Shopping for a dog ramp
There’s nothing like coming home from work on a friday night, ready to pour a glass of wine or pop open a beer, and crash on the couch. But a few weeks ago when my husband and I got home, we realized we had a serious problem on our hands. Our terrier mix, Kita, clearly wasn’t ok. We had noticed she wasn’t as perky and playful as she usually was for a couple of days. But she was eating, drinking, peeing and pooping, so we figured it would pass. But by that friday night, it was more than just not being playful. She was in pain.
I had already scheduled a vet appointment for saturday morning to have her looked at. We debated whether we should wait or take her to the emergency vet right away. We watched her closely and nothing changed. After an hour of this, we knew we would never sleep, so we took her in.
Kita is one of these dogs that prefers to approach people she doesn’t know when she is ready to meet them. She does not like it when strangers (to her) try to pet her. She just needs time to warm up, and once she does, she is fine. We weren’t sure how she would do at a new vet hospital when she wasn’t feeling ok..
The vet was kind and patient, working with Kita, allowing her to warm up in her own time. Frankly, I was surprised that Kita was as good as she was all things considering. She allowed the vet to take her back for and do an exam. It was quickly ascertained that her back was hurting. Whether it was a disc problem, a spinal issue or just a hurt back, we weren’t sure. Those answers wouldn’t come unless we had x-rays. At this point, relieving her of her pain was the most important goal.
We went home with some muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory and a pain reliever. She was not allowed to walk further than necessary to do her business, nor jump up on the furniture. Keeping a pogo stick jumping dog felt like a task beyond our ability. But we were warned that if she jumped and landed the wrong way, she could end up paralyzed. We took the warning seriously and began a 7 day stretch of zero activity.
Kita seemed to appreciate that as well. A week later, we took her in to see our regular vet for a follow up. While we could tell she was doing better, she was still clearly in some pain. We refilled her prescriptions and added a sedative to her routine. The better she felt, the harder it would be for us to keep her inactive. The vet sent us home with strict instructions of no activity for 2 more weeks!
We crated her when we weren’t home, and kept her on a leash right by our side when we were. Her walks gradually grew from the front yard to a house or two down the street, to walking the entire short street. We let her guide us as to how much she could handle. At the end of the two weeks we let her jump up on the couch, a shorter jump than to the bed. I think she realized that jumping was partially responsible for her pain, and she showed some hesitancy at times. Which I liked seeing. It will be impossible to keep her still forever, but if I can teach her to jump more carefully and less often, that will go a long way toward another back injury.
As the days went by, my husband and I decided the best long term solution would be to get a ramp. Our bed is higher than most since we bought a mattress with a pillow top. For a dog with 5 inch legs, that’s a tall jump. My husband sketched out a plan to build a ramp himself while I shopped online and in pet stores. Eventually we found one we think we will really like. With a golden retriever who just turned 9, she might as well start using a ramp too. The ramp we found would sit at the foot of the bed and has a railing so the dogs can’t jump off the side. It looked sturdy enough for big dogs as well and seemed to be the best option we found out there.
Since I’ve never bought a ramp for my dogs before, I’m only guessing at all the features that are important to have. If you have bought a ramp before and have a suggestion, I’d love to hear them!
Thanks for reading!