Although it may seem like just another way to spoil your favorite dog, there are good reasons to provide them with an easy way to get up and down from elevated surfaces. This is true even if your dog is young and active. Here's what you need to know about dog stairs and dog ramps and how to choose the right one.
Dog ramps and dog stairs aren't just for pampering your pooch. They can be an important way to care for your dog, protect their health, and even keep yourself safe. These are some of the reasons you may want to consider using them.
This is the first reason most people think of when it comes to dog ramps or stairs. Elderly dogs with arthritis or hip problems simply can't jump as well as they once could. Providing them with an easy way to get onto the couch or bed is a great way to accommodate their needs and keep them close and comfortable.
Whether you're getting them into the car for a ride or tucking them in bed next to you, a tiny dog needs a helping hand. Dogs who have long bodies with short legs, such as Dachshunds or Corgis, also have a hard time jumping. Their body types put them at a higher risk of getting hurt when they jump, especially for spinal injuries.
If you have a healthy, active dog, you may assume that they have no need for their own stairs or ramps. But studies show that jumping and climbing steep surfaces put stress on dogs' joints. This stress has been linked to an increased risk of arthritis over time.
Especially if you have a dog breed that's susceptible to joint pain and mobility issues, such as a Lab or a Golden Retriever, it's a good idea to limit the amount of jumping they have to do. Providing a pet ramp for the bed is an easy way to protect them.
You may have no problem picking up your pup to get them where they need to go. But dogs are unpredictable, and lifting a wriggling load can lead to an injured back for you. You could also injure them if they slip out of your grasp and fall. Stairs or a ramp provide a secure way to get your dog up and down without endangering either of you.
If you've decided that your dog could use a little help getting up and down, the next question is which style you should choose. As is the case with many of these choices, there's no one answer that's right for every dog.
Stairs are a great option for dogs that are already comfortable with going up and down stairs. They can also be a good way to teach dogs that are afraid of tackling a full flight of stairs. Letting them practice on a smaller set of stairs can help them to build their confidence and skills safely.
Most dogs can safely use dog stairs, but if your companion already has arthritis or joint problems, the steps may be difficult for them to navigate. If you're not sure if using dog stairs is going to be uncomfortable for your pet, speak with your veterinarian.
If stairs don't work for your companion, a dog ramp is a gentle way for them to get up and down. This is also a good choice for tiny dogs who find it difficult to climb from step to step. Be sure to select a well-designed pet ramp for bed, because if it is too steep it will add extra strain to their joints.
You know your dog better than anyone, so you can guess if they might be reluctant to try something new. If your pup doesn't want to use their new ramp or stairs, you can encourage them in a few simple steps.
First, simply leave the new dog stairs or ramp in a place they can explore it. After they've had some time to give it a few good sniffs, place a treat on the lowest part of the structure. Let them eat the treat, even if they don't have to take a paw off the floor to get to it. The idea is to help them get comfortable with the stairs or ramp and to associate it with good things.
Add another treat at a higher position, and repeat the sequence. Slowly place the treats higher, until you're able to coax your dog onto the stairs. It may take several sessions for them to feel at ease, or they may catch on the first time. When they get to the top, give them lots of love and treats.
Very small dogs may struggle to climb from step to step. Ramps make it easier for them to scramble up without strain. It's especially important to give small dogs a safe way to get down from a high surface. Because their body is small, a jump down from a bed or couch is much further than it is for a larger dog.
Consult with your veterinarian to see if your dog's joints are better suited for stairs or a ramp. In general, if they are already experiencing pain, a pet ramp for the bed or couch may be a gentler choice.
It may seem unnecessary to provide help to a dog that can hop up next to you easily. But remember that jumping can be hard on the joints over time. The added weight of a large dog increases the stress of landing.
At Animals Matter, we love pets as much as you do. That's why we've curated a collection of the best products available to keep your dog happy and healthy. Take a moment to browse the dog stairs and dog ramps we offer. If you'd like more information, please contact us today.
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