Best Practices for Moisturizing Your Dog’s Skin

There are a number of causes for dry skin in dogs, such as bacterial, parasitic, or yeast infections, metabolic or hormone imbalances, allergies, poor grooming, under bathing or overbathing, and environmental conditions– dry winter, or hot summer with low humidity.

One thing is for sure: dry skin in dogs is common, just like it is for humans.

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A dog with dry skin can often be observed obsessively scratching, licking, or chewing their skin. Our solution to dry human skin is to simply slap some moisturizer on our dry hairless skin. But for most dogs, that’s not a practical solution because of their fur.

So when your dog’s skin is dry and needs extra help beyond your dog’s efforts in grooming, what do you do? We have some solutions for keeping your dog’s skin conditioned.

Things to Consider Before Moisturizing

The first thing you should do once you’ve noticed your dog needs some assistance with their dry skin is to determine the cause of the dry skin. Because while treating the dry skin will help your dog stay healthy and comfortable, there may be a deeper cause to the dry skin that should also be addressed.

Additionally, not everything that’s safe to use on our human skin is also safe for your dog. Whether it’s a shampoo, conditioner, lotion, or essential oil, always check before putting a new product on your pet to ensure it’s non-toxic to dogs. If you’re not sure whether it’s safe, test moisturizing products on your dog’s skin before applying it all over their body to prevent bad reactions.

Moisturizing Tips

●     Brush Regularly
Your dog has natural oils in their fur that helps moisturize their skin. Regularly brushing your dog’s hair helps remove debris and keep the fur from tangling or matting.

●     Massage Your Dog
Just like in human bodies, massaging dogs can help with skin health. Massage increases blood flow to the skin, which brings nutrients to skin tissues.

●     Bathe Regularly
Not bathing your dog enough leads to the buildup of dirt and oils leading to dry skin, but over bathing also leads to dry skin through the stripping of your dog’s natural body oils. Bathe your dog no less than once a month and no more than twice a week.

●     Use Moisturizing Bath Products
Use moisturizing shampoos and conditioners that are safe for your dog. Do not use human bath products. Adding dog-safe essential oils is also a good option, and applying natural moisturizers like coconut oil or olive oil to your dog’s skin– including nose and paws –is great for moisturization.

●     Air Dry
Pat your dog’s fur dry with a towel, then allow it to air dry in a warm location or using fans. Using a blow dryer will only make dry skin drier.

Conclusion

Don’t forget that your dog has skin too and that just because it’s covered in fur doesn’t mean it’s not susceptible to dryness. Dogs in colder climates are especially susceptible to dry skin like we are, and it’s important to regularly groom your dog to make sure their skin is moisturized. Many natural products are available to moisturize your dog and keep everything from their nose to their paw pads healthily conditioned.

For more information about keeping your dog’s skin healthy, look at the pet safe products by PawFriction.

Dangerous Household Items for your Dogs

Many of us keep common cleaning and disinfectant products in our homes that are not safe for our pets– and really not all that safe for us either. We at PawFriction care about keeping pets safe and improving their quality of life, so we want to empower pet owners with the knowledge that can save their pet’s life.

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The following are some dangerous household items to avoid using in your home to keep your dogs.

1. Ammonia

Ammonia is often used in de-greasers for kitchen appliances such as ovens, stoves, glass, and stainless steel. The vapors from ammonia burn mucous membranes and can agitate asthma symptoms. When ammonia is mixed with bleach, it creates a poisonous gas which is particularly deadly to small pets.

2. Formaldehyde

The first thing that comes to mind in relation to formaldehyde is a funeral home and perhaps the familiar pungent stench from dissection in 9th-grade science class. But it’s also used in certain soaps and event some pet shampoos. This makes these products carcinogenic and can contribute to asthma.

3. Chlorine

Chlorine is in many household disinfectants such as toilet bowl cleaners and dish detergents. It’s even used to bleach coffee filters. But perhaps the most likely encounter your dog would have with chlorine is in swimming pools–– so be careful about letting your pet swim in the pool. Chlorine can cause dizziness, vomiting, and laryngeal edema.

4. Glycol Ethers

Many glass cleaners (like Windex), carpet cleaners, and spot removers contain glycol ethes–– which is toxic to pets. Glycol ethers has been linked to lung issues, kidney issues, and anemia in both pets and people. Try to especially avoid using carpet cleaners and spot cleaners that have glycol ethers or to at least take measures to protect your pet from walking on spots containing the cleaner.

5. Floor Cleaners

Floor cleaners like Pine-Sol and Mr. Clean can leave toxic residue and also have strong dangerous vapors that linger. We recommend non-toxic pet-safe cleaners, such as Eco-Me Natural Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner.

6. Bathroom Cleaners

Certain bathroom cleaners are toxic–– like Clorox Bathroom Cleaner and Scrubbing Bubbles. This can be dangerous for dogs who like to drink out of the toilet. Use an alternative product like Ecover Bathroom Cleaner.

7. All-Purpose Cleaners

We all love all-purpose cleaners, but some of the common ones are pretty toxic–– like Formula 409 and Mr. Clean Multi-Purpose Spray. The sprays have fumes and residues that can linger. We recommend alternatives such as Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner.

8. Drain Openers

Just because this product is poured down the drain doesn’t mean it can’t be harmful to you or your pet. Those toxic drain openers can give off dangerous vapors that linger in your drain long after you’ve used them. We recommend a non-toxic option like Earth Friendly Enzymes Drain Opener.

Conclusion

The truth is that a lot of what we commonly use to clean and disinfect at home can be dangerous to our pets. Be sure to do your research if you have any doubts about the safety of the products you use.

Have questions or need solutions to keeping your dog’s paws safe, reach out to PawFriction.

How Can I Get My Older Dog Up the Stairs Safely?

Aging dogs are like aging humans– they begin to have mobility problems. The movement that was once effortless for an old dog can be challenging and much more labor intensive. These issues with older dogs often manifest as stumbles, unsteadiness, and hesitance. One of the most common issues in senior dogs, however, is moving upstairs.

Though it may be distressing to witness your dog seeming too stiff or too weak to climb stairs, there are solutions to this mobility issue that improve your aging dog’s quality of life.

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Why Older Dogs Can Struggle With Steps

As you can imagine, dogs rely a great deal on their back legs to be able to navigate stairs. Weakness in the hindquarters of your pet makes it much more difficult for them to get adequate power to propel them upwards. If your dog feels they don’t have enough strength in their back end, they may balk or refuse the stairs entirely.

Additionally, movement down steps can also be challenging for older dogs. Dogs that struggle with balance issues can be especially nervous about heading downstairs because they know they can take a tumble head first if they lose their balance and fall.

The best way to combat weakness in your dog’s hindquarters is by taking active steps to strengthen their back end.

Suggestions for Strengthening the Hindquarters

Taking the right steps to help your dog regain strength in their back end is largely dependent on the cause of the weakness. A dog whose hindquarters are affected by medication might need something different than a dog whose hindquarters have simply been weakened with age.

If medication is the cause of weakness, talk to your vet about whether it’s possible to try an alternate drug or at least decrease the dosage. Otherwise, your dog’s condition is worth considering some canine physiotherapy. A pet physiotherapist may have your dog do strengthening exercises in-office or show you some exercises that can be done at home.

With aging, it’s important to note that weakness in the hindquarters may not completely go away despite efforts to strengthen them. That’s why you as a senior dog owner should consider making supplemental adjustments around the home to improve your dog’s mobility and quality of life.

At-Home Adjustments for Your Dog

At some point, you may have to accept that your dog is no longer able to manage stairs. You could opt to carry your dog up and down stairs, or even lift them into and out of your car, but these solutions are cumbersome– for the both of you.

Here are some reasonable adjustments to make around your home to make movement easier for your dog:

●     Put food and water bowls, beds, toys, etc. all on the same level of your home to keep stair usage to a minimum.

●     Cover stairs in carpeting. Sometimes simply covering the surfaces in your house with more traction can greatly help your dog’s mobility. Minimize slipping by covering not just your steps but all slippery surfaces in your home that your dog walks on.

●     Get a ramp or ramps to assist with movement to elevated levels. A gentle incline is easier for elderly dogs to move on than a staircase. Ramps can be handy for getting in and out of a vehicle, moving up steps, or even getting onto a bed or couch. Anti-slip ramps are ideal.

●     Consider a mobility harness to help steady your larger dog when they need it. This tool allows you to lend strength to your dog’s hindquarters when they lose balance and need help, especially when climbing stairs or ramps.

●     Get PawFriction to prevent your dog from sliding. Designed by a veterinarian, PawFriction enhances your dog’s downward leg force by preventing lateral slipping and splay-legging increasing mobility and confidence. By applying the safe glue and rubber granules, your pet can immediately experience improved mobility– particularly senior dogs and dogs with special needs.

Conclusion

Don’t let your dog’s compromised mobility threaten their quality of life. Take action to both strengthen your dog’s hindquarters and make adjustments around the home to improve their ease of movement.

For more questions about getting your dog up the stairs or navigating your home safely, contact PawFriction.

My Dog’s Paw May Be Infected, How Can I Tell?

Your dog’s paws aren’t typically on your mind until they start limping or favoring some legs over others. If your dog shows signs of a paw injury, this doesn’t necessarily mean they have an infection but it’s important to know how to recognize an infection.

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Paw infections can be especially challenging to treat because it’s hard to keep your dog from using their paws, and this can prevent infections from healing.

In this article, we’ll review the causes, symptoms, and tips for treating an infected dog paw.

Causes of Paw Infections

Like any other kind of infection, paw infections are preceded by the entrance of bacteria’s, viruses, fungi, or other foreign bodies into the tissue of the paw through an injury. Whether the paw injury is a tiny puncture from a thorn or a sore from walking on a hot surface, there’s always an opportunity for an infection to take hold no matter the size of the injury.

It’s important to note that infections can also be caused by less obvious things– like allergies. If your dog’s allergies cause them to constantly lick their paws, they can wear down the tissue and cause sore spots that are vulnerable to infection. The same can happen from complications due to flea infestations.

Breeds of dogs with less padding on their paws or slimmer limbs– such as the Greyhounds –are more likely to develop paw problems than others. And dogs with compromised immune systems or other health conditions and medications affecting immune systems are also more susceptible.

Symptoms of Paw Infections

It’s wise to get in the habit of checking your dog’s paws. When you’re checking, be sure to check for these symptoms of paw infections:

●     General swelling across the paw or on one of the toes

●     An obvious injury– puncture, graze, cut, gash, etc.

●     Limping

●     Puss or discharge oozing from the paw

●     A foul smell coming from the paw

●     Itching/skin irritation on the paw

●     Obsessive licking or biting of the paw

●     Reluctance to walk on the affected paw

●     Reluctance to let you examine the paw

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you notice the above symptoms in your dog, you should allow your vet to give them a physical examination. They will be able to identify whether your dog’s paw is affected by an infection versus other possible problems. This is typically determined by taking a skin scraping of the infected tissue for analyzation. Your vet may also want to run blood tests and/or x-rays depending on the suspected severity.

Different culprits of infection– bacteria, virus, fungus –require different treatments, and the severity and duration of the infection will also determine the treatment plan.

Bacterial infections are typically treated with antibiotics, pain killers, and sometimes anti-inflammatory medications. These infections also require the paw to be thoroughly cleaned and bandaged, which you may have to repeat daily until the infection has had time to heal.

The better wrapped an infected paw is, the better–  because you’re also trying to prevent your pet from licking, biting, or walking on the wound. Your dog may also need to wear a cone collar to prevent them from disturbing the bandage.

Conclusion

With the proper treatment and care, paw infections can generally be healed without a problem. But don’t write them off as something that doesn’t require your attention to be resolved because they can cause your dog a lot of pain and also lead to more severe problems.

For more information about paw injuries and a product that reinforces your dog’s paw pad strength, check out PawFriction

How Can I Keep My Dog’s Paws Healthy?

Dogs use their paws like humans use their feet. Because of this, it’s important that your dog’s paws are taken care of especially as they age.

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The pads of the paw are soft and cushion-like. This is to help protect your dog’s bones and joints from shock, and also to protect during extreme conditions and rough terrain. But like the bottoms of human feet, paw pads are not built to withstand everything they come into contact with and deteriorate with age.

So that your dog can maintain optimum mobility and confidence regardless of age or any special needs they may have, it’s imperative to care for your dog’s paw pads.

Here we offer some tips to keep your dog’s paws healthy:

1. Keep Nails Trimmed

Trimmed nails on your dog’s paws help them stay clean and walk comfortably. If you can hear the nails clicking on hard surfaces when your dog walks, it’s time for a trim. Many dog owners find the task of trimming their dog’s nails difficult or overwhelming, and in this case, it’s best to take your dog to a vet or a groomer.

2. Keep Hair on Paws Short

Grooming the hair on your dog’s paws prevents matting. It’s especially important to trim the hair between the paw pads so your dog doesn’t slip on its own fur. Ideally, the hair should be cut even with the paw pads.

3. Moisturize Paw Pads

Just like human hands and feet, paw pads can get dry and cracked– especially in the winter. But it’s not a good idea to use human lotions on dogs, so we advise you to speak to your vet about the best paw moisturizer.

4. Paw Massages

Even our pets get tension! A good way to care for your dog’s paws is to give them a little rub. The sweet massage spots on dog paws are between the toes and right on the paw pads. A quick paw massage every once and a while will get the blood flowing in your dog’s paws.

5. Keep an Eye Out for Foreign Objects

It’s easy for small objects to get lodged in your pet’s paw pads. Be aware when your dog is trying to stay off a certain paw or when they appear distressed that there could likely be something stuck in their paw. Splinters, broken glass, pebbles, or other small objects are common culprits.

6. Take Care of Cuts

Whether from a foreign object, a misstep, or something else, sometimes dogs end up with cuts or scrapes on their paws. If the cut that is smaller than a half inch, you can take care of it at home with antibiotic wash and a loose bandage. Consult your vet if the cut is larger than a half inch.

7. Avoid Summer Paw Pad Burns

Walking on hot pavement or sand in the summertime can cause the paw pads to burn. Try to avoid these surfaces, but if your pet does burn its paw, you can treat it the same way as a cut.

8. Avoid Winter Ice Melting Chemicals

While cold weather can dry out and crack your dog’s paws, a more serious risk is the chemicals we use to melt ice. These chemicals can be toxic if your pet ends up with some on its paws then licks the paws. Avoid this situation by washing your dog’s paws with warm water after coming in from outside when salt or chemicals have been used recently. Or you can coat the paw pads in Vaseline prior to going outside.

9. Use PawFriction If Your Pet Needs Extra Traction

For senior pets and dogs with special needs, PawFriction is a great option for helping them regain necessary paw pad traction. The application is simple, safe, and helps your dog stay healthy and confident!

Shop PawFriction now to learn more about getting your dog back to the paw traction he or she needs.

Are Dog Boots Necessary?

The short answer: No.

When most people think of dog boots, they think of a pampered pooch who is doted with a luxurious life by its owner. While much of the footwear for dogs out there is created simply for the delight of the owner and not any real purpose for the pet, there are dog boots out there that have a real practical purpose for the dog.


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Many of these dog boot companies will try to sell you on the idea that dog boots aren’t a luxury but an actual necessity for your dog. But that’s simply not true. Not all dogs have a need for footwear. After all, many dogs already have plenty of paw padding and strength in their legs to live comfortably on their own four feet.

Therefore, we at PawFriction say that not all dogs need boots– and you shouldn’t believe a dog boot company that tries to tell you any different.

However, that begs the question: what are the practical reasons to consider boots for your dog?

Why a Dog Might Benefit from Boots

As a pet owner, one of your highest priorities is your pet’s quality of life. Both your environment and aging of your pet can affect what’s happening on the bottom of your pooch’s paws.

Consider the activities your dog does and the surface he or she does those activities on. Here are some potential problems that can lead to dog boots as a solution:

●     Your dog walks and runs a lot

●     Your dog frequently walks over rough surfaces like gravel or rocks

●     Your dog has a paw injury

●     Your dog has a skin condition that causes a lot of scratching

●     You live where there are snowy or icy winters and salt or other chemicals are used on walkways, so your dog’s foot pads can get irritated, dried, cracked, and even bleed.

●     Your dog walks on hot pavement

Dogs’ feet are tough, but extreme temperatures, rough surfaces, and toxic substances can cause them harm. Injury from these conditions can cause sensitivity on the pads of your dog’s paws, and gently pressing on the pads can reveal if your dog may be suffering.

The following are red flags that your dog is in pain on the pads of their feet:

●     Redness

●     Blisters

●     Burns

●     Swelling

●     Cracks/cuts

●     Seeds, burrs, splinters, or stingers stuck between the pads

When your dog is experiencing any of the above conditions, it’s worth considering a set of dog boots to keep them comfortable while they recover. However, there are more serious conditions that aren’t as easy to observe in your dog, and these are the more serious reasons to consider getting something to aid with the friction between your dog's paws and the surfaces they walk on.

How Paw Pads Can Help

It’s true of any mammal: without use, muscles lose their tone and flexibility– which leads to atrophy over time. When dogs experience orthopedic, neurological, or degenerative diseases, the strength of their muscles are compromised and this can seriously impact your dog’s ability to move.

Without the strength of their muscles, a dog cannot get friction with their paws on any surface. When there’s no friction, there’s no mobility. PawFriction enhances dogs’ downward leg force by preventing lateral slipping and splay-legging, increasing mobility and confidence in dogs.

These paw pads have conclusively proven to add traction to the canine foot and not the nails. There’s no better way to restore the mobility than to use the mechanism already in place. That’s why PawFriction uses rubber to restore mobility and effectively increase the friction that the paw pads have lost. It’s specifically aimed to counteract the splay-legged sliding of the back legs.

PawFriction is most effective for dogs with:

●     Arthritis and/or old age

●     Orthopedic issues like fractures, ACL injuries, or patella luxation

●     Neurologic conditions such as degenerative myelopathy, disc disease, lumbosacral instability, brain tumors, or Wobbler’s

●     Postoperative recovery from back surgery, knee surgery, or amputations

●     Confidence issues, as in a reluctance to walk on smooth/slippery floors

●     A need for rehabilitation and/or in physical therapy

Conclusion

Dog boots are not a necessity, however, paw pads can sincerely improve the mobility and confidence of a dog whose muscles are compromised by the aforementioned conditions. PawFriction is a paw pad made in mind for dogs that need support while dealing with weakened muscles. Check out PawFriction to change your dog’s life.

Why Does My Dog Not Want To Walk On Smooth Surfaces?

Some dogs just don’t like to walk on smooth surfaces - this could be the result of their temperament, depression, anxiety or a host of other reasons. If you see that your dog suddenly becomes afraid of walking on slippery surfaces then we suggest that you first make a trip to your vet so that they can help determine the root cause. Your dog’s behavior may well be the result of an undiagnosed orthopedic issue. Age may also be a large contributor to the fear of walking on hardwood floors, laminate or any other type of slick surface. As dogs age they lose their mobility, which ultimately can cause them to hesitate from walking on smooth surfaces as compared to when they were young and more confident. PawFriction is a great tool to help senior dogs, dogs with mobility issues (post-surgery) and those with anxiety and fear. PawFriction is very easy to apply and has proven time and time again that it can help your dog get back on their paws!

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General Care for your Senior Dog

It is a fact of life, all of us are getting older and that includes our pets. We all want our four-legged family members to live long and health lives so this blog will discuss a few general things that you can do to help your dog be healthy and happy for as long as possible.

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1. Diet: We have a lot of people ask us if you should switch to a senior diet. Senior pet foods typically have a bit more protein to keep muscle healthy and tend to have more fiber to keep your dog regular. Should you switch? Possibly, but the ultimate diet should be the one that keeps your dog happy and active.

2. Weight Management: This goes without saying but a thinner dog is a healthier dog. Keeping your dog in good weight is paramount for health and combating some of the common older dog issues like arthritis.

3. Mobility: Keep your dog mobile; even a little bit of exercise a day can help with weight management, emotional health, and keeping muscle mass intact.

4. Veterinary Visits: Just like us, as a dog ages, your veterinary visits should become a lot more frequent. We recommend at least twice a year visits and blood work at least one a year. As veterinarians, we are getting better at recognizing diseases and treating them but early detection is the key.

5. Vigilance: No one knows your dog better than you do. We can tell when our pets are a little off. Don’t ignore your intuition. If you think your senior dog is having an issue or a problem, I strongly encourage you to have your pet looked at by a professional veterinarian.

6. Support: With aging comes a myriad of normal problems: mobility issues, vision issues, hearing issues, cognitive issues, etc. Many of these conditions can be helped with simple, over-the counter products and supplements including PawFriction. I recommend that you speak with your vet if you have any of these issues and they can point you in the direction with products that should be able to help.

So, that is a brief overview of things that you can do to help you senior pet live a better life. Unfortunately, one thing none of us can change is genetics, and that plays a big role in the health of our senior pets. Fortunately, medicine and diets are improving all the time and we hope that the years ahead will create many new therapies that improve our ability to fight the problems of aging.   

Paw Pad Sweating in Dogs: Why Does it Happen?

One of the most common product questions we receive at PawFriction is “Dogs sweat through their paw pads to stay cool, doesn’t PawFriction stop their ability to sweat?” We are happy to answer that question because it clears up a massive misconception in the canine world, why dogs sweat through their paw pads. As a vet, when we started developing the product I believed the same thing about paw pads, that the sweating was for cooling purposes. Actually, in veterinary school, we were taught to place alcohol on the paw pads of overheated dogs to cool them down. Well, we know so much more now than we used to and much of the above has changed.

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From the boring side of things, let’s discuss the paw pad sweat physiology. Dogs absolutely sweat through their paw pads but they have a unique type of sweat gland called an eccrine sweat gland. Through a myriad of scientific testing, researchers have shown that these paw pad glands respond to fight of flight situations. This is why a dog’s paw pads sweat when they go into the veterinary clinic. But, why do they sweat then? Sweating of the paw pads causes them to soften which prepares the paw pad for running…it actually increases the friction of the paw pad, it has nothing to do with cooling the dog at all…crazy right? In our research, we have actually learned that critical care veterinarians no longer even recommend placing alcohol on the paw pads to cool off an overheated dog.

The next logical question to answer is: If sweating increases traction then why would we place something over the paw pad? The other thing that we have discovered is that the sweating of the paw pad actually disappears as a dog ages, it is one of the reasons we see such issues with older dogs sliding. Also, PawFriction doesn’t block the paw pad from being able to sweat; there is a large amount of space on the outside of the paw pads for sweating to still occur if used on a younger dog.

We hope this clears up any questions! If you are a podcast person, we strongly recommend this podcast that talks about everything thing above and more: https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/panting-perspiration-and-puddles/

As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions!

It's Summer, Keep Your Dog Protected!

Did you know that PawFriction has thermal dampening properties which can reduce risk of injury while dogs are walking? This is a great benefit of using PawFriction during the hot summer months!

Does your dog like to cool off at the pool or in the lake? PawFriction will generally not be affected by water if you allow for a full 12 hours between the application and exposure to water or a water treadmill. In the hot summer months we encourage you to help your dog stay cool and active as long as they have ample supervision when swimming.

Remember, dogs are ACTIVE and we need to help them burn off their energy which can be channeled into activities that keep them energetic and healthy. Exercise such as swimming also helps keep our furry best friends from being destructive out of boredom! Swimming is a great cardio workout for dogs. We can’t stress the importance of supervising your dog while swimming (or even taking a “swim” in the bathtub).        

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"Why is PawFriction so expensive?"

At a recent industry event, we were asked, “Why is PawFriction so expensive?” We can certainly understand this concern, but the answer is summarized here.

Keep in mind that PawFriction is sourced and manufactured in the United States. Rather than saving money on using labor services sourced overseas, we employ a sheltered adult workshop to assemble the PawFriction kit and all components within the kit.

In addition, our adhesive is a specific Medical Grade cyanoacrylate and the rubber granules are certified virgin rubber (which means that it never consists of heavy metal laden found in reclaimed tires).  Please keep in mind that we simply don’t cut corners - your pet’s health and safety is our number one priority! 

Each kit is designed to last anywhere from 6 to 16 weeks, depending on the size of the dogs paw pads and other factors that may cause it to wear off.  We anticipate that the adhesive and granules will need to be reapplied weekly.

Do you have a story to share? If so, please email it to us at info@pawtology.com.

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Does PawFriction harm floors or stain carpets?

We are often asked if PawFriction will harm floors or stain carpets. One of the many wonderful things about PawFriction is that it is not only pet and human friendly, but it is also a household friendly product. The granules are made from pure rubber, this is not the type of rubber you find in automobile wheels, rather a virgin rubber that is 100% safe for floors. Although, PawFriction has color it will not stain or damage carpeted floors. We have heard many stories about how pet parents use throw rugs and runners throughout their house to help with their dog’s traction. With PawFriction you can live in a home free of multiple carpet remnants and other floor coverings. Do you have a story to share? If so, please email it to us at info@pawtology.com.

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Taking a Closer Look at Lumbosacral Instability

We spoke in a previous blog post about IVDD (disc disease) in dogs but let us take a closer look at a particular type called Lumbosacral Stenosis/Lumbosacral Instability. Unlike disc disease which is more prevalent in our smaller and longer breeds of dogs like Dachshunds and Shih Tzus; Lumbosacral Stenosis (LS) is more common in large breed dogs such as, Retrievers and Greyhounds.

We already spoke about the anatomy of the spine and the spinal cord. The area we are talking about with LS disease is the lower back, the last lumbar vertebrae and the start of the sacrum which the area of the spine that connects the lower lumbar region and the pelvis. In this area, the spinal cord becomes a bunch of individualized nerves that then travel to the back half of the body and the organs.

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With LS Stenosis, there is motion at the end of the lumbar spine and sacrum that puts pressure on the nerves in that area and causes significant issues. Often the symptoms include; tripping when walking, standing on the tops of the hind feet, falling, wobbliness in the hind end, pain on palpation of that area, walking with the hind end lower than the rest of the body, and many other non-specific signs. LS disease can mimic the symptoms of hip arthritis so it is important to speak with your veterinarian about these issues.

Diagnosis of LS disease is done by a variety of methods starting with a good physical examination by your veterinarian. The next step is usually imaging of the lower back and hips. Radiographs can show some evidence of LS disease but, to confirm the diagnosis, we typically recommend advanced imaging such a CT or MRI scan.

Treating LS disease is a complex process that is best served by a multi-modal approach to include a combination of therapies to reduce pain, improve mobility, and preserve quality of life. The first phase of treatment is usually medications. Unlike arthritis, LS patients often need a bit more pain control that just standard anti-inflammatories. We will typically use a combination of pain medications. At the same time, we strongly recommend traction-aiding devices like PawFriction to reduce the risk of sliding and to keep muscle mass healthy; one fall can cause a significant flare up of LS pain.

There are some more advanced therapies for LS disease that can be performed including intra-spinal injections of steroids and some surgical possibilities. These should be discussed with your veterinarian or a specialist as they take some advanced training to perform.

While Lumbosacral Stenosis is a progressive disease, thankfully we can make many dogs extremely comfortable and mobile for many years in the future.

My dog is a foot licker, will they try and get this off?

Most dogs simply do not realize that PawFriction is on their feet but, rest assured if they do lick their feet this may give them a whole new thing to do in life. We have researched and tested each component of PawFriction and it will not harm them. PawFriction is 100% safe if ingested, the granules are made from pure virgin rubber which means that it is not generated from churned up car tires or anything else that could be harmful to our best friends.

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If you have a foot licker and have questions, please let us know! We have received a tremendous amount of positive stories from our pet parents over the last few months and we are so pleased to hear about how successful PawFriction has worked for them. If you have a story or video to share please email it to us at info@pawtology.com.

Why is Paw Friction and PawFriction so important and why is the toe grip less important?

We have received a few questions about what exactly gives a dog traction. Is it the paw pads or the claws/toes and why is PawFriction the best product to help stop sliding on hardwood and other smooth floors? The paw pads are constantly giving a dog traction, which stops slipping and sliding. The toes or claws act like rudders, stabilizing the dog when they are running or turning by virtue of being able to dig into the environment or grip as a response to sliding. There are many blogs that claim the toes/nails are responsible for most, if not all the traction, and have claimed that products used to increase paw pad traction are flawed in their mechanisms. This is absolutely not the case. However, you don’t have to take our word for it, we have a tendency to be biased…so let’s go to the experts!
 

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There was a recent study released that looked at the physics of the dog foot and how paw pads work. What they determined is that the outside layer of the paw pad was composed of thousands of “spikes” of tissue. These spikes are biomechanically adapted to increase traction. Here is a section taken directly from their study: “The bottom part of the stratum corneum is in direct contact with the ground surface during locomotion, and is composed of the hardest material (Young's modulus E ≈ 6MPa, Luboz et al., 2014) among all the three layers presumably to endure the tremendous pad-ground wear, friction and impact during locomotion (Meyer et al., 1990; 271 Luboz et al., 2014).” (Maio et al. 2016). Here is a link to that study if you would like to read more: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5769641/.

We aren’t arguing that the toes grip and help with traction but this is only important when dogs are trying to run and turn abruptly or when they feel like they are slipping. If they feel like they are slipping, they react by trying to sink their nails into whatever they are standing on. If they don’t slide, they don’t try to grip with their toes.

So what happens to dogs as they age and why do they start slipping? Well, we know it isn’t because of the nails. Many of us keep our dog’s nails so short they cannot even touch the ground - if the nails were the most important mechanism of traction then these dogs could never walk. In fact, we think the mechanism of older and disabled dogs slipping so easily on floors is a lack of muscle mass and hardening and/or smoothing of their paw pads. As a veterinarian, when I designed PawFriction, we started to examine older dogs and found so many of their paw pads were smoother and harder than those of their younger counterparts. Go ahead…if you have an older dog that slides take a look and you will see what we are talking about.

So why is PawFriction the best product for the job? Unlike any other product on the market, it restores the traction surface directly to the paw pads which restores and improves the natural mechanism that keeps dogs from slipping.

 

There Is Relief For Disc Disease (IVDD)

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Disc disease, IVDD, back injury, slipped disc, etc. It has many names and is one of the more common reasons that a dog will be brought to a veterinarian for evaluation and is a result of pain and discomfort. In order to understand how to manage the disease and what it is, we have to do a quick review of the anatomy so hold on for the boring stuff! The spinal column is made up of multiple vertebrae with a cartilage disc in between each one. The disc’s purpose is to separate the vertebrae and provide cushion during movement. The disc itself is formed similar to a piece of Rolo candy with a thicker outer shell and a softer, more gelatinous center.

A disc injury, whether it is located in the neck or back, is an expulsion of the center of the disc which puts pressure on the spinal cord and creates a lot of inflammation and ultimately pain. The symptoms of a disc injury include pain, hunching up of the back, pain when being picked up, reluctance to go up the stairs or jump, wobbly or dragging back legs, or even the inability to use their legs. Any of the above symptoms require a veterinary visit as soon as possible but any inability to use their legs or walk requires an emergency visit immediately!

Diagnosis of IVDD (intervertebral disc disease) is often done on examination through various exam findings which may include palpation of the spinal column, neurologic examinations and history of your pet. Radiographs can be helpful but will often miss the obvious diagnosis of the problem, you really need advanced imaging of the spinal cord either by MRI or CT scan.

Treating IVDD is aimed at both the acute injury and chronic management of the disease.

1.       Acute Injury: Therapy is often guided by the severity of the injury. If the neurologic deficits or compression of the spinal cord is significant, surgical repair is often recommended. If your dog is still moving normally but just painful then pain medications and strict exercise restriction is recommended. Keeping your dog from sliding or falling is very important. We recommend PawFriction to aid in recovery from a back injury and in the post-operative setting if your dog has back surgery.

2.       Prevention/Chronic Injury: Chronic pain medicine may be necessary if you dog remains in pain after their injury. Weight management is extremely important for all dogs prone to spinal injuries. Rehabilitation, acupuncture, etc. can all improve your dog’s long-term mobility and decrease risk of re-injury. Traction aids like PawFriction can be paramount in preventing your dog from re-injuring themselves.

Thankfully, most dogs we see with spinal injuries often respond to conservative treatment but remember, the success of IVDD surgery in dogs is very good when early intervention is performed. Don’t be afraid to discuss with your vet about whether a referral to a neurologist is necessary. Also, don’t forget the importance in restricted jumping, sliding/slipping, and decreased activity level, which will keep your dog’s back stronger and healthier in the long run.

What exactly is Canine arthritis?

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints but we often use it to describe the chronic joint changes that accompany our dogs as they age. No matter what definition you choose, arthritis is a common and painful condition that affects many of our aging dogs.

I am often asked by clients “How do I know if my dog is in pain?” This is a great question. The symptoms of arthritis can be very subtle in the early stages and many of us find ourselves attributing it to our dogs getting aging. Their reluctance to jump or go upstairs, difficulty rising from a standing position, sliding on floors in the home, and refusal to go on long walks can often be signs associated with discomfort and inflammation. A visit with your veterinarian will likely confirm your suspicions if there may be some arthritis going on.

Confirming the diagnosis can be a bit more difficult. To be honest, the diagnosis is often achieved by treating for arthritis and seeing if medications improve the condition. Arthritis often shows significant improvement with a treatment of anti-inflammatory medications. Veterinarians will often take radiographs if we suspect that it may be more than arthritis or we really want a confirmation of the diagnosis.

Treating arthritis can be a bit complicated. There are many different methods/modalities of how we approach treating your pets. A good rule of thumb is when there are many different ways to treat things, often the same treatment will not work for every dog. Here is a breakdown of the different categories:

1.       Prescription Medications: NSAIDs, Pain medications. These have been the cornerstone of treating arthritis for a very long time.

2.       Supplements: Omega 3’s, Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM, Avocado/Soy. The list goes on and on, but please keep in mind that all join supplements are not created equally.

3.       Alternative therapies: Acupuncture, physical rehabilitation, laser therapy. These can all be very valuable services to keep your senior pet mobile, particular underwater treadmill therapy which keeps your dog moving with low impact exercise.

4.       Dietary: Joint diets, higher protein diets. These come in a variety of types but overall you want to strive to keep your dog thin.

5.       Mobility aids: PawFriction, Harnesses. These products help to keep muscle mass healthy and reduce the risk of injury around the house. The more your dog moves, the better off they will be.

6.       Alternative Medications: CBD Oil, Turmeric. There are a lot of exciting things happening in veterinary medicine right now and that includes the development and examination of alternative medications that will hopefully prove to be a valuable part of our protocols moving forward.

Arthritis in a nutshell is a very common but treatable disease that affects many of our senior pets. The key is to recognize it and approach treating it from a multi-modal approach.

Give your dog a pat for me!

Dr. Bone

Can PawFriction be used on cats?

While PawFriction is used more frequently on dogs it can also be effectively used on cats. However, keep in mind that cat and dog paw pads are different. Because of the activity level of many cats the PawFriction granules tend wear off more quickly on cats than dogs. We hope that this doesn’t discourage you from trying PawFriction on your cuddly cat, but we do want you to know up-front that they may need more frequent applications than the typical once a week treatment.  

PawFriction is meant to be an aid in therapy for cats with orthopedic, arthritic, and neurological conditions. It won’t take the place of proper medical and pharmaceutical treatments, but it absolutely can help to rebuild muscle mass, reduce the risk of injury, and give your cat a fourth, fifth or sixth new life (hopefully not the ninth)!

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Can PawFriction Help My Puppy?

Watching a puppy play and run can be quite comical! You know what we mean, they are adorable at that “awkward” stage. We have been asked if PawFriction can be used for puppies who stumble on wood or slippery surfaces. ABSOLUTLY! However, keep in mind that puppies, like children are active and we would expect for the product to wear off quickly.

PawFriction is a great tool for training purposes. Here are a few fun puppy facts courtesy of Facts-about.org.uk!
     1. They are born blind, deaf, and toothless.
     2. A puppy spends about fourteen hours of every day sleeping.
     3. They develop their sense of smell at the age of three weeks.
     4. Every year in the United States, more than 5 million puppies are born.
     5. During the first week of a puppy’s life, it spends 90% of its days sleeping and 10% eating.
     6. By the age of one, a puppy is considered to be an adult. In human years, this is the
         physical equivalent of being 15 years old.

Bailey Loves PawFriction

How Effective is PawFriction For My Dog?

How effective is PawFriction for my dog, he is outside a lot and I am concerned that the product will rub off of his paw pads? Rest assured - this not an uncommon concern! Please keep in mind that PawFriction was designed for senior dogs with limited activity and the product will wear off faster if your dog is very active and walks on concrete, asphalt, or dirt.

We don’t want this to discourage you from giving PawFriction a try, but it’s important to know your dog’s activity level at the time of your first order so if you need to order refill granules that you can plan for a replacement kit at the time of your first order. We would love to hear from you and let us know how your dog (at whatever activity level) are enjoying their new-found freedom with PawFriction Info@Pawtology.com. Email your photo and story to us and we will enter you into a random drawing for a complementary PawFriction kit!

PawFriction Works