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Wellbeing and the Perils of Polished Floors for Dogs

Polished floors – an unnatural state for fur kids.

Beanie took a fall. A big fall. Happy little dog to be going on an outing, bounced into our friend's house and immediately ran the length of the (carpeted) hall, which ended in the living room on a highly polished wooden floor. Screams of pain. Beanie has hurt her back leg and she is not happy. Emergency (Sunday) visit to the vet for the pain.

I am very fortunate to have as a friend and colleague one of the best doggie physiotherapists around (Dogs in Motion) and I can trust her to work out what is wrong and decide the best course of action.

This isn’t a post about Beanie and her problems, it is meant to remind us all that polished floors are like ice to dogs paws, there is no grip, the very thing that makes dogs agile and fast on grass is what makes contact with polished surfaces so perilous. I have been heartbroken watching old dogs struggle and slip getting to their feet on a polished surface while the dog owner shrugs their shoulders, with a ‘what can I do, it’s the floor’ attitude. I know of homes where the dog is trained not to run inside, where it must control its natural exuberance and joyfulness to accommodate the floor. Wrong priority in my view.

Making your home dog friendly is not just easy, it’s the loving act that says you care about their place in the family, that their needs are important and valid and that their biological difference can and will be accommodated. Don’t wait for the scream or the struggle. Make it part of your mindset to have consideration.

Polished floors can be beautiful, but they are cold and hard and unforgiving. They are at their best, in my view, as the surround to a beautiful rug, or runners allowing plenty of area for the dog and their human to lie on the floor and luxuriate in the softness of a beautiful carpet. And of course, if the house has runners and ample rugs the dog can find traction and security in traversing the home. It’s fundamental security, to feel safe.

A dog is never a design feature and home beautiful is not the deepest priority we can have. Take a look around and see if you can make a difference to your dog’s wellbeing in the simple act of non-slippery floors and walkways.



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