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Rebecca, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 13024
Experience:  More than 30 years of companion animal practice.
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I have a 9-week old lab and have 2 flights of stairs from

Customer Question

I have a 9-week old lab and have 2 flights of stairs from our main floor to the backyard where he relieves himself (28 steps total). There are 17 more steps in the backyards to the yard area. I read that stairs should generally be avoided till at least 4 months, preferably a year, due to hip/elbow development. Is this true? He's already learned to walk up ALL these stairs and has been doing this for a couple days/couple times a day, but I started carrying again after learning of this. Is any damage done? Are all these stairs a long-term concern?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Rebecca replied 4 months ago.


Thank you for your question about Buster. My name is Rebecca. I am a veterinarian and will do my best to help.

Going up and down stairs should not affect the development of the joints. If he has a genetic condition like elbow or hip dysplasia, that is already there and the stairs will not make this worse or better. If he has healthy joints, then exercise and strengthening of muscle is good for him. I would avoid forced exercise, making him do anything he is not wanting to do.

He is still pretty young, so I might help him out if it is a struggle for him, but in a few weeks if he is going up and down the stairs with no problem, let him. If he stops and acts like he does not want to do the stairs yet, then carry him.

The exercise that is not recommended is taking a puppy jogging and "fence running": chasing another dog or people back and forth along a fence. I did some searching and did not find anything about not doing a couple of flights of stairs, if the puppy is not hesitant or reluctant.

Let me know if this helps and what else I can answer.

Expert:  Rebecca replied 4 months ago.

I hope you were able to see what I wrote. Please let me know if this is helpful and what other of your questions I can answer.

Expert:  Rebecca replied 4 months ago.

How is Buster doing? Can I answer any other questions?

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