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When Django was a baby, our ‘walks’ consisted of him sitting in the middle of a busy Brooklyn sidewalk while Mike and I (Steph) tried to get Django to go to the bathroom. Django would stare up wide-eyed at every passerby, hoping they’d stop to pet him. They usually did :)
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.” If you're unsure of what this means, don't worry! We recently published a comprehensive and easy-to-understand article explaining IVDD in dogs: what it is, causes, prevention, symptoms, and treatment options. You can find the article here:
When Django was 4.9 lbs of cuteness, kind and well-meaning New Yorkers told Mike and I 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 chondrodystrophic 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-chondrodystrophic breeds.
Here are the most popular and well-rated indoor dog gates, pet ramps and stairs.
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 leaving the living room and 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.
PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS of Top Paw Extra Wide Pet Gate:
PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS of Carlson Pet Gate:
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.
PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS of Best Pet Supplies Foam Pet Stairs:
PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS of Pet Gear's Easy Step II Pet Stairs:
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'.
PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS of Snoozer's Scalloped Pet Ramp:
* 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.
PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS of Solvit Wood Bedside Ramp:
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!
We recently published an in-depth yet easy-to-comprehend article explaining IVDD in dogs - causes, prevention, symptoms and treatment options:
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When Mike and I (Steph) brought Django home, we instantly fell in love with him. He was adventurous, playful, mischievous, and absolutely adorable. Like most dachshunds, he was also notoriously hard to housebreak. Django had a ton of accidents throughout our Brooklyn apartment up until he was 7-8 months old.
Potty training your puppy can be a daunting task if you have never done it before. That is why we sat down with Steffi Trott, the founder of SpiritDog Training in Cedar Crest, New Mexico, for potty training tips. In this DJANGO Dog Blog article, we also share some of our favorite potty training products that we used with Django and link to other current best sellers and customer favorites.
In 2019, Mike and I (Steph) came across Nom Nom fresh dog food. Now, it is a regular part of our dachshund Django's diet. It's impossible to resist feeding Django Nom Nom when he literally does a little dance every time we open a Nom Nom sleeve and pour it into his dinner bowl.
Do we only feed Django Nom Nom? Nope. We like to feed Django a variety of high quality dog foods—Nom Nom being one of them. Django's most common meal is a mix of high-quality dry dog food with nutrition-dense, freshly made dog food (aka Nom Nom).
In this DJANGO Dog Blog article, we provide an honest review and comprehensive overview of Nom Nom. We include pricing estimates for various breeds and a 50% off Nom Nom promo code for your first order. All opinions are our own and based on our own personal experience feeding our sausage dog Django.
Puppies need to be socialized between 3 and 16 weeks old. Socialization is not the same thing as exposure. Simply introducing your pup to new people, animals, objects, and places does not mean he will feel safe around them in the future.
Whether you are social distancing because of COVID-19 or prefer staying at home, you can introduce your dog to people, animals, objects, sounds, smells, and surfaces. We teamed up with Empire of the Dog's founder, Denise Harmon, to come up with more than 100 ways to socialize your puppy at home.