Are Stairs Bad For German Shepherds? (Will They Hurt Them?)

  • By: Justin
  • Date: August 10, 2022
  • Time to read: 7 min.

Although the answer to this question is not a simple Yes or No, it is pretty easy to decide once we consider all factors.

So, when questions like Are Stairs Bad For German Shepherds? You will find that stairs are not bad for healthy and mature German Shepherds.

But what if your GSD has health issues? Or is it a puppy? Continue reading below, and you will find more information on how you can help your GSD stay healthy and live longer.

Can Stairs Cause Hip Dysplasia In A GSD?

While stairs won’t cause any health problems to mature and healthy German Shepherds, there are other factors to consider.

For example, the Institute of Canine Biology revealed in a study that stairs could be a factor in developing hip dysplasia in some dogs.

The study found that dogs who used stairs regularly, like puppies and mature-age dogs, are more exposed to developing hip dysplasia later in life.

It also mentions that GSDs are more likely to develop hip dysplasia when they use stairs before they are three months old. 

So, if you have a GSD puppy, you may want to limit their exposure to stairs until they are a bit older.

It is essential to mention that GSDs are naturally predisposed to developing hip dysplasia. Even if you avoid stairs, your dog may still develop the condition.

What Is Hip Dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia is a condition that affects the hips. And can cause pain and mobility problems. 

According to the Institute Of Canine Biology, dogs are not born with this issue. But it is something that develops later on.

Hip dysplasia occurs because of many factors, such as:

  • Environmental factors
  • Genes
  • Joint laxity
  • Joint stability
  • Body Weight
  • Exercise
  • Nutrition

Is Going Up And Down Stairs Bad For German Shepherd Puppies?

Generally, going up and down stairs is not bad for German Shepherd puppies.

It can be good for them as it helps build muscle and strengthen their bones.

However, as I mentioned above, if your puppy is under three months old, you may want to limit their exposure to stairs.

Puppies under three months old are more susceptible to developing hip dysplasia at this age.

On the other hand, puppies older than three months old can start using stairs more frequently. But it would be best if you always supervised them to ensure they are not overdoing it.

It would help if you started introducing your puppies to stairs in a gradual and controlled manner. 

For example, you can start by letting them walk up and down a few steps before increasing the number of stairs as they get bigger and stronger.

Be sure there are no obstacles on the stairs that could trip your puppy up, and never force it to use the stairs if it seems scared or hesitant.

You can also use a baby gate to limit its access to the stairs if you are worried about overdoing it. 

But as you may already know, GSDs are brilliant dogs. So with some training and positive reinforcement, they will quickly learn how to use the stairs safely and effectively.

At What Age Can A German Shepherd Climb Stairs?

German shepherd puppies are active and want to explore their environment from a young age. So, they will likely try to climb the stairs as soon as possible.

However, waiting until your puppy is at least three months old is essential before letting them use stairs regularly.

As mentioned above, puppies under three months old are more susceptible to developing hip and elbow dysplasia.

Suppose you have a German Shepherd puppy that is under three months old. In that case, you can carry it up and down the stairs occasionally. 

Still, it is crucial to supervise closely and limit its exposure to stairs as much as possible.

When your puppy reaches three months old, it can start using stairs more frequently. 

But it is still important to gradually introduce the stairs to the puppy and supervise when using them.

As your puppy ages, it will become more confident and can use stairs without any problems. 

But even when it’s an adult, it is always a good idea to keep an eye on it when it goes up and down stairs. Why?

Because GSDs are big dogs whose bones and joints are under a lot of strain when they use stairs, they risk injuring themselves if they overdo it.

Note: If you are wondering why does your German shepherd puts its paw on you constantly? Then check out this related post.

Why Your German Shepherd May Be Afraid of Stairs

Here are 5 reasons why your dog may be afraid of stairs: 

1. Lack of exposure

If your GSD has never been exposed to stairs before, it is only natural that it would be afraid of them.

Especially if it doesn’t know what stairs are and how to use them.

If, for instance, you previously lived in a house with no stairs and moved to a new home with stairs, you may see your GSD hesitant to use them at first.

In such a case, the best thing you can do is to introduce your dog to stairs gradually and give plenty of time to get used to them. 

With patience and training, they will eventually overcome their fear of stairs.

2. Bad Experiences

Another reason your German Shepherd may be afraid of stairs is if it has had a bad experience.

For example, if your dog fell down the stairs and got hurt while using them, it is only natural that it would be scared of them. 

In such cases, you will need to help your dog overcome its fear by slowly introducing the stairs and helping it build confidence.

3. Fear Of Heights

Another possibility is that your GSD is afraid of heights. Some dogs are scared of being high up off the ground, which can make them hesitant to use stairs.

If your dog fears heights, you will need to help overcome this fear gradually.

You can do this by starting with short flights of stairs and working your way up to taller ones.

With time and patience, your dog will eventually overcome its fear of heights and be able to use stairs without any problems.

4. It Is A Learned Behavior

Perhaps you have discouraged your dog from using stairs since it was a puppy? 

If so, your GSD may have learned that using stairs is not allowed and, as a result, be afraid of them. If that is the case, you can retrain your GSD, so it is ok to use them again.

Note: Check out this related post on: why does my german shepherd lay down to eat all the time. If you are having this issue this post might help you.

5. There Is An Underlying Health Issue

Your GSD may fear stairs because of pain or an underlying health issue causing discomfort.

For example, if your dog has arthritis, it may be hesitant to use stairs because it is painful. 

You will need to take your dog to the vet to rule out any health issues and to get advice on how to help them overcome their fear of stairs.

What To Do If Your German Shepherd Falls Down The Stairs?

If your German Shepherd falls down the stairs, it is essential to remain calm and assess the situation. 

  • You must take your dog to the vet as soon as possible if it is injured.
  • Practice First Aid response to ensure your dog is comfortable and warm while you wait for help.

If it is not injured, you can try to help overcome its fear of stairs by slowly introducing them again and helping to build up its confidence.

With time and patience, your dog will eventually be able to use stairs without any problems.

How To Keep A German Shepherd Healthy And Safe When Using Stairs? 

can german shepherd go up and down stairs

There are a few things you can do to make sure your German Shepherd is healthy and safe when using stairs:

  • Make sure your GSD has no injuries before letting it use stairs. If it has any underlying health issues, check them out by a vet first.
  • Introduce your dog to stairs gradually and give plenty of time to get used to them.
  • Start with short flights of stairs and work your way up to taller ones.
  • Please make sure Your GSD is not overweight and feels comfortable before letting it use stairs.
  • Do not allow puppies younger than three months old to use stairs.

Final Thoughts- Are Stairs Bad For German Shepherds

So, even though going up and down stairs are not generally bad for German Shepherds, you should always take care to supervise your dog when they are using them.

Suppose they are introduced to them gradually and given plenty of time to get used to them. It will help to prevent any accidents from happening.

However, puppies younger than three months old should not use stairs, and dogs with underlying health issues should be checked out by a vet first.

I hope this article has helped you to understand a bit more about German Shepherds and stairs. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to comment below.

Note: Check out this related post on why does my German shepherd spin around a lot. It is not what you think. And also check out Can German Shepherds Eat Olive Oil? all question answered.

Justin- Writer & Chief Editor of Bestwatchdogs.com

(Author)

Justin is a protection dog enthusiast. He has years of experience teaching and training dogs. He enjoys sharing what he’s learned. Read More

Why Does My German Shepherd Lay Down to Eat?

Previous Post

Why Does My German Shepherd Lay Down To Eat? (Reasons Why)

Next Post

Can You Walk A German Shepherd Without A Leash?

Can You Walk a German Shepherd Without a Leash