Pet Ramps & Pet Stairs: Helping Older and Arthritic Pets

The picture that started a tidal wave of love, John Unger and Schoep [photo: Hannah Stonehouse Hudson]

When a picture of ageing German Shepherd Schoep being held by his owner, John Unger, was posted on Facebook it touched the hearts of thousands and quickly went viral. Schoep suffers from arthritis and Unger would cradle him while lying in the waters of Lake Superior to ease Schoep’s pain. To-date 150,000 people have ‘liked’ Schoep and John’s Facebook page and donated over $250,000 which Unger has used to establish the Schoep Legacy Foundation.

Sadly Schoep isn’t alone in suffering from the debilitating pain of arthritis and there are as many as 1 in 5 dogs in the U.S. similarly tormented by the disease, not to mention thousands of other pets suffering with joint inflammation and joint-related issues.

Pets are Prone to Developing Arthritis and Joint Problems

The world is more accessible for this pair thanks to a PupSTEP
Dogs and cats lead far more physically demanding lifestyles than we do. All that jumping, running and playing places a lot of strain on their joints, and for smaller pets this is exacerbated because getting on or off a bed or sofa can be like climbing a mountain.

For many pets suffering from joint problems or the onset of age, the answer has been a pet ramp or pet stairs. Even if your pet is young and healthy it can be headed for joint problems because of the constant climbing and jumping it has to do in order to get around the house. Pet stairs and pet ramps reduce the stresses placed on a dog or cat’s joints.

Ramps and stairs also make pet owners’ lives more bearable, particularly for those owners suffering from back problems. By eliminating the need to constantly bend, pick up and lift a pet, stairs and ramps benefit both the pet and its loving owner.

Spotting the Signs of a Pet with Joint Issues

There are a few tell-tale signs that your pet has joint problems.

  • Does your pet have trouble when getting up or sitting down?
  • Does your pet favor a particular limb, or does it limp?
  • Does your pet seem reluctant to walk longer distances?
  • Does your pet tire more easily than it used to?
  • Does your pet seem reticent to jump or play and is it less active than it used to be?
Buying a Stairway to Heaven

Short legs are no longer a problem for this playful pup

Purchasing pet stairs or a pet ramp won’t cure the misery of your pet’s arthritis, but it will certainly make its life more pleasant. Placing doggie stairs beside your pooch’s favorite chair or bed will make his or her life a whole lot more comfortable, and because pet stairs are extremely light and portable they can be easily moved to help your four-legged friend get around anywhere in the house.

Ramping it Up

Pet ramps make getting in and out of a vehicle painless and easy for your dog. Lightweight and simple to use, many dog ramps fold or telescope for quick and easy storage in the back of your pickup or SUV. Dogs need not scramble to get up and into a truck cab, and there’ll be no painful jumps and jolts when getting down from a tailgate. A pet ramp means Fido can enjoy a road trip as much as the rest of the family.

Happy Pets Mean Happy Households

A dog ramp makes getting into or out of a vehicle easy, even for elderly dogs

Reducing the necessity to jump up and down from a height helps reduce the chances of arthritis or joint issues later in a pet’s life, and from the standpoint of their happiness alone, that has to be worth it. But when you consider the potential veterinary bills that come with health issues, taking care of your beloved pet will also be a sensible financial move for the long-term. You’ll be happier and your pets will be happier too.

By John Bone
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