Are Stairs Or Ramps Better for Dogs?

Are Stairs or Ramps Better for Dogs?

It is always convenient to have a standard way to go when making decisions. However, deciding whether stairs or ramps are better for dogs is not a one choice fits all issue, as you will see below. By the time you finish reading this, you should be able to answer the question: Are stairs or ramps better for dogs?

Uses of stairs or ramps

Uses of stairs or ramps
Image source: Pixabay

Pet owners require ramps/stairs in the following situations:

  • For help with senior and/or arthritic dogs
  • For assistance with dogs that have other hip and joint issues
  • They help avoid putting stress on dog joints and hips.
  • Small puppies and small breed dogs may need help getting onto beds or into cars.

Research shows that climbs and jumps increase the likelihood of arthritis. Using ramps/stairs minimizes the load that such habitual activities place on dogs’ joints. Aside from the more serious conditions like arthritis, a dog that is constantly jumping or leaping about can have the following injuries:

  • Broken toenails
  • Elbow joint injury
  • Injuries to foot pad
  • Legs, shoulder, and wrist sprains
  • Slipped kneecaps which can occur when dogs hop on their hind legs before jumping.
  • Spinal injuries especially in dogs with short legs and long backs.

So, stairs or ramps?

So, stairs or ramps?
Image source: Unsplash

Given that every pet’s condition is different, there cannot be one standard or simple way to go when it comes to choosing between stairs or a ramp for your pet. However, you can look at the kinds of dogs that do better with stairs, and the kinds of dogs that do better with ramps. From that, you will be able to make a judgement about which option is best for your pet.

When are Stairs are a good choice?

When are Stairs are a good choice?
Image Source: Unsplash

If your dog is agile and balanced enough to use stairs, then stairs are a good option. Usually, if your pet can handle the standard household stairs, then stairs are a good choice for him/her. Several dog stairs are easily moved around, so they can be transferred between the home and the car easily. In addition, they use less floor space than ramps which is a plus. Small breed dogs and little puppies could also do well with stairs. They can help to protect the little joints of the small dogs and reduce their frequency of leaping.

When are Ramps a good choice?

When are Ramps a good choice?
Image Source: Unsplash

In a situation where your dog is finding it difficult to use the stairs in your house, it may be better to use a dog ramp. In addition, if you live on one level and the dog is not used to climbing stairs, a ramp may be a good idea.

Aside from these situations, you find that older/senior dogs tend to do pretty well with ramps too. Having used their joints for several years, they will find it easier using a ramp in the event of getting into the car or climbing up a level. Aside from the elderly, arthritic dogs also do better with ramps than with stairs. Climbing up stairs could likely be a more painful task for such dogs than moving up a ramp.

Furthermore, for dogs recovering from surgery or an injury, ramps are probably the best option. They are easier to navigate than stairs so injured or even handicapped dogs will find the ramps much easier to work with.

More on Stairs

More on Stairs
Image Source: Pixabay

Benefits of stairs

  • They take up less space when being used.
  • Mostly more ergonomic than ramps
  • Can be placed alongside a chair or bed.
  • Can be used outside your home, next to vehicles or doors for example.
  • Pet stairs are easily customized.
  • Often cheaper than ramps

Features to consider

  • The surface of the stairs should have a steady grip. Consider getting stairs with carpeting to prevent your pet from slipping and falling.
  • Stairs Dimensions: Overall height of stairs, the rise of each step, depth of stairs, the width of stairs.
  • Materials used: Options available include foam, plastic, wood, metal. A dog over 100 lbs will probably not do so well with foam stairs, but stairs made of harder material like wood may work better for him/her.
  • Weight limit of pet stairs: Make sure the pet stairs you purchase can carry your pet!

More on Ramps

More on Ramps
Image Source: Unsplash

Benefits of ramps

  • Easiest for arthritic or disabled pets
  • Good for aged pets
  • Often sturdier than stairs
  • Can be placed alongside a chair or bed.
  • Can be used outside your home, next to vehicles(cars, boats, etc) or doors for example

Features to consider

  • Ramp dimensions: Decide on the best height and width of your dog ramp. A tall ramp is usually more than 2 feet high, and a low ramp is usually 1.5 feet high or lower. A wider ramp is often easier for your dog to maneuver when it is climbing. The angle of the ramp incline should also not be too steep.
  • You should be able to store your ramp easily.
  • It should be lightweight and adjustable.
  • Portable dog ramps are great too.
  • It should be reliable and sturdy.
  • It may be a good idea to buy a ramp with carpeting so that your pet will not slip on the surface and fall. The grip of the surface is important.
  • For safety purposes, front and back rear stabilizers must be well fitted on the ramp, the surface should be steady and ramps with side railings can provide even more security for your pet.

So, are stairs or ramps better for dogs?

So, are stairs or ramps better for dogs?
Image Source: Unsplash

As you may now see, you just cannot go with a one choice fits all approach to answer this question. It is possible to determine which option is better for your dog, but not which is better for dogs in general. Once you make your decision, you can purchase a well-priced ramp or stairs for your dog today!

Written by Christine Quist

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