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Dogs love to be by their owner’s side. In fact, most dogs will want to be included in family activities so much that they’ll jump up or down from some pretty high places just to be able to participate.

Whether it’s relaxing on the couch, napping in bed, or going for a ride in the car, our dogs will routinely leap into action, clearing obstacles that are almost twice their height.

However, for some dogs, this can be difficult and sometimes even dangerous. If you’ve got an older dog and have found that they require help getting up and down from the bed, or a toy dog breeds such as teacup Yorkies or mini Dachshund puppies that simply can’t make the leap into your car, then you may need to get either some dog stairs or a dog ramp.

Why Use Dog Stairs or Dog Ramps?

There are many benefits to using dog stairs or a ramp for your pet. If your animal is small, elderly, or has any type of disability, then these tools can help them get around your home with ease. Dogs love to be mobile and hate being restricted, so giving them the ability to move freely will make them very happy.

Some dogs have a difficult time jumping on furniture or into cars. This is where dog stairs come in handy – they provide a gradual incline for your pup to walk up, making it much easier on their joints and muscles. Ramps have a similar purpose, but can be used for larger animals or those who need an even shallower incline.

Another great benefit of dog stairs and ramps is that they can protect your pet from injury. Many animals are injured each year from jumping off of high surfaces – something that can easily be avoided with the use of pet steps or a ramp. Not only will this save you a trip to the vet, but it will also give you peace of mind knowing that your furry friend is safe.

Cases When Dog Ramps and Stairs Are Necessary

1.   When you have a dog breed that is prone to injury

Certain dog breeds are more sensitive to back and limb injuries due to how their bodies are shaped. Probably the most famous example is the Dachshund, as they are especially prone to IVDD, or Intervertebral Disc Disease. This is the most common spinal disease in dogs and causes the discs in between vertebrae to dry out, stiffen and degenerate. It is a common cause of back pain, weakness, and paralysis in Dachshunds.

While IVDD is primarily caused by aging, it is made even worse with sudden shocks that can compress the intervertebral discs, such as what happens when the dog jumps down from a couch or bed. Even the repetitive motion of going up and down stairs can be an issue, so in this specific case, a dog ramp would be a better option.

Dog breeds with short legs and long backs, also known as chondrodystrophic breeds, will require extra care with regard to their backs and legs. If you own one of these breeds or have been looking at sales for small dogs, then you may want to consider getting a dog ramp. Some of the more popular chondrodystrophic breeds include:

  • Shih Tzu
  • Basset Hound
  • French Bulldog
  • Corgi
  • Dachshund

2.   When you have an older or injured dog

Older dogs simply aren’t as flexible or as powerful as their younger counterparts. The wear and tear of years of jumping and running may have already taken their toll on their joints and muscles, so dog stairs and ramps can help them get around a little easier. If your dog is simply advanced in years but is otherwise healthy, dog stairs can be a good option.

However, dogs that have injuries or chronic disorders such as arthritis, may need a gentler incline to get around safely while preventing further injury. Dog ramps can give them a shallow rise toward the places they need to go.

3.   When you have a smaller dog or puppy

Smaller dog breeds still want to be beside their owners, but may simply not be big enough to jump up and down from furniture safely. Depending on the size of your dog, you should be able to find dog stairs that will allow them to join you wherever you are. Just keep in mind that the rise of each step should be low enough for them to handle.

The same goes for puppies, though a little more care is in order with such young dogs. They may not be coordinated enough or confident enough to go upstairs, even small ones. A dog ramp will be easier for them to grasp, provided the slope is shallow enough for them. If necessary, you can also find dog ramps with guardrails on the sides to lessen the risk of your puppy falling off and hurting themselves.

Which Is Better?

So, which is better – dog stairs or a dog ramp? It really depends on your individual pet and what its needs are. If you’re not sure which would be best, talk to your veterinarian – they’ll be able to give you expert advice on which option would work best for your four-legged friend.