Whether it is when your dog is a puppy, or an elderly dog, at some point, it is likely that you will need to know how to help a dog get onto a bed. If not a bed, then your pooch will likely need assistance getting onto another piece of furniture or into the car. At some point, all dogs need help getting to a high area that they cannot reach.
When puppies are young, they are like babies. They have not yet mastered how to use all their muscles. Lots of times, they will need help getting into a car, or on a bed or couch. As your dog ages, he may get injured or may develop arthritis, and need help for those reasons.
You will then have to provide support to assist your dog in getting up to snuggle with you or get in the car for vet trips. There are a lot of products available to help you, but how can you choose the right one?
It will depend largely on your pet's needs and how the product will be used. Although a set of heavy pet stairs may be ideal for permanent placement at the end of a bed, they aren't a good option for owners who will be traveling frequently in the car with their dog.
If you'd like more information on how to choose the best ramp or stairs for your dog, you can read our extensive article on the subject. It will help you decide which product is right for you and your canine companion.
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How To Help A Dog Get Onto A Bed or In A Car: Managing Heights for Dogs
The most direct way of helping your dog is simply by picking him up. This is easier with smaller, mature dogs, but there are methods that can be used so that it is a successful alternative for almost any pooch.
Large dogs are the most challenging to lift.
Their weight needs to be distributed evenly so that both you and your pet have the least risk of injury. You can use a lifting harness to make it much easier, especially to get your dog in and out of a vehicle where there may not be as much room to maneuver.
Lifting harnesses for dogs, like this one from Outward Hound, can be purchased in your local pet store or from online retailers. They offer padded support to keep your pet safe and comfortable while you lift him.
Puppies need a firm foundation when lifted. They are active and wiggly, so it is very easy to lose your grip on them. Always make sure you lift a puppy with both hands.
Put one hand around his chest behind his front legs, while the other hand is cupping his back legs and bottom. You can also lift a puppy-like his mother would do. Grab the scruff (loose skin) on the back of the puppy’s neck with one hand, and at the tail bone with the other hand.
You should only lift pregnant or injured dogs if it is absolutely necessary for a medical emergency. For a pregnant dog, do not lift with pressure on the belly. Place your arms under the front legs and under the back legs to lift.
If available, a pet carrier is best for pregnant dogs.
If a dog is injured, place one arm through his back legs and one through his front legs so that weight is supported all down the length of the spine. Like with a pregnant dog, a pet carrier is preferred for an injured dog.
You can entice him into the carrier by placing food or a favorite toy inside. Carriers range in price depending on size, but it's always a smart idea to budget for one before you adopt a canine companion.
When learning how to help a dog get onto a bed, pet stairs can be an effective and affordable way for your pooch to navigate heights with no assistance from you. Dog stairs are great for canines who have the mobility but maybe not the leg length, to maneuver onto the bed or couch.
Stairs can be purchased online from many retailers, or in pet and big box stores. Many crafty people can also construct their own stairs. Just make sure they are stable and have no splinters or hazardous materials.
Some, like these pet stairs from Pet Gear, can hold dogs up to 150 pounds. Whatever your taste and budget, you should be able to find a set of stairs to fit the needs of you and your dog.
Sometimes, dogs can be afraid of stairs at first, or he may simply not know how to use them. As with other training, you can use treats to help your dog learn. This is all part of understanding how to help a dog get onto a bed and learn how to manage heights.
Alternate placing a treat at the top and then at the bottom of the stairs to encourage your dog to travel the steps. You may also need to leave the stairs out in the open for a few days before training begins so your pup can get used to the new object.
FURTHER READING: How To Train A Dog To Use Stairs
Some dogs, like dachshunds, should not travel stairs. It is too hard on their backs. In these situations, a ramp is recommended. When discussing how to help a dog get onto a bed, pet ramps are beneficial for virtually every dog.
They are also good for dogs that have lost mobility due to health problems like arthritis. Some dogs with really short legs will also have trouble managing stairs, but a ramp is a perfect solution.
Ramps can be purchased at the same vendors who sell stair sets. The price of ramps is slightly higher than some steps, like this one from Pet Gear which costs about $50. Like with steps, there are many materials and styles to choose from.
The same training that was mentioned for stairs may also need to be applied to using a ramp. Putting treats on the ramp will encourage your fur baby to give it try. The ramp may need to be in place for a couple of days before your pet is ready to try it out.
Ramps and stairs are a good thing to look into whether your dog is currently having issues or not. Jumping up and down from heights can cause your dog to develop arthritis sooner, as it put unnecessary pressure on his bones and joints. Learning how to help a dog get onto a bed and taking care of his joints now can prevent pain in the future.
Your vet can tell you if the dog you have is more susceptible to injury.
If you need ideas on which dog ramps, steps, or harnesses to pick, take a look here:
- Ten Best Dog Steps for Beds and/or Canine Arthritis
- Five Best Dog Ramps for Water
- Five Best Pet Harnesses for Dogs
Dogs love being part of the family in every way possible. If it is something you are going to allow, there are many ways to help your dog up for snuggles if he is having a hard time doing it by himself.
Since canine arthritis is one of the most common ailments in older dogs, chances are, if your dog does not need assistance now, he will in the future. Prevention is often the best cure, so if you're able to provide your dog with some assistance in advance, it can save you a lot of trouble and money as well as your dog from pain in the future.