Everyone needs help at some point in life, and the same can be said for dogs. In a world build around humans, it can be difficult for canine companions to make their way around. High furniture and taller SUVs make it difficult for smaller and older dogs to get where they want to go. If you see your pet struggling to get around taller obstacles, it may be time to consider pet stairs or a ramp.
Not all dogs need help. Larger breeds such as golden retrievers and Doberman pinschers are quite capable at bounding fences and leaping into truck beds. Even so, repeated jumping and climbing can stress the joints of any animal, leading to the need for assistance in one form or another. There are quite a few reasons why your furry friend could benefit from doggy stairs or ramps , including:
Small Breeds: Smaller dogs are at a true disadvantage in the human world. Just like toddlers, miniature breeds need a lot of assistance in performing everyday activities just to stay by your side. Their shorter legs make it difficult to hop up onto furniture and even climb household stairs. Getting a set of pet steps or an incline may help little dogs traverse these every-day obstacles that people maneuver through easily. This can also save your back since there's much less bending over to help when pets can make their way onto the couch for a snuggle session all by themselves.
Senior Dogs: The older a dog gets, the more likely he is going to have physical problems that make daily life difficult. The years of jumping into and out of the back seat can take its toll, and pet owners should consider alleviating that extra stress with the proper equipment.
Puppies: On the opposite end of the spectrum, puppies are still growing. Continuous impacts such as jumping down from high couches or climbing out of vehicles can result in hard landings that cause unseen damage or even timidness around certain locations. A pup that takes a tumble down steep basement steps is more likely to associate pain with stairs, causing issues later on. In addition, a bad fall can create future problems, especially if an injury occurs in such a young dog.
Arthritis: Often associated with senior pets, arthritis can set in at almost any age. Some breeds are even prone to the condition, and owners should take special care. Continuous joint stresses may become debilitating as the disease advances, which could eventually lead to immobility. While pet steps are an excellent option in most cases, an arthritic dog would benefit more from an incline like a short folding carpet ramp since that will do the most to relieve joint pain.
Recovery: While a temporary condition, a pet that is recovering from a serious wound or surgery needs to take it easy. Even simple procedures that result in the dreaded "protection cone" can cause issues since canine climbers won't be able to judge the size of the cone adequately. The situation is even worse with more invasive surgeries, such as broken legs or hurt paws. By choosing pet steps or ramps, your dog will be able to get around much more easily, resting their bodies and allowing their injuries to heal much more quickly.
By providing safe and comfortable ways to get around, you can offer your furry friend a home and play area that is suited to their particular needs. No matter the condition, creating a space that is free from joint stress and pain will do a lot to help your dog stay healthy.
Not all steps are created equal. When deciding which kind of accessory you'd prefer, it's important to understand what makes them best equipped for helping your pets. Choosing the best stairs for your pet takes a little bit of research, but there are definitely things you should look out for, such as:
Look for a surface that grips, such as carpet or soft rubber. This will help make sure that paws won't slip as pets try and make the climb.
Steep steps are very difficult for dogs to traverse, so choose stairs that have a decent depth of around 10 to 12 inches.
The steps should have a similar rise as the average household staircase.
Portable and permanent stairs should be strong enough to hold the weight of any dog in the house that may use them.
Ensure it's tall enough for where you need your pet to go.
Steps tend to be shorter than rams and as such take up less room in the house, and are great for semi-permanent solutions to pet maneuverability issues.
Much like steps, there are a lot of variations with ramps thanks to a wide variety of incline options. Like with stairs, you'll want a surface with some traction as well as an incline that isn't too steep. Make sure it's long enough to reach and it remains stable when in place. Many ramps fold up for easy storage, making them great to keep in the car or truck. In addition, some quality ramps can convert into stairs, such as the Pet Studio RampStep line, offering even more versatility.
Regardless of whether you choose ramps or stairs, you may need to teach your dog that they're OK to use. Even tough you have his best interests at heart, your canine companion might not take to them right away. Eventually, your pet will become used to these new methods of maneuverability and will thank you for giving them back the freedom they've come to enjoy!