worried about your senior dog slipping on the ice this winter and keeping him from getting the movement and enrichment that walks provide?

Here are some helpful products and tips that can help your mobility challenged pet be safer on slippery surfaces such as ice and snow-covered stairs:

  • Traction booties– found in pet stores or on Amazon
  • Harnesses and slings
  • Folded bath towels- looped just in front of their hind legs
  • Reusable grocery bag- with sides cut out (keeping the handles) under their belly
  • Padded sling with leash from or
  • Help ‘Em Up Harness or 720-237-6852
  • Toe nail caps
  • Buzby’s ToeGrips or 843-694-4468
  • Soft Claws Nail Caps for Dogs
  • Paw Pads Self Adhesive Traction Pads

Snow walks:

Try to let your pet walk on a couple inches of snow versus the slick sidewalk.  This also helps them from the exposure of ice melting chemicals. Watch where you are going to avoid icier areas. Remember to wipe off their feet when you are done with your walk to remove any melting chemicals that can cause burns or are toxic when licked.

Between the toes and trim the nails:

Make sure the hair between their toes isn’t so long it accumulates ice balls which are painful and result in poor traction.  Completely clipping out the hair may result in a loss of insulation to the cold.  Find that happy medium with your dog’s individual tolerance to the cold and its hair coat.

Also, Feet with regularly trimmed nails have better traction than overly long nails.

Take your time:

Don’t rush the walk because you haven’t dressed properly.  Dress warm so your pet can take their time navigating the terrain and for their comfort level.  You may just want to keep distances a little shorter to accommodate for time spent outside if they are going to walk slower.

Be their support:

If it looks like your pooch may slip, don’t tug on the leash to try to correct their balance.  Instead, gently move your leg towards them and they may be able to use it to brace against.  Helpful hint: Try not to fall on your dog in the process.

Add a little adventure:

Many older dogs just love being outside and need it for their mental health.  Even if conditions aren’t great for a walk around the neighborhood, or your pet now struggles getting around the block, accompanying them out on the porch or taking a brief walk down your driveway can be enough to enrich and add adventure to their day.

Written by:

Megan Coveyou, Caring Pathways Veterinarian