Dr. Buzby’s ToeGrips Review: Assisting in Special Needs Dogs
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored review from ToeGrips. However, I will always offer my readers an unbiased and honest account of my experiences. Your trust is very appreciated, and never taken for granted. ~Tonya, Dexter and Nutter
As a professional in the dog world, I am around dogs in different situations on a regular basis. Over my career, I have always worried when I see a dog slip on a slick floor or surface. A dog may just be walking along a tile or wood floor, and I can see that they are not walking in their normal, relaxed fashion. Some dogs also seem to have a lot of difficulty getting up from a lying position, and have to struggle to get to their feet. And it just breaks my heart watching senior dogs or dogs with arthritis or other mobility issues struggle.
About 3 years ago, a product buzzed in my head from Dexter‘s acupuncturist, Mary L. Cardeccia. We weren’t talking about Dexter’s needs, just about dog rehab in general. The product was Dr. Buzby’s ToeGrips for Dogs. Dr. Buzby’s ToeGrips are natural rubber rings that slide onto a dog’s weight-bearing toenails, adhere by friction, and give instant traction to senior, arthritic, and special needs dogs. They contact the floor at the GripZone™, where the non-slip material of the ToeGrip grips the floor in a way that the dog’s hard nail cannot.
ToeGrips sounded like a very interesting product and concept, and they stayed in the back of my mind. Now, as I saw and worked with clients and their dogs, when slippery floors were involved, I often thought of ToeGrips and how they might help that dog. Then, about a year later, I heard about them again from Dexter’s veterinary food therapist, Dr. Judy Morgan. She, too, was a fan of ToeGrips and used them in her veterinary practice and with some of her own dogs.
Finally, one night while I was teaching dog training classes at a local veterinary hospital, I saw a pair of ToeGrips in action with an old, senior dog. He was able to get up from lying on the linoleum floor with ease, and walked down the shiny floors without slipping and with what looked like a comfortable gait. From that point forward, I became a fan and started to recommend them to clients.
Recently I recommended them to a friend who had two dogs that needed extensive Tibial Tuberosity Advancement surgery. The TTA surgery is to change the alignment of the tibia bone to prevent abnormal sliding movement within the knee joint. ‘Ouch’ is right. She ordered ToeGrips for both dogs to help after surgery to prevent slipping in the kitchen and the deck. ToeGrips have been extremely helpful for this job; one dog is healed and her second only has about 6 weeks more of rehab.
Now, let’s talk a little about Dexter The Dog. If you recall, Dexter has a neurological condition, and I have noticed that Dexter has been “shuffling” his feet instead of picking them up like a “normal” dog. During one of Dexter’s examinations with Dr. Morgan, she flipped his foot over so the top of his toes were touching the ground. This was to test conscious proprioception, which means she was determining whether he was aware that his feet were upside down. Most dogs will immediately flip their feet back to the normal position, if not, they may not be getting the signal that they are standing on their toes and they will keep their paw in the upside-down position. This is what Dexter did. Dr. Morgan and I thought that ToeGrips might benefit Dexter in helping him “grab” walking surfaces, so I contacted Dr. Julie Buzby, the founder of ToeGrips, to see if we could try them and provide a review. Dr. Buzby was more than happy to allow Dexter and me to try a set, to see if they would provide proprioceptive stimulus and help Dexter to pick up his feet.
The first step in the process was to measure Dexter’s toe nails to ensure I chose the correct size. I made two mistakes during this process. First, I measured in cm when they are sized in mm. Second, I measured prior to his nail trim, and the sizing wasn’t correct after his nail trim. You see, the tips of a dog’s nails tend to be thinner and sharper, hence a smaller measurement. So, trim your dog’s nails first, then make sure you are looking at the mm for your dog’s correct size.
Once I received Dexter’s ToeGrips, it was time to apply them to Dexter’s feet. The instructions state to place the ToeGrips in isopropyl alcohol first to help with the application. I placed them in a small bowl with the alcohol and called Dexter’s grandma for assistance. Grandma helped by holding and securing Dexter’s leg as I secured his foot and nail. This made it easier to apply. Application by far is the trickiest part of the process. A dog must be pretty still in order to manipulate the ToeGrip and get the right placement. I’m anticipating this will go quicker as both Dexter and I get comfortable with the routine.
Voila. Once they were on, Dexter did not bother with them at all. I was worried he would be so focused on them and bite them off, but that was not the case. He never even looks at them. The instructions say to check the fit each day, and we do. You want to make sure they are in position and not riding up on the toe bed where they can cause harm. Dexter has two nails that must be a little thinner, and those two nails I readjust daily. We only lost one ToeGrip and it was in the beginning and I don’t think I had them applied correctly.
Dexter wore the ToeGrips for about a week, then we visited Dr. Cardeccia and she checked the fit and said they looked good. She also flipped his foot over and he immediately flipped his foot back to position! Wow! So, it seems like the ToeGrips are providing proprioceptive stimulus for Dexter.
I recorded Dexter walking the day before applying ToeGrips and a day after wearing the ToeGrips. Each video was recorded at the same time of day after the same lounging morning. When watching the before video you can see Dexter dragging his back and front feet. In the after video, you can see that Dexter starts to lift his feet more vs. dragging. When I watched this video it gave me goosebumps to think that I’m able to provide a little assistance with Dexter’s care. I promptly emailed Dr. Buzby the video for her thoughts on what she saw. She said this, “he is actually much better in that ‘after’ video. In the ‘before’ video he is ‘pacing’ (a lateral 2-beat gait), but in the ‘after’ video, he is actually walking with a normal cadence. That tells me that either neurologically or musculoskeletally (or both), he is better!” That’s pretty amazing, and once again, some goosebump material. Dr. Buzby said we couldn’t conclude the improvement was from the ToeGrips, but since there weren’t any other variable changes, I feel it is the ToeGrips that are causing Dexter to lift his feet. Dr. Buzby told me that Dexter will likely continue to see improvement over time, but will plateau at some point.
Watch Before/After Video Above
We are now in week three, and I can see from the wear on the ToeGrips and his toenails that he is still dragging his feet a little during walks. Dr. Buzby also said “the fact that the grips are worn on the top is also a GREAT thing, because it means that the ToeGrips are sparing the nails; i.e. the nails aren’t getting the full brunt of wear.” So, that’s another good thing. Because Dexter will be wearing his ToeGrips out quicker than normal, we will need to replace them sooner than average. Typically, ToeGrips last 1-3 months, with 8-10 weeks being the average.
Dexter and I are very happy with the assisted mobility and proprioceptive stimulus Dr. Buzby’s ToeGrips for Dogs. has given us. We not only are a fan, we are a customer. There will likely be a time in Dexter’s life that his foot dragging gets worse and he will have to wear boots to protect his feet, but that time is not now.
I am so grateful that Dr. Buzby gave Dexter a little more spring in his step. <3
Update: The second round of applying Dexter’s ToeGrips went smoothly. Dexter and I just had to find our groove in getting comfortable with the process. Grandma still helps by holding Dexter’s leg still.
ToeGrips offers a variety of tutorials to assist in the process; I suggest reviewing them prior to placing your first order.
Order a pair of ToeGrips with promo code: DEXTER for 10% Off
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alt=”My vet and I thought that ToeGrips might benefit Dexter in helping him “grab” walking surfaces, so I contacted Dr. Julie Buzby, the founder of ToeGrips, to see if we could try them and provide a review. Dr. Buzby was more than happy to allow Dexter and me to try a set, to see if they would provide proprioceptive stimulus and help Dexter to pick up his feet.” width=”735″ height=”1102″ />