Learning how to pick the perfect dog steps can be difficult for some owners.
It's particularly tough if you have a multi-dog household.
The steps you choose will also depend on how you're planning to use them, your dog's individual needs and your budget.
Don't worry, I'll get into all the specifics in just a moment.
For now, let's talk about whether or not you even need dog steps.
The short answer is, you probably do!
Why Your Dog Needs Dog Steps
If your pet weighs more than 15 pounds, you should have a set of steps for her to use when climbing on and off high elevations.
Even if your dog isn't allowed on the bed or furniture, she's going to need to climb into the car every once in a while.
If your dog is less than 15 pounds, you still may want to invest in a set of stairs so you don't have to bend down and lift her up all the time.
Jumping off furniture, beds and in and out of vehicles puts a lot of pain and strain on your dog's joints.
Every time he lands, all of his weight is landing on his joints.
While that may not seem like a lot of pressure for a young dog, after years of this type of wear and tear you will surely see the damage.
Jumping can lead to injuries to the hips and legs and early onset arthritis.
You may think you don't need pet stairs because you can lift your dog onto high places.
Well, that will be better for your dog.
However, it's just taking the wear and tear off of your dog's body and putting it on yours.
Lifting your dog puts stress on your back, shoulders and legs.
What would you do if you were injured and couldn't lift your dog?
What about all of those times that your pooch jumps up onto the bed or couch before you can get there to help him?
It's best to learn how to pick the perfect dog steps and purchase a set of pet stairs that is right for your dog.
With a bit of training, your dog will learn that it's much easier to climb the stairs than to jump up and down all the time.
NEED MORE? How-To Videos and Answers to Common Dog-Related Questions
How to Pick the Perfect Dog Steps
There are a few things that you need to think about when choosing the best dog stairs for your pet.
First, you'll need to measure the height of the object your dog will be climbing onto.
If you'll mostly be using the stairs to help him onto the bed or in the car, measure the height from the ground to where the top platform of the stairs needs to be.
You need to make sure that the stairs aren't too steep, but if you've got limited space to work with, you'll also need to measure how long the stairs can be.
Remember that the higher they need to be, the longer they will need to be.
If you have multiple dogs, the stairs need to be sturdy enough to support your largest pooch, but have a rise that is small enough to be comfortable for the littlest member of your pack.
Now that you know the size requirements, it's time to start narrowing down the options.
There are thousands of dog stairs on the market, so how do you know which one will be the perfect fit for your pet?
RELATED: Tips and Tricks for Training A Dog To Use Pet Stairs, Steps and Ramps
Here are the questions you'll need to ask yourself when learning how to pick the perfect dog steps:
1. What material will best support your dog?
If you have a large dog, stairs made of foam will not be enough to support her weight.
2. How big should the rise between each stair be?
Smaller breeds won't be able to take steps that are spaced more than 3″ apart.
Larger dogs will likely stumble on steps that are very close together.
3. How and where will you be using the stairs?
If they are stationary, like the stairs in my video guide above, the weight will not matter.
However, if you want to take these stairs with you in the car or put them away when they aren't needed, you'll want a lightweight set that can fold for easy storage.
Finally, you need to think about your dog and his needs.
Ensure the stairs have enough traction to prevent slipping and falling.
This is especially important for senior pets and dogs with mobility issues.
If your pet has trouble climbing stairs, a dog ramp may be a better option for her.
READ NEXT: Dog Ramps or Dog Stairs – How To Decide