“She’s having a bad day,” Kim called from the curb as she lifted her dog Hope from the car.
The 15-year-old shepherd hobbled down my driveway. Hope had undergone knee surgery years earlier which had not healed correctly. As a result, she never put much weight on her right hind leg. When she pushed off of it in normal stride, the leg slipped and twisted grotesquely, especially on slick floors.
As an integrative veterinarian who practices animal chiropractic and veterinary acupuncture, many of my patients are senior dogs with mobility issues. Through conventional and alternative medicine, I can usually improve mobility and comfort, but I could never affect slipping. I had no solution to the age-old problem of dogs struggling on hard-surface floors.
I used to advise clients to litter their homes with throw rugs, but inevitably their dogs would still choose to lie on the cold, hard floors (and struggle to get up off those floors). I needed a biomechanical solution to this biomechanical problem.
In the wild, dogs will flex their paws and use their nails like cleats, digging into earthen terrain for traction. Unfortunately, when our domestic dogs instinctively attempt to “dig” their hard nails into hard floors to get a grip, the slipping just gets worse.
Dr. Buzby’s ToeGrips are natural rubber cylinders that slide onto dogs’ toenails to create the GripZone. Enabling the dog’s natural mechanism for obtaining traction, the nonslip material grips the floor in a way that a dog’s hard toenails cannot.
Designed for senior and special needs dogs, ToeGrips:
- enable traction on floors and stairs
- reduce the risk of slip-and-fall injury
- improve mobility, stability and confidence
Hope was my first ToeGrips experiment. She flopped down obligingly in my pine straw while we applied the ToeGrips. Then she stood up, and walked away 75% improved.
My jaw hung. The only logical explanation was that when she bore weight on her bad leg and it didn’t twist out from under her, she was willing to trust that leg. As a result, her gait significantly improved.
I had seen Hope every three weeks for the prior two years. She was on every manner of Western medication and herbal supplement and I treated her regularly with acupuncture and chiropractic. She was holding her own, but I could never affect the slipping and twisting of that leg. But in less than five minutes—the time it took to apply them—ToeGrips transformed Hope’s posture and gait.
In my driveway that day, as Hope explored my shrubs with a smile, “Dr. Buzby’s ToeGrips” was born. I knew we had to make ToeGrips available for all at-risk dogs. Today, ToeGrips are worn by dogs in 15 countries and sold by veterinary practices worldwide.
Learn more at www.toegrips.com.
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Dr. Julie Buzby is an integrative veterinarian certified by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association and International Veterinary Acupuncture Society.