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Are walking up and down stairs daily bad for dogs? I have heard this topic everywhere but it only confuses me more...

Can it be harmful?
 

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I would ask the vet about your specific dog if you have concern, but in a healthy dog, no. My vet recommended stairs to help kabota build muscle in his back end. If the dog has medical issues like dysplasia, stairs would be painful, so it depends.
 

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Are walking up and down stairs daily bad for dogs? I have heard this topic everywhere but it only confuses me more...

Can it be harmful?
You know the old saying, "Never say never".

However, I think it is safe to say that with very few exceptions, using stairs at a moderate pace will not be harmful.

It's always a good idea to ask your vet, but actually, the sort of (rare) physical conditions that could cause problems are not going to discovered at their early stages in a typical routine vet examination. Also, there are some breeds that have a tendency toward those sort of conditions - your breeder or breed rescue would be the one to ask about that


That having been said, there are a few things to be aware of.


  • Puppies - and adult dogs that haven't been exposed to them, - have to be taught to use the stairs. With puppies, there are many sources all over the web that will tell you how to do it. Some adults - notably rescue greyhounds, but it could be any rescue dog - know nothing about stairs, so they have to be taught as well.

  • Again with puppies, try to keep the use of stairs to necessary uses at a moderate pace. Don't use the stairs as a plaything. Puppy growth plates can be injured by too much or too fast climbing and jumping.

  • With all dogs, be aware of the potential for injury. Large dogs especially. Dogs can and have suffered sprains and muscle injuries on stairs. Be aware of obstructions, turns and the like that could be problematic. Also, some dogs have a tendency to jump the stairs - or jump some steps - going down. That is another potential for injury.
 

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You know the old saying, "Never say never".

However, I think it is safe to say that with very few exceptions, using stairs at a moderate pace will not be harmful.

It's always a good idea to ask your vet, but actually, the sort of (rare) physical conditions that could cause problems are not going to discovered at their early stages in a typical routine vet examination. Also, there are some breeds that have a tendency toward those sort of conditions - your breeder or breed rescue would be the one to ask about that


That having been said, there are a few things to be aware of.


  • Puppies - and adult dogs that haven't been exposed to them, - have to be taught to use the stairs. With puppies, there are many sources all over the web that will tell you how to do it. Some adults - notably rescue greyhounds, but it could be any rescue dog - know nothing about stairs, so they have to be taught as well.

  • Again with puppies, try to keep the use of stairs to necessary uses at a moderate pace. Don't use the stairs as a plaything. Puppy growth plates can be injured by too much or too fast climbing and jumping.

  • With all dogs, be aware of the potential for injury. Large dogs especially. Dogs can and have suffered sprains and muscle injuries on stairs. Be aware of obstructions, turns and the like that could be problematic. Also, some dogs have a tendency to jump the stairs - or jump some steps - going down. That is another potential for injury.
There are times when them not knowing how to use stairs IS a good thing...that's the only place our cats feel truly safe from being herded...Altho Conner doesn't believe there is an invisible fence at the bottom of the stairs....we need a tallwalk thru gate now. :)

Liz
 

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My new house has stairs and it took Coco all of a day to learn to use them. Now she bounds up and down the stairs. I really can't get her to go slower. She turned 11 months old today, though, and I think her growing is about done.

I do have carpeting on the stairs, though. My parents don't have carpeting on their stairs, and one of their dogs really hates going up and down. She can't get proper footing. And she also has some back issues, so she shouldn't be going up and down stairs that much, anyway.

It depends on the dog, the age, and the health. But stairs aren't unhealthy as a rule.
 

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I know that our vet, and trainer have both told us to limit/monitor stair use, but we have dachshunds, and their long bodies don't go up stairs as easily.....plus they are prone to back problems.

The other thing I worry about is stairs that might be slippery, hardwood, polished or waxed, etc., so the dog loses it's footing as it's using the stairs.
 
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