Dachshunds and Stairs: Dangers [& Possible Benefits]

A black-and-tan Dachshund beside old stone steps and iron gate.

Dachshunds’ bodies are built much differently than those of other dogs. They require different types of care, exercise, and protection.

One thing that many Dachshund owners find challenging is deciding if their pups can safely use stairs or not. It may come down to each individual pup and their overall health.

Should Dachshunds go up and downstairs? It has been long thought that Dachshunds should not climb stairs because the stress placed on the spine can cause intervertebral disc disease. However, recent studies seem to indicate that using stairs may help to strengthen the spine and prevent this condition in healthy Dachshunds. 

If you have stairs in your home and worry about your Dachshund using them, read on to learn about the risks of allowing your pup to use the stairs, the possible benefits, and how you can help protect your pup from back injuries.

Dachshunds and Stairs

Dachshunds are adorable, and watching them walk and run is part of the fun of owning one.

While you might think watching your Dachshund stumble up and down the stairs clumsily is cute, it can actually be dangerous to them.

Not all Dachshunds can navigate stairs safely, and even those who do may be at risk for an injury. 

Dangers of Dachshunds Using Stairs

There are many reasons Dachshunds shouldn’t climb stairs. They could easily fall and suffer an injury. Dachshunds are small, and many stairs are too high for them to climb up or down easily.

Dachshunds are susceptible to spine injuries such as intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), which is an injury that causes herniated discs.

It’s thought that the more pressure and stress put on the spine, the more likely the Dachshund might be to develop this condition; however, not all evidence supports this popular believe, as we’ll see below.

Possible Benefits of Dachshunds Using Stairs

While there is always a risk for injury when a Dachshund uses stairs, there are some possible benefits of the activity.

Intervertebral disc disease can affect Dachshunds if they move incorrectly or happen to fall.

However, studies have shown that Dachshunds who use stairs regularly and have learned to navigate them safely are less likely to suffer from this disease.

Injuries on stairs are more common in Dachshunds who do not use stairs regularly and have not learned the proper way to climb or come down them.

Dog Size & Stair Height Matter

The size of the stairs and the size of your dogs can be a factor in whether or not the stairs are dangerous. In most cases, the stair height will be just as tall if not taller than your dog.

It can be challenging and stressful for the dog to have to climb that height over and over again, and each step can cause more strain to the back.

If the stairs are shorter than your dog’s legs, then they should be okay.

Is Going Up or Down Stairs More Dangerous?

Going downstairs can jar the spine and lead to injuries. Going upstairs puts a lot of strain on the back.

So, both directions hold comparative risks, but much will depend on the stair height and overall health and fitness of your dog.

How To Help Your Dachshund With Stairs

If you are worried about your Dachshund walking up and down stairs and want to make it safer and more comfortable for them, there are a few things you can do.

Install Ramps

Installing ramps will allow your pup to easily make his way up and down stairs and other challenging situations, such as accessing your bed or the couch or entering/exiting the car.

Ramps can be purchased for your vehicle and staircases and even for placement beside beds and couches to allow your Dachshund easy access to comfort.

They come in different lengths and sizes, so it’s easy to find the perfect ramps for your Dachshund. If you’re the creative type, you could even build your custom ramps easily.

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Carry Your Dachshund Up and Down Stairs

If you don’t think your Dachshund can or should go up and down on his own, you may just want to carry him.

This will ensure your Dachshund gets where he needs or wants to go and won’t be injured in the process.

It’s advised to train your dog to signal you in some way whenever he approaches stairs if choose to use this option.

Block Access to Stairs

If your Dachshund struggles with stairs but won’t stay off of them, you may need to block access.

Dachshunds like to follow their owners around, so even though they can’t go up and down the stairs easily, it won’t stop them from trying. Blocking off the stairs will help you keep your pup safe.

While standard baby gates can be used, there are gates available specifically for dogs.

I recommend this one for Dachshunds. It expands up to 40 inches, is not easily chewed, has a classy look, and allows people to come and go without having to perform acrobatic maneuvers.

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Preventing Spinal Injuries in Dachshunds

A dachshund dog sitting on a maroon ramp leading up to a bed.

Because Dachshunds have spines that are longer than their legs, they are at risk for spinal injuries. This also often makes it hard for them to walk up and down stairs.

If they fall or trip, their spine could be injured. Some spinal injuries can be so severe that they paralyze your pup. Here are some things you can do to reduce the risk of a spinal injury.

Do Not Allow Young, Old, or Injured Dachshunds To Use Stairs

If your Dachshund is young or old, he may not have the mobility or flexibility to navigate stairs properly.

This puts him in danger of a fall and could lead to a serious back injury. Block the stairs, carry your dog, or provide ramps for safety.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Feed your dog a healthy diet to ensure he stays lean and fit. Any added weight can cause pressure on your Dachshund’s spine and make him more likely to suffer an injury.

A balanced diet and plenty of exercises will help keep your Dachshund healthy and mobile.

Provide Regular Exercise

Dachshunds like to play and run. To keep them in shape and to allow them to burn off some energy, make sure they get regular exercise.

This will help keep their muscles strong to support their spine and reduce the chance of a back injury as well as helping to prevent obesity.

Feed a High-Quality Diet 

A proper diet will keep your Dachshund’s weight under control and allow him to grow properly.

Sufficient nutrient intake is important, so discuss your feeding routine with your vet to ensure your chosen dog food is meeting his daily needs.

When your Dachshund is healthy, he’s less likely to experience bone problems or mobility issues that could affect his back.

Visit the Vet Routinely

Minor injuries to the legs or back can turn into serious problems quickly. Make sure you are scheduling regular appointments with your vet to diagnose these issues and others before they become worse.

The vet can check your dog to see if the bones and muscles are healthy and capable of supporting the long spine so he is less at risk for an injury.

Only Purchase Dachshunds From a Reputable Breeder

You should only buy your Dachshund from a breeder who is reputable and known for producing healthy puppies.

Some breeders do not provide the proper care for their puppies or the parent dogs and neglect important genetic testing before breeding.

This can lead to congenital defects that could make your Dachshund more at risk for a back injury or another problem.

Related Questions: 

Is It Bad for Dachshunds To Stand Up?

When a Dachshund stands up on the back legs, it puts an unnecessary strain on the spine. This can lead to injuries and spine degeneration.

Your dog may stand up on his hind legs from time to time, but it’s not a good idea to encourage this behavior.

Is It Bad for Dachshunds To Jump?

Jumping around or pouncing is generally safe for Dachshunds, but jumping up or down from high places can be dangerous and put them at risk for a back injury.

Final Thoughts 

The adorable long bodies of Dachshunds make them special and unique, but they can also put them at risk for back injuries.

If you have a Dachshund and want to keep him healthy and happy, carefully evaluate the size of your dog compared to the height of the stairs in question and check with your vet to ensure there is no pre-existing condition or likelihood of injury before making an educated decision.

Remember, what’s good for someone else Doxie may not be the best solution for your dog as each dog and situation is different.

Know what your Dachshund is and is not capable of, and always put his best interests first. 

Last update on 2022-10-05 at 15:43 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API