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Thank you to Renee Mills, CCRP, inventor of the No-Knuckling Training Sock, for writing this blog post about dog knuckling.
“My dog drags her paws when we go for walks.”
“Sport just doesn’t seem strong enough to lift the booties we’re using anymore.”
What is Paw Knuckling?
Knuckling occurs when the top of your dog’s paw drags across the ground when walking. This commonly leads to injury from dragging and scrapping. Knuckling is commonly caused from a neurological condition, but there can be many underlying causes.
Canine Rehabilitation for Paw Placement
These were common concerns my clients would voice to me on a daily basis while working within a Veterinary Rehabilitation Department. As a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner, I spent years treating patients that were recovering from spinal surgeries, had suffered a stroke, or were just getting older and weak in the hind end. I would design rehab programs to include exercises that would increase strength and proprioception based on each patient’s needs. Dogs would walk over poles, balance on exercise balls, and wear booties to remind them to pick up their hind feet higher.
Finding the Best Solution
One common occurrence was most dogs would drag their legs more with booties on as they were still building strength during the recovery process.
I struggled to advise my clients on the best solution to this problem. There was nothing lightweight enough on the market for these dogs. How could this be? I’d been experimenting with something to encourage these dogs to pick their hind feet up higher . . . then a light bulb went off.
Filling the Gap!
It was time to put the concept to the test. I started trying different materials and reworking strap placements. And I spent countless hours using my own dog Cookie Monster as a baseline for development! After months of clinical trials, the positive patient response was overwhelming, and the Rear No-Knuckling Training Sock was born.
I was seeing immediate results with my patients. It is lightweight and durable, and could even be used in the underwater treadmill by professionals. This filled the gap in assistive devices for pets.
The Rear No-Knuckling Training Sock was designed to encourage pets to lift their hind legs higher and decrease dragging or scuffing.
Created specifically with hind leg weakness in mind, the joint supportive sock aids in retraining dogs how to walk again. The sock is a temporary training tool. It’s meant for short-term, multiple use to best retrain correct gait and hind paw placement.
So How Does It Work?
You place the training sock around the hock joint, put the padded nylon cord between the middle toes, and tighten. The padded cord stimulates the dog between the toes, evoking your dog’s withdrawal reflex, which in return causes them to pick up the limb. It’s lightweight design is perfect for pet’s with hind limb weakness and the training sock is designed to offer support above and below the joint as well, which is crucial during training sessions.
It’s that simple to aid in the recovery of your four-legged family member.
How to Put on the Training Sock
Generally, pet owners will place the sock on their pet for a two to five minute walk, and then remove it. For best results, use at the beginning of every walk and remove when exercise is complete.
For recommendations tailored specifically to your pet, it’s always best to consult with your Veterinarian or Physical Rehabilitation professional before using. They will be able to assist in developing the most beneficial time frames for usage and even work them in to other rehab exercises.
Before & After Using the Rear No-Knuckling Training Sock
No-Knuckling Training Sock for Front Legs
With the success and popularity of the Rear No-Knuckling Training Sock, the Rehab and Veterinary community began looking for a solution for dogs who knuckle their front feet.
Now, whether your dog’s paw placement needs correcting in the front or rear we can help!
No-Knuckling Training Sock and Underwater Treadmill
In reality, all dogs that are experiencing difficulty walking, even those that are reliant on a dog wheelchair, can benefit from a variety of rehabilitative treatments. Use of the underwater treadmill, stretching, and other exercises can help maintain muscle mass and mobility. Rehab can help increase a dog’s strength and help to limit muscle atrophy.
Such is the case with 15-year old Shika. Shika, is currently attending rehab sessions with Tandy Clifton, CCRP of Kryder Veterinary Clinic. Shika is experiencing a degenerative condition that is causing knuckling in her right rear paw. She recently had a session in the underwater treadmill, where she exercised with and without the use of a No-Knuckling Training Sock. Ms. Clifton shared the before and after results of her session with Shika, which we are showcasing in the video below.
Thinking Outside the Box
Reflecting on the long journey which lead to the No-Knuckling Training Sock, I can’t help but look back at the fond memories of so many dogs who inspired me to think outside of the box.
They challenged me to create a solution, to find a way to get them back on their feet. To know that I’ve invented hope for dogs and pet owners’ alike facing a tough illness, is the most heartwarming outcome I could’ve dreamed of!
Guest Author: Renee Mills, VT, CCRP
Renee Mills is a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner and Veterinary product specialist.