Dog on stairs

Is it ok for my dog to use the stairs at home?

Make your stairs easier for your dog to navigate!

If your dog has arthritis, you want to do everything you can to make them comfortable, especially when they’re at home. While redesigning our homes to suit our dogs’ needs isn’t possible for most of us, you can make a number of simple modifications that will help (and won’t break the bank!).

Modifications for stairs

Stairs aren’t always a bad thing for dogs with arthritis. In fact, walking UP stairs can be a great way to help improve active range of motion, muscle strength, and proprioception (the awareness of the position and movement of the body). Navigating stairs daily have helped Dr. Kirkby Shaw’s dogs with arthritis maintain their mobility!

It’s walking downstairs that can be more problematic, particularly for dogs with elbow and wrist (carpal) arthritis. Walking downstairs increases the force on the front limbs, as it takes a lot of control to go down slowly (which will likely be your dog’s instinct!).

The primary concern with stairs is when the steps are slick, narrow, steep, or circular (or worse, all of the above!).

HOW YOU CAN HELP YOUR DOG: If your dog has to navigate stairs regularly at home, you can install carpeting or non-slip stair treads to provide more traction. You might find that your dog needs help walking down, and using a harness can help support them and make them feel more secure.