Are Stairs a Threat to Canines? Understanding the Hazards and How to Prevent Them
Has your canine companion mastered the art of climbing stairs? Did they initially fear them? After witnessing your dog in a precarious situation on the stairs, you may have wondered if it is safe for your furry friend to traverse them. In this article, we will examine why stairs pose a danger to dogs and what measures you can take to minimize the risk if you can’t avoid them altogether.
🐾 Is it safe for my dog to use stairs?
For many individuals, such as those who live in apartment buildings or have stairs in their homes, using stairs is a daily occurrence. So, is it safe to allow your dog to join you on this journey?
It is best to avoid having your dog use stairs on a frequent or daily basis.
In particular, the stairs within your home may not be suitable for dogs who walk on four legs as the steps are often too steep and narrow.
🐾 Stairs are perilous for pups!
❂ Foot and back pain
Dogs do not have a natural aptitude for climbing stairs.
They struggle to navigate narrow, multi-step stairs and doing so places them in an awkward posture that is not only uncomfortable for their legs and back but also hazardous.
The repetitive motion of going down the stairs, with their upper body facing downwards, places a significant amount of stress on the lower back, potentially causing strain and injury.
Even if your dog appears to be able to use the stairs with ease, continued exposure can lead to increased strain and raise the risk of a herniated disc.
A herniated disc in dogs can result in paralysis of the lower body.
🐾 How to Discourage Your Dog from Using Stairs
Now that we know that stairs can pose a threat to dogs, what can you do if you must use them regularly?
❂ Installation of gates
Installing gates at the entrance and exit of the stairs is the simplest solution to prevent accidents in your home. There are pet gates as well as baby gates available with a variety of functions and heights to choose from. It is also a good idea to keep your dog off the first and second floors by installing a gate and letting them stay on the floor they are comfortable with when you are not home.
Carrying your dog up and down the stairs is the quickest way to keep them safe. However, if your dog is too large to be carried, you may need to teach them to climb the stairs without fear. When training, always keep your dog on a leash and practice going up and down at the same pace. Start with a low staircase that your dog can navigate easily, and gradually move on to more challenging stairs, both inside and outside of your home. The goal of the training is for your dog to feel confident and safe on the stairs.
❂ Installation of a non-slip mat
If it is unavoidable for your dog to use stairs in your home or at the entrance or exit, consider placing a non-slip mat to prevent slipping and falling. Some dog owners choose to purchase or build a ramp for their dog or remodel the stairs leading to the entrance. Ramps are preferred over step stairs as they reduce the stress on the legs and feet and lower the risk of injury and herniated discs.
❂ Avoid teaching them to use stairs
It is best to avoid teaching your dog to use stairs if they have limited experience with them. Most dogs will be scared and confused by stairs, and unless you train them, they may never have the opportunity to use them.
Ensuring a safe environment for your dog is your responsibility. While carrying your dog up and down stairs is the quickest solution, it may not be feasible in the long term. It is important to consider alternative options and take the necessary precautions to keep your furry friend safe on stairs.