Tuesday, May 26, 2015


I was recently asked to sample and review a product called Puppy-Treads. Which were not, I was surprised to learn, puppy tennis shoes (an idea I could totally get behind) but safety strips designed to keep pets (and people) from slipping on hardwood floors, stairs, and tile.

This seemed oddly appropriate for my household, almost as if the company had heard about the “Sassy Thinks She’s Superdog and Subsequently Has Emergency Knee Surgery” situation.

How sad does this dog look?
I’m not saying that the fact that I had recently pulled up the living room carpeting and polished the wooden tile floor caused Sassy's accident but I’m also not going to say it wasn’t a factor.

I’m also not going to say that Sassy has learned her lesson and now walks carefully and gingerly across the floor.  I’m not going to say that because it would be an enormous lie.

It is especially disturbing to see how she chases Bubba down the carpeted stairs at top speed, leaps from the 2nd or 3rd stair onto the floor, and slides across the room like she’s on ice skates.

It is interesting to note that Opie takes these leaps and slides with equanimity. “The vet said we might eventually have to have surgery on the other knee,” he says. "If it happens, it happens."

I, on the other hand, am not nearly so calm and have even gone so far as to build a barrier at the bottom of the stairs in a futile attempt to curb this behavior.

Not at all completely tacky, is it? I mean nothing says classy like crates in the living room.
In any case, this is where the Puppy-Treads come in.  They're made by the HandiRamp company (who manufacture wheelchair accessible ramps and other safety products) and are specifically designed to give pets traction on slippery surfaces like hardwood or linoleum.  So, when the company offered me a free set and asked me to review them, I jumped at the chance.

I mean, they had to be better than the tacky crate situation, right?

The review process has not been without the typical Kimbo drama, however.

As soon as they arrived, I opened the box and read the instructions.

That was the easy part.

Then I started obsessing about the fact that they were adhesive.  “What if I decide I hate them, pull them up and they leave some disgusting residue?”  I fretted.  “What if I turn our living room into some horrible, doggy-sized sticky trap and I come home one day to find both dogs and the cat all stuck to the floor, writhing in agony?”

Opie calls these kind of ideas overreacting (though rarely out loud) and suggested a test run.

Clearly, I have married a genius.

So I cut off a corner:

Stuck it on the floor:

Waited awhile, then pulled it up, and voila! No sticky residue.

Score one for the Puppy-Treads!

I was ready for the true test.

I peeled a full tread off the paper backing (while Opie took pictures and I yelled things like “Just get my hands!” and “Make sure I don't look enormous in this photo!”).

Then stuck them to the floor at the bottom of the stairs.

At first it was difficult to gauge how well they worked because Bubba was terrified of them.  This is no reflection on the treads themselves; the list of things that Bubba is terrified of includes but is not limited to: the microwave when it beeps, the refrigerator door alarm, Nerf guns, champagne bottles, my father, grates in the street, the hose, the vacuum, the sandwich grill, the sound of anything cooking, the neighbor kids, and balloons.

Bubba is a very skittish dog.

It does mean, however, that when I first put the treads down, Bubba decided they were the scariest things EVER and that they were probably made of acid and that he should fling himself over them at every opportunity instead of taking the chance that they might burn his paws off.

Which meant that Sassy leapt over them too in hysterical imitation.

Definitely NOT the response I was hoping for.

Eventually, though, Bubba deigned to walk on them so Sassy could also walk on them and in no time, both dogs acted like the treads had been there for years. And they definitely do provide some traction. The dogs still leap from the second or third stair like over-sized grasshoppers but they don't slide across the floor, scrabbling wildly with their toenails. 

They would probably work even better if I added a few more treads, extending them farther out into the room and covering more of the floor. But that leads me to my only complaint. The ad says they are lightweight, easy to install and attractive.  I agree with lightweight and easy to install. Attractive, though, is a bit of a stretch. I got the clear ones but they are still pretty visible on the floor—though, to be fair, not nearly as obtrusive as a stack of mis-matched crates.

In any case, I don’t know if I would want them up and down an entire fancy staircase but I’m planning to leave them on the floor in front of the stairs and I'll probably put another one down in front of the doorway to the washroom (where the cat tends to do his own wild leaping) because they do provide extra traction.

And I’ll do anything to avoid 8 more weeks of puppy prison and knee surgery recovery!

Anyway, if you’re reading this and you have similar slippage issues, these could help you out. You can read more about them and see the color and size selections here and can even get 10% off if you use the discount code BLOG2014. 

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