Dogs are known as man’s best friend for a reason. They offer companionship, love, and loyalty to their owners, and they’re always happy to see you. But even the best of friends need a little help now and then, which is why dog stairs can be so helpful. Dog stairs provide a way for your furry friend to get up on furniture or into cars without having to jump or climb, which can be difficult or dangerous for them.
If you’re looking for the best dog stairs on the market, look no further than our list below. We’ve compiled some of the top-rated dog stairs available today, so you can be sure your pup is safe and comfortable no matter where he needs to go.
Benefits of Using Dog Stairs
For older or younger dogs who have issues with joint pain, using dog stairs allows them to climb to constricted spaces without needing help from humans. This can be especially useful in homes with multiple floor levels, allowing your pup access to all areas in the home without always needing to be carried up or down stairs.
Some dogs have trouble getting in and out of bed, couches, and other elevated beds, so using dog stairs can help them get in and out with ease. Additionally, for dogs who are nervous about being picked up or carried around, being able to climb their own stairs can help them build some independence and never be completely dependent on humans for assistance.
Best Dog Stairs
How To Choose the Right Stairs for Your Dog
When it comes to finding the right stairs for your dog, there are a few things you should consider first.
Number of Steps
The more steps your dog has to climb, the harder it will be on his joints. For senior dogs with joint problems, stairs with as little as three steps should be sufficient. However, if your dog is younger and seems to struggle getting up to high beds or couches, using stairs with several more steps will help them avoid unnecessary strain and injury.
Width and Height
A good rule of thumb to use when determining how high a step you can add is that the top step should be less than half of your dog’s body length. For example, if your dog is 20 inches from neck to tail, a good high for a step would be 10 inches. Make sure each step remains at least six inches in width so it doesn’t become too uncomfortable or narrow for your dog to climb, especially if he’s on the heavy side.
If you have an especially large dog, it’s important to pay attention to the weight limit on each set of stairs. Some stairs designed specifically for dogs are sturdy enough to hold up to 150 pounds, so they’re perfect for larger breeds. However, many stairs aren’t built to hold such large dogs and can buckle or collapse under their weight. If you have a very large breed dog, always keep the weight limit of your chosen set of dog stairs in mind before making a final purchase.
Because most stairs are placed on surfaces like couches and beds, the material of those surfaces will usually dictate what material your stairs should be made out of as well. If you place your stairs directly onto wood or another hard surface, that surface won’t give your pup any traction to climb on. Stairs on this type of surface will need some form of grip tape on the stairs themselves so your dog won’t slip or lose his footing on the way up.
If you have a plush couch, however, placing dog stairs directly onto it can cause damage to your furniture and won’t provide the traction your pup needs. Instead, if you’re looking for a dog bed or stairs to place on top of furniture, look for ones with rubber feet on the bottom so they won’t slide off and become damaged.
While most dog stairs are relatively simple in design and function, some do have added features. If your dog is big, old, or has trouble getting around, you may want to consider stairs with a built-in ramp so he won’t have to climb completely upright. Other useful features include non-skid steps and covers for when the stairs are not in use so your pup won’t chew on them or scratch up the surface they’re resting on.
As with any purchase, it is best to consider your dog’s specific needs before purchasing and make sure the stairs you choose will meet those needs and provide him with safety and comfort. A few features we like to look for include rubber feet at the bottom of the stairs to avoid sliding, rugged construction to ensure they can hold up against large dogs, and good traction for pets who have trouble holding their footing.
Dog Steps or Ramps?
In search of a dog step, most people will find themselves faced with 2 distinct types of stairs: set of stairs and ramp. While there are some cases where buying a combination is the best solution for your needs, you should really consider if a dog ramp or stairs will meet your pet’s needs better. There are a number of pro’s and con’s for both types of stairs, although the main con to dog ramps is that they can be dangerous if not set up properly.
How To Train Your Dog to Use the Stairs
When you first bring your dog stairs, it may take some time for him to get used to them. This is not because he’s stubborn or lazy but simply because he isn’t sure what they are or why you want him to use them. Since dogs are creatures of habit, they like to stick to the same route every time they need to get somewhere. In order to transition your pup from jumping on and off of furniture or having you carry him up the stairs, you will have to train him that going up and down the dog stairs is a normal part of his everyday life.
Step #1 – Shaping
Training a dog to use stair requires patience and repetition. Getting your dog to use the stairs for the first time may take anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour, depending largely on your dog’s age and temperament as well as how many times you have done this process before. In the beginning, simply placing your pup on a step or two of the steps is enough to get them used to using the stairs. A good rule of thumb is to keep training sessions short and sweet, just a few minutes at a time 3-4 times a day. Remain patient and do not push your pet too far in one session.
Step #2 – Reinforcement
Once your dog has had a chance to get used to going up and down the stairs a few times, it’s time to reinforce the behavior. Next time your pup uses the steps on his own accord, give him lots of praise and maybe even a treat. This will help your dog associate going up and down the stairs with positive actions, which will make continuing this training easier for both of you.
Step #3 – Confidence Building
The next step is to get your dog used to walking up and down the stairs quickly. Introduce his favorite toy or treat at the top of the stairs, then have him follow it. The faster he goes, the better. When your dog seems confident using the stairs to go up, start sending him down. Have a handful of treats or his favorite toy at the bottom and entice him to take the steps on his own volition. Tossing a treat down each step as he descends will also help speed things along!
Step #4 – Repeat
Training a dog to use the stairs does not have to be difficult, but it will take time and patience. Most dogs pick up on the behavior quickly with a little bit of reinforcement from their owner. As long as you are patient with your pup each step of the way, he will eventually come around to using the stairs to get up and down the house. Just be sure to keep his training sessions to a maximum of 10 minutes for each session and take several minutes in between each one so your dog does not become overstimulated.