How acute is the danger of stairs to hips?

Discussion in 'Labrador Puppies' started by McGuillicuddy, Aug 11, 2019.

  1. McGuillicuddy

    McGuillicuddy Registered Users

    Jun 24, 2019
    Just wondering if anybody has input on how important it is for puppies to avoid stairs, and to what extent occasional stair use can cause damage.

    Our little guy (14 weeks) is blocked from taking stairs in the house but we do have stairs on our back deck that he sometimes sneaks up when we're outside. And there are frequently a few stairs here or there when we're visiting friends that can be difficult to prevent access to.

    I'm trying to get a feel to what extent I need to be hyper vigilant about keeping him from stairs.
  2. Joy

    Joy Registered Users

    Mar 22, 2014
    The only study that I have found (and I searched very thoroughly when my current dog was a pup) is the one by Krontveit et al. (The abstract of the study is here: It concludes that the use of stairs by puppies up to the age of 12 weeks is a risk factor for hip dysplasia.

    The key thing seems to be preventing the ligament that holds the joint in place from tearing before bone has had a chance to form. So it is important that puppies exercise to build muscle but also that the exercise is not of the kind that involves twisting or squashing the legs.
    This is a really good article: https://www.instituteofcaninebiolog...ant-things-to-know-about-canine-hip-dysplasia

    Anecdotally, we also have steps up to our garden, so I kept these blocked off and carried my puppy up and down until she became too heavy, which I think was around 18 weeks of age. After that I supervised her going up and down so that it was controlled until she was around a year old.
  3. mjfromga

    mjfromga Registered Users

    Jun 10, 2019
    For some people (such as me) it is extremely unrealistic to keep a puppy from going up and down the stairs. I have cats and another dog that like to go up and down and I can't block them. The cat needs to get to his litter box and stuff. Also our house has a lot of stairs. My puppy is getting too big to carry and doesn't really like being carried anyway. ONE study that says maybe dogs who climb stairs MAY increase their risk of hip issues definitely isn't enough for me to try to carry a puppy up and down all day.

    Oh and what is supervising going to do? He's still going to bolt up and down the stairs. Unless I leash him, there's no way to slow him... Which is also ridiculously inconvenient. At the end of the day, Labradors just have a lot of hip problems. I kinda think either you're lucky and your dog avoids them, or you aren't and your dog doesn't.
  4. Ian73

    Ian73 Registered Users

    Jul 2, 2019
    I have an issue with stairs too, living in a flat,thirteen steps!! Ed is quite heavy and has started to growl and try to bite me when I go to pick him up.
    Ed doesn't do it every time, food is the key, but I do worry about his hips.
    He is going to be to heavy for me to pick up soon.
  5. Ryakki

    Ryakki Registered Users

    Apr 23, 2019
    you just gotta keep them away from stairs till they are 4 months old as i recall.
    the occasional few stairs are fine but frequent use of a flight of stairs may have negative consequences down the line.
  6. Emily

    Emily Registered Users

    May 19, 2015
    Melbourne, Australia
    I totally understand where you're coming from and I do believe it was easier for me as I'm in a single storey house.

    However, I carried my puppy up and down the steps to my house for as long as I could manage and walked her on lead until I could trust her to walk up and down calmly. I also lifted her into and out of the car, even when I was 37 weeks pregnant and she was 9 months old. I still lift her out of the car now but have taught her to jump into the footwell and onto the back seat when getting into the car.

    Am I crazy? Probably. Did it make any difference? Who knows.

    I did recently have x-rays on her joints and am so relieved to say that they are beautiful (Ella is 4 yrs old). I'll never be able to say that my efforts have had an impact but I can say that, if the results had been bad and I'd never done the carrying/lifting, I'd be forever wondering if I could have made a difference.
    Ruth Buckley and Jo Laurens like this.

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