If you're the owner of a small or medium sized dogs who could somehow benefit from some sort of assistance to get on and off the couch, or bed, you may be evaluating the differences in a dog ramp versus dog stairs.
There are a few considerations that we outline here. Be sure to read all the way through because we saved the MOST IMPORTANT consideration for last!
The first thing to consider is the functionality of stairs or a ramp for your dog, and in doing so, a few sub-points:
Your dog's physical ability and inclination towards a ramp or stairs is the first thing to consider. If you have a young, active, or physically fit dog that does stairs all the time, they can probably manage well on stairs, while dogs who are not as physically able, or dogs for who you want to stop or slow excessive stair use (perhaps for the safety aspect), would benefit more from the single-sloped, gradual incline of a ramp.
Virtually all pet stairs that we've seen are static and solid in shape and configuration. And they can only reach one set height, meaning depending on the height of your bed or couch, they may arrive too short, or over exceed the ideal height for your situation. With the goal of having your dog use such a device, you want to ensure you have as many factors in your favor as possible. Having stairs or a ramp that lines up appropriately for your bed or couch will increase the chance your dog will use it.
Our couch and bed ramps for instance, are adjustable in height, and can meet virtually ever height of couch or bed easily.
Since dog stairs usually come as a single, volumetric block, they are inevitably more difficult to store away easily without taking up a lot of storage space. All DoggoRamps ramps can be folded flat for easy storage under a bed or couch, or upright in a closer or elsewhere.
Likewise, although admittedly not many people travel with their ramp or stairs, some people do! If you're spending some time at the cabin or away from home, some people do travel with their ramp. This isn't as easy with a big block of stairs.
Since stairs generally allow for more height gain in a shorter distance than a ramp, stairs usually take up less floor space. An equivalent ramp would reach the same respective height as stairs but over a longer distance, which takes up more floor space, but also allows for a more gradual incline and an easier climb.
One consideration though, is that stairs almost always need to be placed perpendicular to the couch or bed. Ramps can also be placed perpendicular (A), but they also work very well placed parallel (B) to the couch or bed.
For a couch layout such as above, the stairs win for floor space usage. But when it comes to a bedroom, the tables change.
Because our bed ramp sits parallel and flush to the bed, it actually takes up much less space in the bedroom compared to the set of stairs sticking out. This difference becomes quite noticeable in a place like a bedroom where space is generally quite valuable.
This is similar to a point made above on which solution your dog might be more inclined to use, but what about when the doorbell rings? In other words, is stairs or ramp more likely to be used when your dog is in a rush?
When your dog is in a rush, such as for a doorbell, they just look for the fastest way down. One benefit of a ramp is that it can be used fast or slow, as long as it's positioned smartly in the room for intuitive use. However, it's hard for a dog to use stairs very slow, or on the other hand, very fast.
Thus, when in a rush, a dog might easily leap right over stairs, or at least off the top step, while they can just as easily run fast down a ramp - which means in the end, they've still used the ramp.
The majority of dog owners who are looking for a solution to help their dog get on and off furniture are doing so for the safety of their pet. So if you're reading this, you likely already know the importance of preventing your pup from jumping on and off furniture so as to avoid injuries, especially if you own a dachshund or corgi that are prone to back problems.
But even if your dog isn't overly prone to injuries, you still may want them to start using a ramp as they get older, have/develop a physical condition, or to just go easier on their joints.
The answer is yes. While stairs are better than nothing, a ramp is the only solution that is completely impact-free. This can absolutely make a difference, again, especially for those breeds like dachshunds and corgis whose backs are prone to injury; where even small, repeated impacts can slowly cause further damage to the discs.
This is also why technically, these breeds should not be doing stairs in the house. A gate system at the top and bottom of stairs is recommended, and you should carry them up and down if they need to change floors in the home.
All in all, we definitely think a dog ramp is the more versatile and safer option for your dog. But everyone, every dog, and every home are different, so just make sure you take all this points into consideration when deciding.
At DoggoRamps, we do have a money-back guarantee, so if for any reason it doesn't work or fit in your home, you can return for full refund.