It is not uncommon for senior pets (large dogs over age 6 and small dogs and cats over age 7) to have difficulty accessing high places, such as the bed, couch, or other higher surface in and around your home. Millions of pets are injured every year attempting to jump up on or get up on higher surfaces, sometimes breaking a leg or severely injuring a tendon or joint. Senior pets often suffer from joint injuries or illnesses such as hip dysplasia, arthritis, torn ACL or other ailments, making jumping almost impossible for them. What’s more frustrating, is how heartbreaking it is to see an older dog or an injured dog attempt something he could once do, only to discover that he can no longer get on the surface he is attempting to get on.
Pet steps and stairs designed specifically for pets can help your pet regain his confidence and bring him the joy of being on his beloved surface. Pet steps and stairs are typically designed to be used at home or in a vehicle and come in a wide variety of styles and sizes. Steps and stairs are like regular stairs, although some have a shorter rise for smaller dogs and are designed to make it easier for your pet to get from point A to point B.
Pet steps and stairs can make life easier for your pet because they can provide an easier way for them to get where they want to go, or where you need them to go. This is especially true for larger dogs who may weigh too much for you to lift. Pet steps and stairs can help give your older pet confidence and can cause less stress for smaller pets who often take a big jump to get off and on some surfaces.
How do you know if pet steps and stairs are right for your pet?
Here are some specific things to factor when considering pet steps and stairs:
Does your pet enjoy being on high surfaces he cannot reach on his own?
Some pets enjoy sitting on the couch during the day while they wait for their family to get home from work or school. It can be dangerous for a pet to attempt to jump onto or off the couch without help, especially if no one is home to assist them. Pet stairs and steps can help you pet get where they want to go more easily.
Is your pet older?
Senior pets (large dogs over age 6 and small dogs and cats over age 7) may not be able to jump like they once did. Pet steps and stairs can help them navigate higher places without worrying they may injure themselves.
Does your pet have an illness like arthritis, joint pain, or hip dysplasia?
Certain illnesses might make jumping up on furniture painful for your pet. Pet steps and stairs can make getting on and off furniture more comfortable for your pet.
Does your pet have an injury or are they recovering from surgery?
Surgery or an injury can take a lot out of your pet. Some surgeries or injuries can make jumping painful, difficult or even impossible, especially if your pet has a splint or cast on his leg. Pet steps and stairs can make getting up on higher surfaces easier for your pet.
Do you have physical limitations that make helping your pet into the car challenging?
Some pet owners have physical limitations, whether due to age or illness that may cause them to have difficulties lifting a pet. For instance, if you have a bad back, or if your dog is a too heavy for you to lift, it may be hard for you to lift your pet onto the bed. Pet steps and stairs can help ensure you won’t injure yourself whenever you want to take a nap with your pet.
Sometimes, it’s not about anything except pampering your furry friend. If your dog or cat enjoys being with you when you sleep and if you think your pet would enjoy getting on and off the bed on his own, then steps and stairs may be ideal for you and your pet.
You should consult with your vet when considering steps and stairs for your senior pet because every situation is different and what may be right for one pet, may not be right for another pet.
Which pet steps and stairs to choose?
So, you’ve decided to invest in pet steps or stairs to help your pet get onto furniture. Which pet steps and stairs are right for you? There are a wide variety of pet steps and stairs: Some are made of wood, plastic or high-density foam. Some are designed specifically for smaller pets, while others are designed for larger pets. Some are carpeted or have nonskid surfaces. Some are lightweight and easy to tote from room to room. Some are temporary and can fold out of the way; others are more permanent and can be kept in a fixed location. Here are some things to factor when considering which pet steps or stairs are right for you.
How large is your pet (or will your pet get)?
When purchasing a pet steps and stairs, size matters. You want to be sure you select a model that will accommodate your pet at full maturity. If you aren’t sure how big your pet will get, consult with your vet for an estimated size and weight.
How do you plan to use the steps and stairs?
Will you be using the steps and stairs to help your pet get on the bed or the couch? If you will be using the steps near the bed, consider how your pet typically would access the furniture and place the steps near where he is accustomed to getting onto the furniture.
Will the pet steps and stairs fit in your space?
Steps and stairs come in different sizes, styles and heights. It’s a good idea to select a steps and stairs that will not only fit the space where you plan to use it, but also fit the size of your pet. It’s important to measure the space and choose steps that will not be in the way of other pets or visitors.
How to train your pet to use a steps and stairs?
A pet steps and stairs are designed to be similar to household stairs. Some dogs may be intimidated at first and will require some training, patience and praise to properly teach your pet to use the steps and stairs. Remember, he may be accustomed to jumping on the furniture, so the steps and stairs may initially be an obstacle.
Some pets are afraid of steps and stairs initially, but with proper training and guidance, and plenty of treats, your pet may learn to love his new way to access the furniture. The best way to train a pet is to guide them up the steps and stairs with a toy or a treat. Most dogs learn to use steps and stairs pretty quickly especially going up the steps and stairs. Going down the steps and stairs can take more time, patience and practice. The tendency will be for them to jump off the surface and completely bypass the steps and stairs. Again, training and patience are key to teaching your dog the proper method for using the steps and stairs, especially if they are accustomed to jumping.
Key features to look for:
When selecting a pet steps and stairs, look for features that will not only benefit your pet, but you and your lifestyle as well. Steps and stairs can coordinate with your home décor and some steps and stairs might be easier on your pet’s joints than others.
Pet steps and stairs are designed specifically for pets and they are not designed to be used by a person. Some are made of wood; others are made of plastic or foam. Some are lightweight and very easy to move from room to room; others are heavier or designed for higher surfaces. Some are designed for small dogs and cats; others are made specifically for large dogs.
If you’d like to help your pet get where he wants to go more easily, then a pet steps and stairs may be something to consider.
Content provided in collaboration with the Elderly Pet Organization and Engaging Pet Products – An Engaged Pet is a Happy Pet.
We do not endorse or promote any products or companies. You should always consult your vet to determine what is most appropriate for your senior pet.