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Dachshunds have a very unique body shape that makes them prone to intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) as well as hip & elbow dysplasia. The types of daily activities they do, like climbing stairs, can contribute to these negative health concerns.
So should dachshunds be allowed to use stairs at all?
Can Dachshunds Climb Stairs?
Dachshunds can climb stairs. However, they should wait until they are close to fully grown to decrease the chance of getting injured and should only climb stairs in moderation. Too much stair climbing could contribute to things like hip and elbow dysplasia.
In this post you’ll discover the truth behind dachshunds and stairs, some of the dangers, as well as the best tips to make sure you’re not spending a lot of money in vets bills because of stair climbing.
Let’s dive right in.
Table of Contents
Is It Bad For Dachshunds To Go Up And Down Stairs?
It’s not necessarily bad for dachshunds to go up and down stairs.
While going down stairs has a higher risk of injuring your short legged pup, teaching them from a young age how to properly use the stairs will help them later in life.
It’s important to let them use stairs moderately, meaning not too often but also not too little.
Interestingly, a study done in 2015 showed that dachshunds who were allowed to jump on and off furniture were less likely to get IVDD.
Using stairs and jumping on and off furniture require similar physical abilities.
Putting most of their body weight on 2 legs to get up or down off furniture as well as to go up or down stairs.
Based on this study it appears that the extra physical activity (compared to dachshunds who weren’t allowed to jump on and off furniture) helped keep their body healthier.
A dachshund using stairs too often can contribute to them getting hip or elbow dysplasia or tripping and hurting themselves.
But, carrying them everywhere they go in an attempt to protect them can create other health concerns.
4 Surprising Dangers When Your Dachshund Climbs Stairs
1) Hip & Elbow Dysplasia
Hip or elbow dysplasia is most commonly caused by excessive weight on either a dog’s hind or front legs.
And because of a dachshunds’ body structure, their weight distribution is more of a load to bear on their 2 legs whenever jumping on or off things, going up or down stairs, or jumping up when you come home.
Especially when a dachshund is young and their muscles and joints are underdeveloped.
The key here is moderation.
Too much stair climbing can cause them troubles later in life.
But, at the same time, if your dachshund doesn’t get any exercise and is carried everywhere this brings on other health concerns.
You’re best to monitor their stair climbing while they’re young to make sure they’re evenly distributing their weight on all limbs.
This will help make sure each limb’s muscles & joints are strengthening making it less likely they have hip or elbow dysplasia when they’re older.
2) Over Excitement Can Be Dangerous
Dachshunds, especially when they’re young, can have the tendency to get over excited.
And this over excitement could be a recipe for disaster.
Their little legs don’t make stairs an easy task for them.
This means they need to concentrate more on what they’re doing when going up and down stairs.
But when overly excited they could easily lose track of their footing which leads to them tripping and injuring themselves.
Dachshunds only grow to about 8-9 inches at their shoulder height and the average stair step is 7.5 inches.
That’s almost their entire height!
This means they have to become acrobats or gymnasts just to climb up the stairs. And if they trip and fall it won’t be easy for them to get their footing.
3) Going Up Is Easier Than Going Down
You may want to only let your dachshund go up the stairs at first.
The reason being is that more bad things can happen when going downstairs.
I’m sure you’ve experienced this or at least seen it in your life.
Tripping up the stairs you might bang your knee or shin, which definitely hurts, but falling down stairs with gravity and momentum, well that’s another story.
Again, given their small legs and long body, they’re more likely to trip than other breeds.
And when gravity as well as momentum are helping, the fall gets much worse.
4) Stair Related Injuries Can Be Expensive
Whether it’s from falling down stairs or using them too much which contributes to them getting hip or elbow dysplasia, injuries related to stairs are expensive visits to the vet.
Fracture repairs from falling can be anywhere from $3,500 all the way up to $5,300.
And if they need surgery for their back (as back problems are quite common in dachshunds) you could be looking at a bill anywhere between $5,000 to $7,000.
Of course your first concern is of the health and wellbeing of your pup, but how much it’s going to cost to help them get better will always be the next concern.
If not careful you might be looking at a multiple thousand dollar vet bill.
7 Helpful Tips For Dachshunds Climbing Stairs (Especially #7)
1) Use Ramps
Ramps are a great way for helping senior dogs, small dogs or young pups get up and down things.
It’s much easier on their joints and they’re still able to get the exercise of going up and down stairs without the added pressure to their joints.
A ramp can also get your dog comfortable with the heights (when at the top of the stairs) and be confident they can tackle the stairs since there’s a flat surface for them.
Once they’re used to this you can try letting them use the actual stairs or help train them on how to properly use the stairs.
2) Keep Everything They Need On The Main Floor
To ensure your pup isn’t using the stairs too often or when you’re not around, keep everything they need on the main floor of your house.
Things like their toys, food and water bowls, dog bed, etc.
When it comes to bed time or going out for their morning walk, these limited uses of the stairs is a good amount of use for a dachshund.
If their belongings are scattered on all levels of your home they’ll likely use the stairs a little too often and without a family member watching.
3) Carry Them Downstairs
Until they’ve shown you that they can easily navigate the stairs, take the riskier part of climbing stairs out of the equation, going down them.
Because of momentum and gravity, going down the stairs is a riskier job than going up them.
Especially while they’re young as their cute little legs won’t be big enough to easily navigate the stairs.
4) Set Up Pet Insurance
People always think it won’t happen to their pup, until it does.
Vet visits are quite pricey and while you love your pup and would get them help no matter the cost, pet insurance gives little peace of mind.
Most pet insurance is quite reasonable and ensures you won’t be left with a hefty multi-thousand vet bill if anything were to happen with their stair climbing.
5) Put a Gate In Front Of The Stairs
The best way to limit your dachshunds’ use of the stairs is to simply put a gate in front of them.
While it might be a bit of a hassle until you get used to it being there, it could prevent a serious accident.
The last thing you want is to see your pup limping from a fall down the stairs when you weren’t around.
6) Never Leave Your Dachshund Alone With Access To a Staircase
You never know what happens during the day when you’re not around.
If your dachshund sees or hears something outside and wants to go upstairs to get a better look, their excitement could end up harming them.
It’s best not to allow them access to stairs when they’re by themselves if you can avoid it.
7) Limit But Don’t Restrict
It’s important to not overprotect your dachshund.
While limiting their access and frequency of use of the stairs is a good idea, you don’t want to outright restrict their use of them.
The stairs can be a good addition of exercise in their daily life so long as they don’t overdo it.
The stronger their joints and muscles are the less likely they’ll be to have a sudden, unforeseen injury.
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