Whether you have a senior dog with mobility issues or a dog with small legs like Dachshunds or Corgis, your pooch needs stairs or ramps. Also, if your dog has to deal with high surfaces every day even if he’s healthy, agile, and can climb easily, he needs a ramp or stairs to avoid extra stress on his joints.

Both dog ramps and dog stairs serve more or less the same purpose. They make higher spots accessible for dogs and stop extra wear and tear on their joints. Moreover, it eliminates lifting up your dog every time you want them in your car or a bed. Not to mention how cumbersome it gets when you have a large dog. Keep reading, we are going to discuss dog stairs and ramp 101 in this article.

When to Consider a Dog Ramp or Stairs

Each dog is different in terms of personality, breed, size, stage of life, and medical conditions. So considering that I’ve discussed five different cases and what’s more suitable for them, stairs or a ramp.

Senior Dogs Who Generally Have Trouble Climbing

Senior dog’s bones have gone through lots of wear and tear due to their lifelong agile activities. And since they’re old and less mobile, they can’t just bounce beside you on your couch to cuddle. 

And when you’re not around and your pooch wants to be on your bed, it can do it without any pain and trouble. Dog ramps are generally a better option than stairs for senior dogs because a ramp is easier to use than steps. 

If your dog is senior and has difficulty getting in the car, your bed, or the couch, you should get a ramp. If space is the issue, you can get the one that folds. Usually failed attempts to be on high spots is the first alarming sign that your dog badly needs a ramp. 

Arthritic Dogs

Dogs can develop different kinds of arthritis and the condition causes excruciating pain and discomfort when they climb up or down. In fact, an arthritic dog can also feel pain on being touched so you can’t even lift them up. Dog ramps are perfect for such dogs.

Small Dogs

It’s not tough to perceive the difficulty of a teacup dog or a toy pooch when he wants to climb as small as 20-25 inches high surfaces. Sometimes they seem to be cool and enjoy leaping from the couch and the car. But their daily scores of jumping up and down may exceed what their joints can withstand. 

Ignoring this can pose the risk of arthritis and bone injuries. The same goes for the dogs with a disproportionate body to legs ratio, for example, Dachshunds. They always need to be scooped up.

Dog stairs with each step of appropriate height or ramps are just fine for your buddy. They can be trained to use both. 

Puppies

Puppies are too tiny to bounce from even small steps. Those critters sound so funny when they fall while they walk and stumble. But on a serious note, they are growing and have delicate bones and joints.

The impact of jumping from a high place can cause severe injuries. All in all, either you hoist them every time or use a ramp if they want to be on your couch or other furniture items. Puppies usually seem to scurry all the time and in your absence, a ramp can be a great safety measure.

Dogs With Injuries and Recovering 

If your dog is injured and recovering, he may need assistance to access higher places like your bed, couch, or car. Here are some injuries when you should consider a ramp or stairs; pain in shoulders, legs, or joints, broken toenails, paw pad injuries, traumatic elbow joint, slipped knee caps, injuries caused by jumping down from higher surfaces, and spinal injuries.

Stairs Vs. Ramp

The purpose a dog ramp or stairs serves is the same, but since their structure is different, you may want to prefer one over the other in different circumstances.

While dog stairs obviously make high surfaces easily accessible, they still can put pressure on the joints and ligaments. On the other hand, a ramp is equivalent to inclined walking and is more comfortable than using stairs.

However, agile dogs or the canines who can maneuver climbing stairs easily can use dog stairs just quite well.

But if the dog finds climbing stairs difficult, you will have to teach him how to use them first or a ramp would be the right choice. Tiffany Morefield, DVM, Author & Veterinary Advisor at DogNeedsBest says, “Some big cars or a truck are higher than most normal cars and a dog can’t get into space easily. In this case, collapsible dog ramps for cars and SUVs are great because they can be stored in the trunk easily and are easy to set up.”

All in all, whether to choose stairs or a ramp totally depends on your dog and keeping convenience in mind. If you ask me, always try to choose a ramp over stairs whenever it’s feasible.

How to Choose Stairs

Deep steps are easier for a dog to maneuver climbing. If your dog can easily climb human stairs without any discomfort, a stair height of 10-12 inches would be fine. On the other hand, if you have a puppy or a small dog, you should get foam stairs with a comparatively small height. However, it’s important to note that foam stairs are not suitable for heavy large dogs.

If you’re not sure what stairs would be a good fit, please check with the product’s description. It always mentions the permissible weight and dimensions that can help in making decisions. Also, please ensure that the surface of the stairs is anti-skid for better traction.

What to Look For While Choosing A Dog Ramp

Ensure that the ramp you’re thinking of buying is high enough so that a dog doesn’t have to climb the surface when he is at the highest surface of the ramp. Not to mention, the surface should be anti-skid so that your dog can grip on it while walking.

If you need to take it along with you when you’re traveling, you should go for the one that folds, is sturdy, and lightweight.

Measure a height your dog would need to climb with a tape measure and check out the product description before buying. That will suffice.

The EndNote

Your dog needs a ramp or stairs if he climbs up and gets off from high surfaces frequently. You might wonder if your puppy is so energetic and seems to be enjoying scurrying around the house and doesn’t really need a ramp. Well, it’s wrong to think that way because each leap can injure the puppy’s ligament and joints only to know later in his life that he needs surgery. Also, the cost of surgery can burn a hole in your pocket if you don’t have pet insurance. Be wise and take a step forward in making your pet’s life safer and better.


About the author: Tiffany Morefield, DVM; When things come crashing down, Tiffany comes to the rescue! As a veterinary medicine graduate, she is the brain behind the in-depth analysis of the products. As an avid dog lover, she is earnestly driven to find the finest options. Any article on DogNeedsBest that has to do anything with your pet’s health goes under scrutiny before getting published.