There's no denying the fact that many dog owners and their pups enjoy spending quality time together by snuggling up on the couch or bed.
However, in order for dogs to access furniture - whether it be for cuddle time or just a nap - they typically have to jump to get on and off.
While jumping up and down from couches and beds may appear like an easy thing for many dogs to do, it doesn’t mean that it’s a safe activity - especially when done on a daily basis. Repetitive jumping on and off furniture actually poses more risks for dogs than most pet owners expect.
So if you’re looking to create a safer and more convenient home environment for your pup, read on to discover 4 reasons why jumping on and off furniture is dangerous for dogs + learn about an impact-free solution that can help keep your four-legged family member safe.
Even though many pups make it look effortless, jumping on and off furniture is a “high-load” activity for dogs. As shown below, it requires a dog’s muscles and joints (particularly those in the legs) to shift, propel, bear, and re-balance their body weight in a matter of seconds.
Despite the fact that a dog may seem capable of jumping a certain height on and off a couch or bed, repeating this leap and experiencing the impact from landing multiple times per day for many years can put unnecessary stress on a dog’s joints. This can easily cause premature wear & tear and even lead to early arthritis.
Providing dogs with a safer alternative to jumping on and off furniture can play a big role in reducing the amount of strain they put on their muscles and joints on a daily basis.
Limb injuries, such as strains, sprains, and muscle tears, are some of the most common injuries in dogs. These injuries are often the result of a dog accidentally overstretching their muscles or landing incorrectly while jumping or running. In fact, jumping up and down a distance higher than their own backs can cause many dogs to push their bodies beyond safe limits.
Standing roughly 15" tall at the shoulder, this Basset Hound is too short to safely make it onto the bed.
If your dog enjoys spending time on the couch or bed, eliminating the need for jumping can help reduce their chances of getting hurt.
It’s not just the height and repetitive nature of jumping on and off furniture that's dangerous for dogs. Different surfaces are also an important factor.
When jumping on and off couches and beds, dogs are required to quickly adjust from hard to soft or soft to hard surfaces. In many cases, many of these surfaces, such as tile or laminate flooring, can be slippery for dogs too. As a result, dogs have to put in extra effort to rapidly adapt to the new surface and remain standing upon landing. This can put a pup at a higher risk of experiencing a strain, sprain, or a twist.
Many dog breeds are prone to developing joint, back, or other musculoskeletal issues. A great deal of small and toy breeds are prone to patellar luxation, many larger dogs are predisposed to hip and/or elbow dysplasia, and according to the American Animal Hospital Association, it’s estimated that 1 in 5 dogs will experience canine arthritis as well.
It's also important to give special consideration to chondrodystrophic breeds (like Dachshunds, Basset Hounds, and French Bulldogs) as they have a high risk of developing Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD).
IVDD is a serious spinal condition where the outer layers of a dog's intervertebral discs prematurely harden. Normally, these discs function as shock absorbers for the spine. However, as the outer layers lose their elasticity due to IVDD, it becomes easier for a disc to bulge or burst. A ruptured or bulging disc can triggered by the impact from a jump and quickly begin compressing a dog's spinal cord. This can lead to to unsteadiness, severe pain, weakened legs, and even paralysis.
The strength required to jump up onto furniture and the impact experienced when landing can not only exacerbate any of the conditions listed above, but it can aggravate a variety of other musculoskeletal problems a dog may be facing too.
Giving your dog an impact-free way of accessing their favorite hangout spots can allow them to enjoy a safer and more comfortable home environment.
While puppies are typically known for being energetic, excitable, and bouncy, jumping on and off furniture isn’t necessarily safe for a puppy of any size. That’s because their growth plates and joints are still developing, which puts puppies at a higher risk of experiencing an injury or permanent damage from jumping on and off furniture.
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), puppy growth plates don’t close until a dog is between 12-15 months of age (or older for many big/giant breeds). If you’d like your puppy to be able to snuggle up with you on the couch or bed, providing them with a safe way of on and off furniture can make a big impact on their joint health when they’re young and later in life.
As many dogs age and enter their senior years, they tend to slow down and become less mobile. You may notice that they begin experiencing a bit of difficulty getting up or laying down, navigating stairs, or jumping. Canine arthritis is common in older dogs as well.
As a result, jumping on and off furniture can cause senior dogs to stretch their limbs and joints past a comfortable range of motion. This can not only increase their chance of injury, but jumping can also quickly aggravate any preexisting joint, back, or leg conditions.
For small dogs, such as Yorkshire Terriers, Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, and Shih Tzus, jumping on and off a couch or bed may involve a distance that’s 2 or even 5 times their height. The Animal Medical Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina reports that jumping such a distance could be the equivalent of a human jumping off a wall triple their height. That’s a lot of repetitive stress on the joints and body!
Even though many larger dogs may be just as tall or even taller than a couch or bed, jumping on and off furniture still has its risks. Compared to smaller breeds, larger dogs weigh quite a bit more. Bearing all that weight can put a great deal of strain on a bigger dog’s joints and back.
If you’d like your dog to be able to enjoy your furniture without putting their joints or back at risk, dog ramps offer the perfect solution. Introducing your dog to an indoor ramp can give them the freedom to safely and easily enjoy their favorite hangout spots whenever they want.
Dogs of all ages and sizes can enjoy the benefits of using dog ramps.
Training your pup to use a ramp can also:
This Dachshund's pet camera caught footage of her independently using her ramp when her parents weren't home!
As dog parents ourselves, nothing is more important to us than your pup’s comfort and safety when getting to and from their favorite spots around the house. That’s why all DoggoRamps are:
After introducing Winston to his couch ramp, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel's owners shared:
"We love our DoggoRamp for our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Winston! He used to jump on and off the couch constantly and slip and slide around on our rug/hardwood floors. We were always so afraid he was going to twist his paw or hurt his joints - especially because CKCS are one of the breeds more prone to joint problems later in life. So grateful that now he can use the DoggoRamp to easily get up and down from the couch without the risk of hurting himself. We really enjoy our couch ramp and the quality is impeccable. A great piece of sturdy furniture and looks great as an addition to our living room. Thanks DoggoRamps!"
To learn more about choosing the right indoor ramp for your dog, check out:
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