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Minimizing the risk of IVDD and other back injuries with pet gates, dog ramps and bedside stairs

May 24, 2018 2 Comments

Minimizing the risk of IVDD: The Best Pet Gates, Dog Ramps, & Pet Stairs For Your Home

When Django was a baby, our ‘walks’ consisted of him sitting in the middle of a busy Brooklyn sidewalk. Django would stare wide-eyed at every passerby, hoping they’d stop to pet and coo over him. They usually did. As you can imagine, many people who stopped to pet Django were dachshund owners. And so many of these doxie lovers had a story to tell us about their dog and Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD).

IVDD, per PetMD, “is a condition where the cushioning discs between the vertebrae of the spinal column either bulge or burst into the spinal cord space… [they] press on the nerves running through the spinal cord causing pain, nerve damage, and even paralysis.”

When Django was 4.9 lbs of cuteness, kind and well-meaning New Yorkers told Mike and I (Steph) countless stories about IVDD. We heard horror stories about dogs with chronic back pain or permanent paralysis, and a few heartbreaking tales of dogs in so much pain that they had to be euthanized. Many people told us to never let Django jump on and off furniture or even climb stairs. So that’s what we did.

Mike and I have never allowed Django to jump on and off furniture, and we don’t let him climb even a short flight of stairs. Extreme? Maybe. But after hearing so many terrible tales of IVDD, we decided to take drastic action. We recognize that Django is still at risk of IVDD - no stairs or jumping aside. His body is extra long and his legs are amusingly short... he's unfortunately at risk no matter what we do.

Django is unusually chill, so teaching him to never jump or climb stairs was actually easy. Now Django sits patiently at the bottom of a staircase until we're ready to say "pick up!" and carry him upstairs. Of course, not all dogs are as eerily calm as Django.

Whether you have a healthy puppy, a middle aged dog with a sensitive back, or a senior dog who has (or hasn't) experienced IVDD... consider minimizing the risk of future back problems with pet gates, dog ramps and shallow pet stairs.

Yes, some breeds are more genetically at risk of IVDD. These chondodystrophic breeds include dachshunds, bulldogs, basset hounds, beagles, corgis, cocker spaniels, pekingese, shih-tzus and even poodles. But all dogs grow more susceptible to back problems as they age, including non-chondodystrophic breeds.

Here are the most popular and well-rated indoor dog gates, pet ramps and stairs.

The Most Popular Indoor Dog Gates (we own #1 on the list)

Consider a high quality pet gate to keep your pup safe in one section of your home or to prevent your dog from climbing and descending steep staircases. Mike and I use Top Paw’s Extra Wide Pet Gate at my parents' home to prevent Django from running up the stairs. Consider the second option below if you don’t need the extra wide reach and want to save a few dollars.

Top Paw Extra Wide Pet Gate ($80 at PetSmart - we own this one)

Best Dog Gate for Indoors - Top Paw® Extra Wide Pet Gate at PetSmart - djangobrand.com

Product highlights: all-steel construction, pressure-mount installation (i.e. no drilling holes in your wall), 29-52 inch adjustable width.

Available at PetSmart and on petsmart.com for $80, although we recently saw them listed for 30% off in-store.

Carlson Pet Gate (currently $37 on Amazon)

Carlson Extra Wide Walk Through Pet Gate with Small Pet Door, 37-Inches Wide

Product highlights: All-steel construction, pressure-mount installation (i.e. no drilling holes in your wall), 29-37 inch adjustable width.

Available on Amazon for $37

The Best Indoor Dog Ramps and Pet Stairs for Beds and Furniture

While Mike and I have never needed to use pet ramps or stairs for Django, they are an excellent tool to prevent your pup from jumping on and of furniture. Pet ramps have a modest incline and are best for dogs with sensitive backs or pups with mobility problems. Ramps are also the best option for dogs genetically at risk of IVDD. Pet stairs are most popular for young, non-chondodystrophic breeds and will take up a little less space in your home.

Best Pet Supplies Foam Pet Stairs/Steps (currently $76 on Amazon)

DJANGO - Best pet ramps and dog stairs - Best Pet Supplies Foam Pet Stairs on Amazon

Product highlights: Machine-washable micro-suede cover, supports dogs up to 100lbs, available in various micro-suede fabrics.

Available on Amazon for $76

Pet Gear's Easy Step II Pet Stairs (currently $31 on Amazon)

Pet Gear Easy Step II Pet Stairs, 2 Step for Cats/Dogs up to 150 Pounds, Portable, Removable Washable Carpet Tread

Product highlights: Removable and washable carpet tread, rubber grips prevent stairs from sliding, supports dogs up to 150 lbs.

Available on Amazon for $31

Snoozer's Scalloped Pet Ramp (currently $129 on Amazon)

This is a great option for dogs at greater risk of IVDD, like Django, as the scalloped design is significantly easier on dogs' back then true 'stairs'.

DJANGO - The best pet ramps for your dog - Snoozer Scalloped Pet Ramp, Medium, Camel

Product highlights: machine-washable micro-suede cover, supports dogs up to 100 lbs.

Available on Amazon for $129

Solvit Wood Bedside Ramp (currently $120 on Amazon)

* IMPORTANT CAVEAT * While many customers have only great things to say about this product, two issues continue to pop up sparingly in Amazon's review section. For one, some customers report the carpet is very slippery - a problem especially for older dogs that have trouble walking. Another issue is craftsmanship. Several customers reported issues with drilling holes - either a hole was misaligned or missing entirely.

Solvit Wood Bedside Dog Ramp

Product highlights:  Fits alongside king and queen beds, supports dogs up to 120 lbs.

Available on Amazon for $120

We want your feedback and product recommendations!

Is there a product we didn't include on our list that you love? Please let us know in the comments below! We are 100% open to recommendations and welcome your feedback!





2 Responses

DJANGO
DJANGO

May 26, 2018

@GWEN JENSEN Great feedback! Thanks so much for letting us and our readers know about your experience with the Solvit Bedside Ramp. It’s nice to hear that your 19lb chiweenie uses it without any issues, but good point about the rails. I can see the lack of rails being a main concern for dogs with back injuries or sensitive backs. And I’m not surprised about your comment regarding the screws – a recurring complaint among customers was the drill holes. Thanks again Gwen, appreciate your insight! Steph

gwen jensen
gwen jensen

May 25, 2018

I have the solvet ramp for my senior chiweenie, who’s about 19lbs. he seems to be able to navigate it just fine although I am thinking of adding rails to it. only because he throws himself off the bed about half way down the ramp. not a problem with the design or anything but would be a great addition :) I have noticed that the screws come out easily if you don’t tighten them periodically

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