When Can Puppies Climb Stairs Safely? (Is it Bad for Hips?)

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Dogs will often find it difficult jumping or climbing down from couches, beds, or any other furniture, feeling scared when at a height they are not comfortable with. Some dog breeds are quite tiny or have hip related issues which make it difficult in climbing stairs, so when can puppies climb stairs safely?

But what is almost acceptable is that puppies will find it difficult to climb stairs,whether is is in an upwards or down direction. Their size joined with a fear factor and non-steady  balance will make stairs highly hazardous for them.

When can puppies climb stairs safely?

 Puppies can most times climb stairs safely at the ages of 12 weeks to 16 weeks. However, this depends on the breed and size, as some puppies will still not be sizeable enough at the point to successfully tread on staircases.

That is the really short answer, but there is more to it than that, including tips and tricks on how to teach a puppy to go downstairs without falling. Keep reading so you can let your puppy do stairs without harm at the right age.

Are puppies allowed to move up and downstairs?

Puppies are allowed to go about up and down staircases, but when they are still small, you should attentively watch  them behind. I would also suggest carrying them down the stairs if they can not go down one step by the other without jumping that means they are still too small and run the risk of falling.

But in majority of cases, the age that puppies can do the stairs is around 3 months to 4 months.

Is It Bad For Puppies To Climb Staircases?

It can also be really bad for some breeds of dog to climb stairs. For example, stairs can be so bad for puppies of the French Bulldog breed where the risk of hip dysplasia is very high.

Climbing stairs can be very bad for the puppy’s hips if it is this breed and similar.

Young puppies will be naturally be cautious of stairs during their forming months.

More About Puppies And Staircases

By  far the biggest problem that puppies are being faced in your home is how to overcome the stairs. For puppies, stairs can almost be like mountains, continuing in an upwards direction for what may seems like forever.

Just step by step can prove a huge undertaking for a puppy, regardless of the puppy’s age, and it can usually take lots of time until they begin to finally master the art of climbing them successfully.

Unfortunately, it is not that uncommon for older dogs to not quite get the hang of climbing staircases,with many choosing to avoid using them later in life.

For this reason, it is a must you teach your puppy how to do this while they are still small. Without this skill, older dogs can quickly develop extreme fear towards climbing staircases, withholding from following their owners upstairs, or enter properties where steps are a lot.

However, there is one major question that lots dog owners fail to ask themselves before attempting this quest, a question that when left not answered can usually end up in many younger dogs getting long lasting injuries. When can puppies climb stairs safely?

At What Age Can Puppies Start Climbing Stairs?

Generally, it is not advised to introduce a puppy to staircases until they are at least 12 weeks to 16 weeks old and very confident on their legs (meaning there is no clumsiness or wobbling).

That being said, it is not unusual for younger puppies to take smaller steps at time intervals, especially if they are really confident or boisterous. If you find out your puppy can climb certain areas with small sets of steps in the home, do not  panic as it is completely a normal behavior.

Likewise, you should not scold your puppy as this could cause them to develop a negative feelings towards with the activity.

If your puppy is regularly climbing steps, such as those found on a porch or patio, allow them to  as this is highly unlikely to have any negative effect on their health and will help them in building confidence in tackling stairs for the very first time.

However endeavor always make sure to prevent your pooch from climbing larger sets of stairs (such as those that lead to a higher floors in the house), until they are of an right age to reduce the chances of injury.

Furthermore, this advice is useful when it comes to much larger breeds such as Labradors and Golden Retrievers, which we will look into further later in the article.

If you have one of these breeds or a similarly sized dog, make sure to keep them away from staircases until they are at least up to16 weeks old. In fact not doing this could be harmful on the long run.

In Addition, you should also notice that it takes time for small breeds, such as Yorkshire Terriers, West Highland Terriers, Chihuahuas, Mini Poodles, and Jack Russel Terriers, to grow to a size to which they can easily tread steps without any inconvenience.

This is because of their tiny size and short legs compared to medium and large breed dogs. Furthermore, owners of smaller dogs should be careful not to force their puppies to climb stairs when they are still young, as doing this could lead to fatal injuries as a result of a fall or tumbling.

Though we might not realize it, staircases can be extremely high for small dog breeds.

Are Staircases Bad For Puppy’s Hips?

Unfortunately, many larger breeds of dogs are easily prone to hip conditions, named Hip Dysplasia, which could plague them throughout both their young stages and adulthood. Dogs suffering from this is mainly inherited genetic disorder, then develop issues on the ball and socket joints that allows their hip joint to move in  smooth motions. Instead, the ball and socket will constantly rub and grind against each other, causing dogs significant levels of pain.

Over time, this unusual motion will end up in the deterioration of the joint, with some dogs completely losing the ability to maneuver after a few years have passed by.

Although not a conclusion, there are some evidence that puppies can by a certain level increase their risk of developing Hip Dysplasia by climbing stairs before their limbs have properly matured and strengthened.

Despite being mainly hereditary by origin, some dogs can develop this condition just through experiencing excess stress on their joints or by acquiring injuries. Also, other environmental factors such as your puppy’s diet and nutrients in diet, exercise routine schedule, and weight can play a vital role.

Once they get to a certain age, puppies will be treading up stairs at will.

Therefore, before your puppies are introduced to stairs, try and find out whether they are at a risk of developing Hip Dysplasia.

If they belong to this category, prevent them from treading stairs until they are at least 12 months.

Majorly, the breeds mostly affected by Hip Dysplasia are Mastiffs, Retrievers, Stafford shire Terriers, Shepherds, Rottweilers, St Bernard’s, and Bulldogs though most large breeds can be easily prone to it. However, it is worth stating that Hip Dysplasia can come up in medium or smaller sized dogs from time to time, although this is very rare.

If you are worried about Hip Dysplasia happening with your puppy, discuss with your veterinarian.

Often,they will be at the disposal to inform you whether or not your breed of dog is at a high risk of probably developing this issue later in the future. With adequate care and treatments done at early stages,dogs can easily live a very healthy and painless life.

Is It At All Safe To Allow Your Puppy To Climb Stairs On Their Own?

Also with the risk of Hip Dysplasia, young pups who regularly climb the stairs not supervised are at a greater risk of sustaining injuries. Therefore, you should ensure to keep a keen eye on your pup when they are trying to climb stairs, even if they have effortlessly done so in past times.

Despite lots of dog owners feeling this is too much or not necessary, all it takes is one really bad fall for a puppy to seriously  sustain injuries. To reduce the chance of this ever happening you should always block the staircases before leaving the house, even if you are gone for a short moment.

Alternatively, if you can not to block access you can plead with a friend or family member to help keep an eye on your puppy.

In cases of much older puppies (9 months and above), it is alright to allow them to climb stairs by themselves. At this stage of their life,they would have developed all functions and  necessary skills to climb stairs without any aid. That being said, be really careful  not to leave any foreign object on the steps to reduce the chances of your puppy tumbling and falling. Likewise, you should not encourage your puppy from playing on the stairs or running up the stairs, as this can also increase the risk of fatal injuries. Furthermore, this behavior is not only harmful to the dogs but can result in the owners being seriously injured as well.

How Can You Teach A Puppy To Use Staircases?

Teaching a pup on  how to climb stairs  is a really straightforward task. For instance, one widely used method mostly used by dog owners is placing treats or snacks on the stairs.

To start, get some treats and put them on the first 2 or 3 steps, slowly encouraging your puppy to climb each stairs. After they would have done this successfully, place few more treats higher  and keep repeating the process, continuing until they have completely climbed to the top of the staircase.

Make sure that you give your puppy treats for every step they have climbed successfully as this will encourage them that they have nothing to fear.

In addition, you should remember to always be patient,it could take multiple tries before they eventually feel comfortable. All puppies are diverse, some may take some weeks before they can climb the stairs without being stuck or frightened.

Similarly, try to put in confidence to your puppy, even if  you are nervous inside. They will easily pick up on your positive attitude towards them and feel less fear when trying to climb the stairs for the first time.


Although home environments are mostly a safe space and really comfortable place for puppies to grow in, there are most times several areas that can prove challenging for even the most excited of puppies along balconies, staircases are up there with worse ones.

comparably, some dogs might develop the unwillingness to step on sliding patios doors, much to their owners’ continued being surprised and amused.

With puppies and staircases you need to keep a keen eye on them until they are much older, more strong, and big enough to climb up or down the stairs.

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