Does Your Dog Need a Dog Ramp Or Dog Stairs?

A golden retriever walking down a ramp from the back of a car

Your dog’s favorite place is by your side. But for some dogs, sticking close to you can be challenging or risky, especially for older dogs or those with arthritis or joint pain. Dog stairs or a dog ramp can help make it easy to keep their favorite spots accessible.

A brown and white dog sitting in the back of a van in front of a dog ramp

Knowing When Stairs or a Ramp Are Needed

Routinely hopping on and off the furniture or scrambling into (and out of) a vehicle stresses the joints and bones of any dog and can cause foot pad, toenail, and even spinal injuries. Stairs or a ramp can minimize the load these habitual movements place on their joints and prevent common injuries.

  • Senior dogs: Older dogs' joints have experienced a lot of wear and tear through the years. A more comfortable route onto favorite furniture, or into the car, can benefit any elderly dog.
  • Arthritic dogs: For a dog with arthritis, hopping up and down can cause pain, hasten joint deterioration, and ultimately become impossible as the disease progresses. A ramp will improve your arthritic dog’s quality of life, despite reduced mobility. We recommend introducing your dog to a ramp before they absolutely need it to get them used to it.
  • Small breed dogs: While your small dog may be able to easily jump onto furniture or into the car, over time, this bounding up and down can stress their joints, cause injuries, and is a risk factor for canine arthritis. A dog ramp or stairs will protect a small dog's joints by minimizing how often they leap up and down.
  • Puppies: For still-developing puppies, jumping, a hard landing, or an awkward leap can result in immediate injury or cause possible problems later. Investing in their health now can help keep their bones and joints in optimal shape.
  • Dogs who are disabled or in recovery: After an injury or surgery, your dog will likely need help reaching their favorite spots. A dog ramp is the best bet for recovery or disabled dogs because they are easier to navigate than stairs, just be sure to assist as needed.
A little black dog going up a ramp onto a leather couch

Which Is Best—Ramps or Stairs?

A dog ramp or dog stairs can fit the bill in most situations, however, there are a few factors that will inform your ideal choice:

If the furniture is off-limits and your dog only leaps into or out of the car, choose a sturdy, outdoor dog ramp that telescopes for ease of storage, or a vehicle step.

  • If your dog needs help only with a few favorite pieces of furniture, portable lightweight dog stairs are your best bet.
  • If your dog is fearful of steps, training them to use a dog ramp is a better strategy.
  • If space is an issue, a foldable/stowable dog ramp can be tucked out of sight between uses.

Whether you choose a ramp or stairs, ensure the aid provides adequate traction so there is no undue strain as your dog navigates up and down. Additionally, the top of dog ramps and the top step of dog stairs should be flush with the piece of furniture or the car floor.

Once your dog is at ease with their new mobility aid, you'll be grateful for the reduced strain on your back and your dog will love enjoying its favorite spots without difficulty and with a lower risk of injury. As dog lovers who always take our pups along for the ride, ramps and stairs are a great way to make spending time together as easy as possible for you both.

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