Skip to Navigation Skip to Content

Pets and Escalators Aren't Friends

Photo via celesteh on Flickr

Welcome to our weekly 'Ask a Vet from the SF SPCA' feature on 7x7.com. Dr. Jeannine Berger, DVM, DACVB is a board certified veterinary behaviorist who counsels guardians whose pets’ issues are beyond the scope of training. Think of her as a pet shrink…at your service. Ask your own questions in the comments!

Did you know? Escalators pose a serious safety hazard to dogs–particularly their feet. We’ve long seen caution placards on escalators warning of the danger to kids’ little fingers and lately, we’ve heard about the threat that escalators pose to Croc wearers.
 
For the same reason that soft, malleable shoes are at risk to falling prey to the moving teeth of an escalator, so too are the soft pads of a dog’s feet. Almost every week, sometimes daily, a new dog arrives at the SF SPCA Veterinary Hospital with severe, painul degloving injuries to the paw, with badly torn skin and often avulsed toes that require major surgery. Small dogs should be carried on escalators. Larger dogs should wear booties if they must go on escalators. Guide dogs frequently used to have this problem in the past, but now they are required to wear booties on escalators which has all but eliminated the number of incidents.
 
We suspect this is happening more commonly now, because more and more people are obtaining service dog licensing and bringing their dogs with them on shopping trips and errands. If you plan to take your dog on an escalator, please outfit him or her with booties. They come in hundreds, if not thousands, of varieties.

Just make sure they fit snugly without superfluous material that can catch in the moving escalator parts. Or, you can play it safe and take the stairs!