Don’t You Step on My Blue Suede Shoes

I’ve been trying to find things that help Nick with his 13.5 year old mobility. Nick had been eating less than maintenance for some months loosing a good bit of hip and shoulder muscle. The muscle loss has impaired his stance and gait. Most commonly, his feet slip outward causing an unplanned split. What might help?

References

References to sources of the product categories mentioned. I didn’t find a site for our socks purchased at our local pet supply shop. These were in a corner with the coats and leads so I had to ask.

  1. https://ruffwear.com/collections/dog-boots
  2. https://beachanddog.com/products/paw-grip-2-oz-twist-up-all-natural-and-organic-formula
  3. https://beachanddog.com/products/paw-grip-2-oz-twist-up-all-natural-and-organic-formula

Option 1: Ruff Wear Boots

We have some of these. I bought them originally for Nut, our old blue hound whose paws would get dry and cracked when exposed to ice melt salt. Nut was the chompy one. So they went unused in the dog clothes bin. I fished them out and put them on Nick’s aft end. These stopped the skating but eventually, they rolled over so the protective bit was up and the Ruff Wear brand ID was down.

The current Ruff Wear boots are different in design. Designed primarily for paw protection while trekking or working search and rescue, they have a robust non-skid sole. The uppers are designed to be comfortable and to allow the foot to dry when dunked during trekking. These are made to be worn for eight-plus hours.

Option 2: Pad Wax

This stuff is like candle wax but softer and is formulated to protect paws while pulling a sledge or similar tasks. They offer some salt and snow protection with good traction. The formulation is softer than surfboard wax but the idea is the same. Applied to the feet rather than the board.

We couldn’t find the recommended brand locally. Surfboard wax is easily available here in the resort and every surf natsy has applied numerous Mr Zog’s Sex Wax (for the board, not the other thing) to the granny-mobile windows.

Having seen how surfboard wax cakes up, I opted not to try board wax as it was likely too hard to be pleasant under foot. It is also made to rub onto a surfboard and is hard at room temperature.

The favored brand of paw wax (Shaw’s from the UK was recommended) was unavailable at our local shop. The brand they did carry was not advertised as a mobility aid but is similar in formation to the one in the reference. All are a mix of paraffin based wax, bees wax, and preservatives. The reference is to an untried example.

Option 3: Socks

We found some made for mobility improvement and pad protection. These are knit. They have plastisol rubbery stuff applied to the forefoot and under foot all around. When the sock rolls, grippy protective material is always down. Nick tolerated these well but they do come off on their own. You have to be alert for one to go missing and retrieve it promptly.

These stop the skating. Feet stay planted. Having just the aft end in socks lets Nick help with the step climb. Having the front feet socked keeps the feet under Nick. The socks appear to reduce energy needed to stand and walk. Stance and gait improve and Nick is much more active.

Greyhounds wear the larger size. Mostly to accommodate their long toes. It is best to measure and use the sizing chart to pick the proper size. but be aware that it may be wrong for greyhound feet with their long toes.

Donning Socks

The best way to don socks is to pull the upper down over the lower, slip over the foot, then unroll the upper by cupping it in hand and sliding it up. Grasp the unrolled upper and use it to slide the sock on fully.

Non-skid pads and Crazy Glue

Yes, this is a thing. Yes, it is pricy. Yes, it did get less than OK reviews. But Google will find it for you. These glue on like faux nails but on the pad underside. Yes, there is opportunity to glue you and your dog together.