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Dalmatian dog walking on wooden floor

Why do dogs slide so much in the house?

If you’ve noticed your dog slipping and sliding on your shiny indoor floors, don’t panic. Most pups will slip and slide on shiny linoleum, laminate, tile, hardwood floors, or on any hard indoor flooring, really. This is a common canine response to surfaces that their paws just weren’t designed for. After all, their nails can’t flex and grip a hard surface in the same way they can on grass, soil, or carpeting.

But even though it’s usually the floor that’s to blame for this Bambi-on-ice performance from your furry friend, there are other reasons your pup might be having a hard time: they might have dry paw pads, underlying issues, or joint and ligament pain.

🚨 See a vet if your senior dog is finding it tough to get around the house. They’re more likely to be suffering from underlying conditions that affect their stability. 

Could my dog get hurt?

While it’s common for dogs to slip and slide, it can lead to injuries ranging from bruises to broken or damaged bones. While a puppy or younger pooch may seem totally fine slipping all over the place, it becomes much more worrisome when older dogs do so. This is because they may be suffering from an underlying condition (see above) or be at greater risk of injuring themselves as a result of their age.

So, it’s best to stop your dog from slipping and sliding around whenever possible.

How to stop your dog from slipping and sliding in the house

While one of the best ways to stop your dog from sliding around the place is to keep them in good physical shape, there are several other solutions you might want to consider. Here are our favorite solutions for slipping and sliding, from paw products to simple household solutions.

Closeup of dog's paws

Paw products

  • Paw balms. Dogs’ paws are specially designed to help them grip, but if their paw pads are dry and cracked they can really struggle. One of the best starting points to stop your pup from slipping and sliding is to invest in a solid paw balm. Paw balms are designed to soothe and repair cracked paw pads.

Some of our personal favorites are ‘pawtection’ products by Natural Dog Company, which have hundreds of five-star reviews, come in a variety of sizes and combinations, and are made in the USA from organic, natural ingredients.

Similarly, the Bodhi brand paw balm is suitable for cats and dogs, made by a family-owned company in the USA, and gentle enough for sensitive skin.

If you live in a particularly cold climate, Musher’s heavy-duty paw wax was designed for sled dogs in Canada and the beeswax formula is great for healing chapped paw pads.

💡 You can even make your own paw balm at home. 🐾

  • Paw grips. If you want something that doesn’t need reapplying so often, consider paw grips. Paw grippers are essentially stickers for your dog’s paw pad, which have anti-slip grips that will help your pup keep their balance. We really like these Aqumax adhesive paw grips, because they’re non-toxic, easy to apply, and sticky yet pliable.
  • Hair and nail trims. This one’s self-explanatory. Imagine you’re trying to walk around the house wearing fuzzy socks. It wouldn’t be so easy to stop yourself from slipping. By keeping your dog’s paw hair trimmed short, you can help stop them from sliding so much on slippery surfaces. The same goes for those nails. While dogs use their nails to grip properly, they must be kept to a healthy length to keep their posture and positioning correct. Make sure you have a professional nail grinder on hand to keep your pup safe while trimming.

👉 Go to a vet and have them deal with your dog’s fuzzy Grinch feet and long nails if you’re worried about trimming them yourself. Groomers can also take care of fuzzy feet.

  • Toenail grips. Sometimes known as toe grips, toenail grips are non-slip grips that fit over your dog’s toenails. They allow your pup to actually grip when they flex their nails, something they can’t usually do on hard surfaces. While toegrips such as Dr Buzby’s ToeGrips are a bit fiddly to put on, they’re highly rated among users, can be reused, and work really well for arthritic or senior dogs too.
  • Booties and socks. First of all, these will make your dog look super cute. Second of all, they’ll really help them stop slipping and sliding around your home. Dog socks, like these EXPAWLORER ones, are designed with non-slip pads and secure hook-and-loop fastenings to keep your pooch from slipping indoors.

If you’d prefer to get something your dog can use outdoors too, then we also love these super grippy dog booties. Made from durable thermoplastic and reinforced with foam ankle pads, they’ll help provide extra stability.

💡 Does your dog hate wearing socks or dog boots? Work up to wearing all four dog shoes at once, by putting them on your dog’s feet one at a time and rewarding your pooch with treats each time. 🧦

Household solutions

  • Dog mats/ carpets. One of the easiest ways to help your pup navigate smooth surfaces is by placing mats and area rugs around the house, especially on slippery or uncarpeted staircases. However, you need to make sure these mats and carpets are secured with non-slip backings before letting your dog loose on them.

💡 Place a non-slip rug in your dog’s favorite napping spot, as well as near to their food bowls, to help them get up and keep their hind legs stable on wooden floors. Yoga mats are great for this. 🧘

  • Dog gates. Keep your dog off the tile floors altogether by using a dog gate. This is a good solution for pet parents with mixed-flooring throughout their house, plus the space to keep their pup in a restricted area. However, if your pup loves the coolness of a tile floor, consider investing in an elevated hammock bed to keep them comfortable instead. Take a look at our list of 7 vet-recommended doggie gates.

👉 This is an especially useful solution for pet owners with senior dogs who are more at risk of hurting themselves on slick floors. 

  • New flooring. If all else fails and you have the means to do so, it might be time to replace your slippery flooring with some plush carpeting. Obviously, this is not the most time- or cost-effective solution, so it’s worth only considering it as a last resort or if you have several pets struggling on your slippery floors.

How else can I stop my dog slipping and sliding around the house?

Shop-bought solutions aside, one of the best ways to stop your pup from slipping and sliding is to keep them in good shape. The more active and fit your pooch is, the less likely they are to struggle even on slippery surfaces. Keeping their weight down will also reduce pressure on their joints and ligaments, while regular exercise will boost mobility.

Training can also help, because some dogs are simply scared of walking on slippery floors. Coax your dog onto a smooth surface and reward them with treats for doing so, or lead them gently across your hard floor on a leash until they make it across. Just never pull or punish them as you do so.

What about senior dogs?

While most of the above solutions are suitable and effective for senior dogs too, there are some extra steps you can take to keep your elderly pup safe and stable.

  • Keep them in carpeted areas only. The best way to stop them from sliding is to keep them off slippery floors altogether, although this may not be feasible in your home.
  • Get them an assistive support sling. Older dogs tend to have a tough time getting up on hardwood floors. If you have your pup wear a dog sling, you can give them a helping hand when they need to stand up. We love this rear support harness from PetSafe for its breathable mesh straps, sturdy lifting handle, and unobtrusive design. Your old dog will barely notice they have it on their back legs. Plus, it comes in two different sizes.
  • Provide high-quality food. Your older pup might not be in a position to take regular dog walks in order to maintain their mobility. However, providing high-quality, nutritious food can keep their weight down and ensure they’re getting the right vitamins and minerals to help their joints and ligaments.

My dog’s still slipping!

If you’ve tried everything in this guide and nothing seems to work, it could be that your pup has an underlying condition causing them to struggle on slippery floors. These conditions include:

  • Sprains, breaks, or tears
  • Arthritis
  • Spinal issues
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Inner ear problems, which affect the balance
  • Joint problems or pain

🚨 If you think your dog might be suffering from any of the above, make an appointment to see your vet as soon as possible.