Does Your Dog Need A Dog Ramp Or Dog Stairs?

There's no doubt your best friend's favorite place to hang out is by your side, whether you are on the couch, in bed, or taking a ride in the car. But for some dogs, sticking close to you can be challenging and even risky without the help of dog stairs or a dog ramp. If your dog has arthritis or joint pain, if you've noticed your dog making failed attempts to hop up on the furniture, or if you find yourself routinely hoisting him up to the bed or into the car, it could be time to get dog ramps or dog stairs to ensure your best friend can easily and safely reach the spots that make him happiest.

When Does Your Dog Need A Ramp Or Stairs?

Routinely hopping on and off the furniture, or scrambling into (and out of) a car, SUV, or truck stresses the joints and bones of any dog. Depending on your dog's age, physical condition, breed and how often he jumps in a day, stairs or ramps for dogs can minimize the load these habitual movements place on his joints.

Dog ramps and dog stairs are especially important and helpful for:

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 is a better choice than stairs for senior dogs and dogs with joint ailments who often face increasing difficulty tackling stairs of any kind. An arthritic dog’s quality of life improves dramatically with a dog ramp, primarily because he can stick with his best friend at home and in the car despite reduced mobility. Consider introducing your aging or arthritic dog to a ramp before he absolutely needs it, so he becomes comfortable with the aid while he is more sure of foot.

Small breed dogs: Diminutive dogs adore jumping on and off the furniture and will do so scores of times throughout the day. But just because your tiny best pal appears to leap on and off the couch with ease and agility, doesn't mean he should. Over the months and years, this bounding up and down can stress your dog's joints, cause injuries, and is a risk factor for canine arthritis. A dog ramp or dog stairs will protect a small dog's joints by at least reducing the number of times he leaps each day.

Dog stairs or a dog ramp will also help a toy breed who is too small to jump successfully to the bed or couch, and saves your back the agony of constantly scooping him up.

Puppies: The joints and bones of puppies are still developing. Frequent jumping, a hard landing, or an awkward leap can result in immediate injury or cause possible problems later on. For puppies, training to use a dog ramp or dog stairs is often minimal, as they will usually take to them like kids to playground equipment. Keep in mind, even energetic puppies should take dog stairs and household stairs slowly and shouldn't leap past the last few steps.

Dogs recovering from an injury or surgery: After an injury or surgical procedure, your dog will likely need help reaching his favorite perches. A dog ramp is the best bet for post-surgery dogs or handicapped dogs, because they are slightly easier to navigate than stairs.

Common Dog Injuries Caused By Leaping Up And Down:

  • Broken toe nails
  • Trauma to the elbow joint
  • Foot pad injuries
  • Sprains to the legs, wrists, and shoulders
  • Slipped knee caps (luxating patellae) — caused when dogs hop on their hind legs before jumping
  • Spinal injuries — dogs with short legs and long backs, such as Dachshunds, have an increased risk of ruptured disks and spinal injuries when jumping from furniture and cars

Which Is Best — Dog Ramps Or Dog 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 has a longstanding phobia of steps, training him 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 his new stairs or ramp, you'll be grateful for the reduced strain on your back and your dog will reach his favorite spots without difficulty and with a lower risk of injury. Then you can go in the car or simply hang on the couch with your best pal, knowing his advancing age, or small stature, or other physical challenges won't keep the two of you from fully enjoying your time together.

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