Whether dogs are allowed to climb stairs or not is an important question for many dog owners. No one wants their dog to be harmed in the long run if it can be prevented. Basically, however, this should not be considered sweepingly for all breeds. In this article, I address the question of whether a Dachshund can climb stairs.
A Dachshund may not or should not climb stairs. The short legs combined with the long back overloads and compresses the spine. Unfortunately, his build makes the Dachshund susceptible to a herniated disc. Unnecessary stair climbing makes it even worse.
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Can a dachshund walk up stairs?
Especially when they are young and agile, Dachshunds “can” run stairs. They run up and down the stairs. As a child, I could experience this myself with my aunt’s rough-haired dachshund.
But just because they “can” does not mean that a Dachshund should climb stairs. The health problems usually occur later in life.
If you have a dachshund, you should avoid letting him run stairs unnecessarily. It does not matter whether he runs up or down the stairs.
Why shouldn’t a dachshund walk up and down stairs?
The Dachshund is known for its short legs and elongated back. This physique is well suited for a fox or badger den, but also brings health problems.
When climbing stairs (up or down), the spine is overloaded and compressed by the short legs and extended back.
Frequent stair climbing combined with the body build makes the Dachshund susceptible to a herniated disc. Unfortunately, there is even a name for this that is directly associated with the Dachshund. Dachshund Paralysis.
Unfortunately, Dachshund paralysis is not uncommon. It is caused by the slipping out of the intervertebral disc, which leads to the dachshund having neurological deficits.
The worst case is the complete paralysis of the hind legs.
Consequences of stair walking
If your dachshund runs down and up the stairs from the second floor every day, this can lead to massive health problems over time.
Just because he can do it, doesn’t mean he should.
Besides the already mentioned Dachshund paralysis due to the disproportionate build, which is aggravated by frequent stair climbing, there may be other health restrictions.
Climbing stairs is basically not harmful for a dog, if he does it properly. Walking up stairs is still the smaller problem.
If a dog (not the dachshund) runs slowly and controlled up the stairs, it is a good training for the muscles and even beneficial.
The real problem lies in running down the stairs. When your dachshund runs down the stairs, he gets a knock every time he lands on the stairs, which puts unnecessary stress on the joints and can also lead to joint problems as he gets older.
Help with climbing stairs
Since a Dachshund is a small and light dog, you should do your Dachshund and yourself a favor and always carry him up and down the stairs.
In this way, you can actively contribute to minimizing the risk of joint problems or a slipped disc. Unfortunately, you can’t completely rule it out.
Another point is the weight. Make sure that your dachshund is not overweight. Too much weight puts additional stress on the joints and can cause damage in the long run.
If your dachshund is too fat, you should put him on a diet and take him for walks more often. Even though many think he is a small, cozy dog, he is a hunting dog. A dachshund needs a lot of exercise.
Even if you only have 2 or 3 steps somewhere in your house or yard, make sure your dachshund doesn’t jump up and down those every day either.
We have 3 steps from the living room into the hallway. For our puppies we got a ramp so they don’t have to run up and down these 3 steps either.
Such a ramp is also recommended for a dachshund so that he can move freely in the house or garden without getting problems with the joints or spine in old age.
This is a one-time purchase that can help avoid expensive vet bills later on.
The ramp is flexible in use. You can use it anywhere where your dachshund needs to go up or down stairs.
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How to recognize a slipped disc/dachshund paralysis
If your Dachshund exhibits the following symptoms, you should have him examined by your veterinarian as a matter of urgency:
- If your dachshund is noticeably calmer and not running around as wildly as usual, he may be in pain from a herniated disc
- Your dachshund no longer walks “smoothly” but limps
- In severe pain, your dachshund may even whine or howl.
- If you can no longer pet your dog because it is uncomfortable for him, this is a bad sign.
- Due to dachshund paralysis, incontinence may occur.
Conclusion: Can a dachshund climb stairs?
No, a Dachshund should not climb stairs because of its awkward build. The short legs combined with the long back unfortunately make the Dachshund prone to a herniated disc, which can lead to Dachshund paralysis. In the worst case scenario, your Dachshund will eventually be unable to move his hind legs and will need a stroller.
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