Does Your Dog Need a Dog Ramp? (5 BIG Factors to Consider)

How to Know if Your Dog Needs an Indoor Dog Ramp

For all of us at DoggoRamps, nothing is more important than supporting the health, happiness, and comfort of our four-legged family members.

Jumping on and off furniture poses a lot of risks for dogs, so we created a line up of high-quality dog ramps to help pups:

  • Reduce the amount of daily stress they put on their joints and spines
  • Safely and easily enjoy their favorite hangout spots whenever they would like

While pet ramps can benefit ALL breeds and pet owners alike, dog ramps may be a necessity for specific breeds and situations.

If you’re wondering whether it’s time to introduce your dog to a ramp, here are 4 scenarios where having an indoor ramp is a MUST and 1 commonly overlooked situation to watch out for.

How is Jumping Off Beds and Couches Bad for Dogs?

To get started, it’s first important to understand exactly why jumping off furniture can be dangerous for dogs. After all, jumping often looks like such a natural and easy thing for dogs to do. 

Jumping places extra stress on a dog’s back and joints since the activity requires a great deal more effort from their body than walking or running. Constant jumping and the repeated impact from landing puts even more strain on their spines and joints, which can lead to discomfort, pain, and even serious injuries.

Jumping off couches, beds, and other pieces of furniture indoors can be especially risky due to the surfaces dogs may have to land on. Tile, laminate, and hardwood floors are often slippery for dogs. Landing on these hard and smooth surfaces typically demands additional effort from a dog’s joints as they try to avoid sliding and remain on all four paws after landing. Dogs can face similar challenges with flimsy carpets and clutter. 

However, leaping off AND on furniture can pose extra dangers for the following pups:

1. Dogs Prone to Spinal Conditions and Injuries (IVDD)

Breeds prone to spinal conditions, such as Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD), have a significantly higher risk of experiencing serious back issues and injuries from jumping.

IVDD is most common in breeds with long spines, such as Dachshunds, Corgis, and Basset Hounds, and dogs with short yet stout appearances, like French Bulldogs, Pomeranians, Yorkies, and Shih Tzus. Other dogs that are prone to IVDD include (but are not limited to) Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Doberman Pinchers along with overweight pups. 

A Basset Hound standing on his Large Bed Ramp for Dogs

Gussy the Basset Hound began using the DoggoRamps Large Bed Ramp after his older brother Chuck (@chuck_thebasset) struggled with recurring IVDD episodes and experienced paralysis in his back legs.

IVDD can be triggered by the impact from a jump and cause dogs to experience severe pain and even paralysis. Treating IVDD often requires intensive and expensive surgeries and months of rehabilitation treatments.

Fortunately, ramps provide an impact-free alternative to jumping and can play a vital role in keeping your dog’s back safe.

A Dachshunds stands on his DoggoRamps Couch Ramp

When cleared by a Vet, ramps can also support dogs after IVDD flare-ups: This Dachshund's paw-rent trained him to use DoggoRamps Couch Ramps after the pup recovered from his IVDD surgery. Regis' ramp has allowed him to preserve his independence and continue enjoying his favorite places without having to jump. 

2. Dogs Susceptible to Joint Issues 

Indoor ramps can also be immensely helpful for dogs that are susceptible to joint issues. 

Patellar Luxation is one of the most common joint conditions that affects small dogs. It is a genetic condition where a dog’s knee cap chronically slips out of place and can lead to discomfort and pain. Patellar Luxation also leaves dogs more vulnerable to arthritis, sustaining hip and leg injuries, and developing weakened back legs. The knee condition frequently impacts Pomeranians, Yorkshire Terriers, Chihuahuas, French Bulldogs, and Shih Tzus. 

A Chihuahua sits on top of her dog ramp for the couch

This Chihuahua with Luxating Patella uses her Couch Ramp to help take the stress off her afflicted knee.

On the other hand, while any dog can experience Hip and Elbow Dysplasia, these two conditions most commonly affect medium and large breeds. Hip or Elbow Dysplasia occurs when a dog's hip or elbow joints do not fit properly and/or develop abnormally. Both Hip and Elbow Dysplasia are usually genetic, but rapid growth, weight gain, trauma, and nutrition can also be factors. Dogs with these conditions may experience pain, reduced mobility, and face difficulties standing up, running, and jumping. 

Breeds predisposed to Hip and Elbow Dysplasia include: German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Rottweilers, Golden Retrievers, and Saint Bernards.

While using ramps can’t prevent a genetic condition, pet ramps can:

  • Help minimize the amount of stress affected dogs place on their joints on a daily basis
  • Reduce discomfort
  • Decrease the chances or severity of secondary joint issues or injuries
  • Provide dogs with the opportunity to enjoy a higher quality of life

A German Shepherd rests on the bed with his bed ramp for dogs beside him

Rammus the German Shepherd was introduced to the Large Bed Ramp after he started experiencing issues with his hips and knees. His Hoomans report that he is now "1,000% happier" using his ramp to get in and out of bed.

3. Miniature and Toy Breeds

Jumping on and off couches, beds, and other pieces of furniture poses great risks for toy and miniature breeds for a few key reasons:

  • As outlined above, many small breeds are predisposed to joint and back issues, such as Patellar Luxation and IVDD. These conditions can be easily triggered or aggravated through jumping.
  • Their tiny bodies are simply more delicate and fragile than the bodies of bigger breeds. The chances of sustaining an injury when leaping off a couch or bed are much higher.
  • As well, it’s important to consider that the distance from a couch or bed to the floor can be at least 2-3 times a small dog’s height. Jumping such distances places significantly more stress on their bones and joints than a medium or large breed hopping from the same height.

Training a miniature or toy breed to use a ramp instead of jumping can help reduce the risk of sustaining jumping-related injuries and complications. 

DoggoRamps Couch and Bed Ramps are popular among the following small breeds:

Miniature and Toy Breeds using Dog Ramps for Couches and Beds

Many Chihuahuas, Yorkies, Pugs, Shih Tzus, Miniature Dachshunds, and Pomeranians are proud DoggoRamps users. 

4. Ageing Dogs and Dogs with Arthritis

According to the American Animal Hospital Association, approximately 1 in 5 dogs get diagnosed with Osteoarthritis in their lifetime. As our four-legged friends age, the cartilage between their joints can start to break down leading to inflammation, pain, and reduced mobility. Injuries, placing repeated stress on their joints, and joint abnormalities can also influence the development of arthritis. 

Ramps can make life for senior dogs easier at home by allowing them to continue enjoying their favorite places while also reducing the amount of additional strain they place on their joints.

Two senior dogs sleep on the couch with their dog ramp in front of them

The DoggoRamps Couch Ramp helps these two senior pups easily reach and cuddle up in their favorite hangout spot.

Changes in Jumping Habits

Please Note: if you notice any changes in your dog’s behavior or temperament, it’s important to seek veterinary advice as soon as possible.

There are a couple of jumping habits that pet owners may consider “cute” or “adorable”, but they also signal that your dog could be experiencing discomfort or pain:

Your Dog Demands to Be Lifted

Some pups love nothing more than snuggling up with their paw-rents on the couch or bed. However, if your dog suddenly decides that they only want to be lifted and refuse to jump, this may indicate that there’s a bigger issue at play than a stubborn personality.

Your Dog Hesitates Before Jumping

In other cases, a dog may still choose to jump, but will show signs of hesitation before taking the leap. This can include bouncing up and down a handful of times before attempting the full jump or pacing around an edge before finally deciding to hop down.

While indoor ramps are incredibly helpful for dogs experiencing mobility issues, after determining the reason for your dog’s change in behavior with your Veterinarian, it’s important to ask if and when it would be the best time to introduce your pup to a ramp.

Yorkie hesitating before jumping vs using dog ramp with ease

Just before his 6th birthday, Tosh the Yorkie started showing signs of hesitation before jumping onto the couch and bed. After sustaining a small injury from jumping and with recommendations from his Vet, Tosh's paw-rents introduced him to a ramp to help relieve the amount of stress he places on his joints. He now enjoys his favorite hangout spots with ease.  

Dog ramps for couches and beds can truly support the wellbeing of ALL dogs - regardless of age or size. However, there are a handful of scenarios where introducing your pup to a pet ramp may be a necessity.

In these situations, ramps are typically the best solution over pet stairs as dogs with back or joint issues need to reduce the amount of stress they place on their bodies. A ramp is the only solution that is impact-free

Here at DoggoRamps, all our products have been specifically designed with your pup’s safety in mind:

  • All ramps are made out of furniture-grade hardwood - providing added sturdiness and stability
  • Every ramp features our anti-slip PAWGRIP for incredible traction (that’s stronger than any carpet!)
  • Our bed ramps can also be adjusted for tall beds and feature removable and reversible railings for extra safety
  • All ramps have a low-incline design making them easy for dogs to navigate
  • And more!

To find out which ramp would be the perfect fit for your pup and space, check out:

Happy Ramping!

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