Step Up Your Game: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Pet Steps for Small Dogs
Picture this: a tiny furry baby dog waddling around your home, trying to keep up with your pace, but struggling to climb up onto your bed or couch. While it might seem adorable to see your small dog jump and struggle to reach higher surfaces, it can take a toll on their health in the long run. The constant jumping and landing can put undue stress on their joints, causing pain and discomfort. This is where pet steps for small dogs come into play.
Pet steps can provide numerous health benefits for your furry companion, such as reducing the risk of injuries, improving joint health, and promoting overall mobility and agility.
Before selecting the right pet steps tailored to your small dogs, you have to consider several things; from taking measures of width, weight, and height to material durability! That’s why we have gathered expert advice so that you make the wisest of decisions.
1. Height Of The Surface Your Dog Is Jumping To
Firstly, consider the height of the surface your dog needs to climb onto. Whether it’s your bed, sofa, or window ledge, measure the height from the floor to the top of the surface with an inch-tape (preferable than a ruler). This will help you determine how many steps your dog needs to climb.
2. Your Dog’s Measurements
When assessing your small dog’s size and weight to choose the right pet steps, it’s important to keep in mind that not all small dogs are the same. Some small dog breeds are compact and muscular, while others are slender and lightweight. Therefore, you need to choose pet steps that are sturdy and can support your specific small dog’s weight and size without wobbling or tipping over.
For instance, if you have a Chihuahua which is a small dog breed that typically weighs between 2 to 6 pounds, you will need pet steps that are designed for a small, lightweight dog. Whereas, if you have a French Bulldog which is a small dog breed that weighs between 16 to 28 pounds, you will need pet steps that are designed to withstand a more substantial weight.
To ensure the pet steps are sturdy and stable, look for ones made with high-quality materials, such as wood or plastic. Avoid pet steps made with flimsy materials that may not be able to support your small dog’s weight.
Also, consider the weight capacity of the pet steps; a high-quality pet step will typically have a weight capacity of around 50 to 150 pounds, depending on the size and design of the steps. It’s also important to keep in mind that your small dog may gain or lose weight over time so consider choosing pet steps that have an adjustable weight capacity. This will allow you to adjust the steps’ weight capacity if needed, ensuring they can continue to support your dog’s weight as they grow or age.
3. Width Of The Pet Steps
The width of the pet steps is an essential factor to consider when choosing the right size of pet steps for your small dog. While narrow steps may be suitable for some small dogs, wider steps may be more comfortable and safer for others. A study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior found that dogs preferred steps that were wide enough to allow them to place all four feet on each step, providing them with more stability and balance.
Some small dog breeds, such as Dachshunds, have shorter legs and longer bodies, making them more prone to slipping or falling. Wider pet steps may provide them with more stability, making it easier for them to climb up and down safely. Contrarily, some small dog breeds, such as Pomeranians, may prefer narrower steps, as they are generally more agile and able to climb with ease.
Experts recommend choosing pet steps that are at least as wide as your small dog’s body to ensure they can climb up and down safely. Dr. Liz Bales, a veterinarian and founder of Doc & Phoebe’s Cat Co. says, “Stairs should be at least as wide as the dog is long, so they can stand with all four feet on one step.”
4. Style Of The Pet Steps
Some pet steps come in a staircase style, while others come in a ramp style.
Staircase-style pet steps are ideal for small dogs that are agile and able to climb. The steps are typically designed to mimic regular stairs, providing your small dog with a familiar and comfortable climbing experience. Staircase-style pet steps are also beneficial for small dogs that prefer to climb rather than jump. Dr. Sasha Gibbons, a veterinarian at the Animal Medical Center in New York City reports, “Stairs are a better choice for dogs with good mobility because they give them more opportunities to use their muscles.”
Contrarily, ramp-style pet steps are ideal for small dogs that may have mobility issues or joint problems. Ramps provide a gentle slope for your small dog to climb, reducing the amount of pressure placed on their joints. This can be beneficial for small dogs with arthritis, hip dysplasia, or other joint problems. According to Dr. Steve Weinberg, a veterinarian, and founder of 911 VETS in Los Angeles, “A ramp is a better option for dogs that need to take the pressure off their joints.”
5. Material Of The Pet Steps:
A non-slip surface is a must-have for pet steps since they provide your small dog with more traction and stability while climbing up and down. A non-slip surface can be achieved through various methods, such as adding a textured material to the steps or including rubber grips on the bottom of the pet steps.
You may consider pet steps made with a durable and lightweight material such as aluminium. These steps also come with a non-slip surface without being too heavy or cumbersome to move around. Alternatively, you could choose pet steps made with wood or plastic but it’s important to ensure that these materials are of high quality and won’t crack or warp over time.
As a final tip, remember to supervise your dog while they are using the pet steps, and encourage them to use the steps regularly to build up their confidence and muscle strength.
Investing in a set of high-quality pet steps can make a big difference in your small dog’s quality of life, providing them with greater independence and mobility. So take the time to select a set of pet steps that are the perfect fit for your furry friend, and watch as they confidently climb up and down elevated surfaces with ease.