Veterinarian Creates Way to Make Senior Dogs’ Lives a Little Easier

ToeGrips were created to keep senior dogs from slipping when they walked.

Clients with senior dogs may come in to your veterinary office with a host of complaints. Their senior dog has trouble eating or getting up and down stairs. Maybe their senior dog needs help standing up or isn’t as active as he once was. Perhaps their senior dog can’t grip the floor as easily as he could when he was younger and is now prone to slipping.

That was the complaint Julie Buzby, DVM found in her practice. She has been a practicing veterinarian for 19 years, but earlier in her career, she became certified in veterinary acupuncture and chiropractic. Due to that, she started seeing more geriatric dogs than she normally might have. 

“Most of the senior dogs I treated were improving with medications, herbs, supplements, and alternative therapies,” Buzby said on, “but my clients worried about their dogs slipping on the floors at home. I understood their frustration.”

After opening her own clinic and then selling it in 2008, she moved with her family to South Carolina where she works in a veterinary clinic part-time. It was there, at an annual open house in 2011, that the idea for a product that would help senior dogs was born.

Dr. Buzby with patient

Dr. Buzby

Dr. Buzby with a patient.

Dr. Buzby wrote on her website:

“I had treated Morgan, one of our technician’s dogs, a few times and was happy to see her headed my way across the parking lot sporting a festive bandana. Accompanying her was the technician’s husband Todd… 'Look what I did for Morgan,' were his first words.  He pointed at her furry Aussie paws and smiled. I took one look at her toenails, and goosebumps covered my arms. Todd had concocted rubber rings for Morgan’s nails which I inherently understood would give her traction. I was awestruck because a dog’s natural mechanism for traction is to flex the paws and engage the nails. Yet, never before had anyone considered traction from the standpoint of the dog’s toenails. This invention meant no more dog injuries from slipping on floors and stairs. At 16-years old, Morgan had been struggling with instability and arthritis. And she lived in a home with exclusively hardwood floors. Morgan typified so many of my senior patients. As Todd shared what the grips had done for Morgan’s activity level and confidence, my mind raced with patients who could benefit from these little devices."

Encouraged by her friend Todd to pursue the idea, Dr. Buzby got to work.  After trying them out on several other patients, Buzby and team filed for a patent and began manufacturing ToeGrips.

As writes:

"Dr. Buzby spent the rest of 2012 conducting research and development to perfect the grips. Working with rescues and colleagues across the country, she was able to create a basic measurement system for dog toenails that allowed her to size the grips appropriately. She was also able to test the grips on these same dogs. The results inspired her to debut the product at the North American Veterinarian Conference in Orlando, Florida, in 2013."

To find out more about Buzby and ToeGrips, visit the ToeGrips website.

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