Best Dog Steps to Prevent Arthritis and Protect Joints

Buddy, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, was only four pounds when he came to live with me and he looked like a Beanie Baby. Holding his tiny warm body close to my chest, I realized how high up off the ground my bed would be to him and that it could be fatal if he fell off. I hadn’t yet heard of doggie steps, dog stairs or dog ramps. Buddy and I watched TV together, curled up in the center of the queen-size mattress, not close enough to the edge for him to fall. But he grew quickly, as puppies do, and it wasn’t long before Buddy could jump on and off the bed. It was a joy to watch him. His exuberance gave me a contact high.

One day, during a regular check-up, the vet said Buddy had a luxating patella. My chest constricted and I felt faint. “A what?” The vet said, “A patella is a knee cap. Luxate means dislocate—it moves easily out of position.” He mentioned the prospect of surgery.

I was horrified. “Buddy is fine now and we’re talking about a future maybe. Is there a way to avoid an operation?”

“Don’t let him jump up and down,” the vet said. “Landing from a jump causes extreme stress on the joints which can lead to arthritis.”

Primetime Petz 3-in-1: Elegant, high quality, wooden night stand with built-in steps and drawers that triple as furniture, pet stairs and storage space. $190. (

At home, I began picking up Buddy from the bed or couch and placing him gently on the floor. But he mistook this as a game and would wriggle free, run around in circles chasing his tail, and resume jumping on and off the bed.

One night I saw a TV commercial for Doggy Steps and called the toll free number. When I found out the Steps only cost $24.95, I was pleased and ordered one set, but thanks to a promotion received two sets for the price of one. I was excited when the two sets of stairs arrived, but disappointed that they were made of flimsy plastic and had to be assembled. The cover was made of cheap carpeting and it was white, which I knew would get filthy in a week. Determined to be a good mom I assembled the pieces and propped one staircase in front of the couch and one in front of the bed. Problem solved, right?


Buddy was fine walking up and down from the couch but the steps weren’t high enough for him to reach the bed. He tried scrambling up from the too-short top step to the mattress but he’d stumble and I’d catch him mid-fall. He couldn’t figure it out and quit trying. Instead he avoided it all together.

Dismayed, I talked to neighbors who owned dogs. Some had steps, some didn’t, but nobody could remember where they’d gotten them. I turned to Google.

I wanted to upgrade. Aside from the TV steps being less than adequate, they looked cheap. I wanted high quality, attractive, long-lasting doggy steps that would be made of wood to match my décor.


What I Bought

Lucky Pet Steps
Lucky Pet Decorative Step: Elegant, decorative, cherry wood. Holds over 200 pounds. Comes fully assembled. Free shipping. $125-$188. (


I spent days searching all of the options. My research paid off. The Uncommon Dog sells elegant cherry wood decorative two, three and four-step doggy stairs with carpet pads on each step. It is a solid piece of furniture, sturdy enough to hold more than 200 pounds. The cost was the best $188 I ever spent, and shipping was free. The piece arrived assembled within a week and, after one day of training him with treats, Buddy took to the stairs with ease. He hasn’t jumped off the furniture since. He is now 10 years old and still has a luxating patella, but he is not limping and shows no signs of needing surgery. Seeing him trot up and down the steps with abandon is all the confirmation I need.


Here are a more products I found online to protect your pets, or help them if they are post-surgical or have joint problems.


Plush Foam
Plush Foam Dog Steps: Soft, cushiony, available in 6 colors and 3 sizes. $100-$150. (


Wood Pet Steps: WIth built-in sliding drawers to store your pet’s toys. Availalbe in 4 colors, 2 sizes. Starts at $120. (


Wood dog steps
Decorative Wood and Carpeted Steps: With sliding drawers, lift-up stair tops, doorways to enclosed area where your pet can snuggle in private. 8 colors, 2 sizes. $160-$185. (


PoolPup: Dog pool stairs that are slip proof, adjustable, safe and stable. Protect your pet from drowning. $140 plus shipping. For dogs up to 50 lbs. (