dog walking up dog stairs to get on top of bed

Save Your Pup's Joints with These Dog Ramps and Stairs

A dog ramp is particularly helpful for breeds with known back problems, like dachshunds.
By Jennifer Billock
August 03, 2021
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My Boston terrier, Ollie, turned 14 in June. He has a fun little quirk that he can't sleep well unless he's cuddled up next to me under a blanket—which means a lot of bed and couch time. Sadly for my pup, he has arthritis in his hips. He struggles to get up onto higher surfaces and can be in pain when he hops back down. To help him up, I bought a dog ramp.

Why Are Dog Ramps Important?

"From a vet's perspective, there's no upside to pet parents encouraging their pups to take Olympic-sized leaps from furniture; in fact, it's just asking for trouble," says Rebecca Greenstein, DVM, veterinary medical advisor for Rover. "I tell most small dog owners to train their dogs to wait for their humans to gently carry them down or, even better, invest in dog ramps all over the house."

It's pretty common to see injuries happening from dogs jumping on or off things, Greenstein says—things like broken bones, disc trauma in the back or neck, and concussive trauma. 

"Dogs that have degenerative bone and joint disease such as osteoarthritis, dogs that are overweight, and geriatric dogs are further mechanically burdened with the ability to safely accomplish these everyday tasks," says Jerry Klein, DVM, the American Kennel Club's chief veterinary officer.

It's especially important that small dogs like long-bodied dachshunds and toy breeds have a way to get up and down safely and easily, as they're more likely to get intervertebral disc disease, which is similar to a slipped disk in their spine.

"My mini doxie used to launch himself off of furniture at every opportunity, which put him at risk for a number of injuries," Greenstein says. "In breeds like dachshunds, whose shock-absorbing discs are already predisposed to abnormal wear, the sudden force of landing from even a normal jump can be enough to cause bruising and swelling to the spinal cord itself. If the injury is significant enough, they can lose sensation and movement in the hind end, and even emergency surgery can't always guarantee return of function."

To keep your pup happy and healthy for as long as possible, invest in a dog ramp early to prevent any painful injuries. We've selected eight ramps that are safe, durable, and nonslip. Don't repeat my mistake: The first dog ramp I bought for Ollie wasn't the best quality, and he slid down once he took a step.

8 Best Dog Ramps for Pups of All Shapes and Sizes

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