While many pet parents see escalators as nothing more than an innocuous means for going up or down a flight of stairs, the reality is they can end up seriously maiming dog paws.
In the past year alone, instances of escalator-related dog injuries have shot up. Dogs are being brought into clinics with a wide range of injuries stemming from escalators — everything from missing clumps of fur to toenails and paw pads.
The facts are in — escalators are a real small dog danger.
“Some of the injuries are minor…[but] occasionally the whole toe gets torn off,” says Dr. Roger Helmers, a vet at the SPCA.
Statistically, smaller dogs run a greater risk of sustaining an escalator-related injury because of the size of their paws. However, no dog of any size should ride these mechanized stairs.
What happens is, due to the size of their paws, when the escalator steps flatten out or slip back under the machine, part of your dog may get crushed or sucked under. Humans know to step off the escalator before they get caught, but dogs do not.
Even knowing how an escalator functions, you have likely heard a story of someone’s shoe getting caught. Dogs, however, don’t generally have on protective footwear. So what ends up getting nabbed is a toenail, a paw pad, some fur, or the entire paw itself. A serious small dog danger, indeed.
Helmer recalls one particularly gruesome instance in which a small dog was brought in with nearly half of his paw missing as a result of getting caught in the mechanism. To mollify the damage done, a number of surgeries were performed. Even still, the dog left with one severely mangled dog paw.
In general, an escalator related injury requires surgery, which can be quite stressful for your dog, as well as for your wallet — costing up to $4000 for the operation. And while we here subscribe to the philosophy that no amount is too much to keep your dog healthy and safe, if all it takes to keep your dog safe is to avoid taking an escalator, its seems like a no-brainer.
So when you are walking your dog and you come across an escalator, PetPlus and the San Francisco SPCA urge you to please take the stairs.
PetPlus is a membership program designed to make pet care more affordable for everyone. Find out if PetPlus is right for you, and get more information on the members-only benefits, which include discounts on products like medications, supplements, and food, as well as services like vet visits and boarding.
SF Examiner – SF SPCA urges pet owners to keep dogs off escalators