Paw Friction

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!
 

DogPaw_Blue.jpg

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.

 

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)!

Kitty.jpg

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

Why is Paw Friction so important? A Veterinarian's View: Part One

     The underside of a dog's foot is built for traction.

     The underside of a dog's foot is built for traction.

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 answer to that question depends very much on what your dog is doing at the time. The paw pads are constantly giving the dog traction; stopping all forms of sliding and slipping. The toes/claws act as rudders, stabilizing the dog when they are running or turning by virtue of being able to dig into the environment (such as dirt). 

Look at this image of a dog with trimmed nails running. The nails barely even contact the ground. This is even on a slippery surface, no nails needed!

Look at this image of a dog with trimmed nails running. The nails barely even contact the ground. This is even on a slippery surface, no nails needed!

There are many blogs out there 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, 100%, not the case at all. However, you don’t have to take our word for it, we have a tendency to be biased…so let us go to the experts!There was a recent study released that is in the process of peer review. It is the first study that has actually looked at the physics of the paw pads, how they work, and the response of the paw pads in changes to pressure. In it, they took two dogs who passed away of natural causes and did histopathology of their paw pads to look at the structure of the many layers.  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 the paper if you would like to read it: https://peerj.com/preprints/2340.pdf

Take a look at the "papilla" present on the paw pads. All those little spikes are designed to give your dog's feet traction.

Take a look at the "papilla" present on the paw pads. All those little spikes are designed to give your dog's feet traction.

We aren’t arguing that the toes grip and help with traction but this is biomechanically only import when dogs are trying to run and turn abruptly or when they feel like they are slipping; they react by trying to sink their nails into whatever they are standing on. Let us look at the paws like they are shoes. The sole/tread does the bulk of the work in everyday situations but, when added traction is needed, you add cleats to help grip the dirt…but you wouldn’t wear cleats every day, right? We have created flooring (wood, tile,etc.) that significantly reduces the friction when anyone walks on it. Dogs don’t slip on grass and gravel, right? Because those substrates provide increased friction and allow the dog to sink…this is why we all slip on ice; loss of friction.

More in the next blog post!
Dr. B