Can Bulldogs Climb Stairs?


You might not realize this, since it is probably second nature to you, but climbing up or down stairs requires complicated biomechanics. It requires energy, skill, and balance. Bulldogs have tiny legs and heavy bodies which makes taking the stairs a challenging proposition.

Bulldogs can climb up and down stairs. It’s harder for English bulldogs compared to other breeds due to their short stature, muscular build, and chubby bodies, but it is possible. However, vets recommend that bulldogs avoid going up and down stairs too often, as it is not good for their joints.

Can bulldogs climb up and down stairs?

Bulldogs are medium-sized dogs with large heads and short-muzzles. The short legs and unique body shapes make them walk a bit sideways with a waddling motion. Their front half is also larger and heavier than their other half which makes complicated body movements like going up or down stairs a bit difficult.

All these physical characteristics combined with the fact that bulldogs are lower to the ground makes climbing stairs a tough task for them.

Are bulldogs afraid of stairs?

Just like most puppies, bulldog puppies can be afraid of stairs, especially coming down stairs, as they sense the danger of possibly tumbling down from great heights. Bulldog puppies don’t have a lot of coordination, so complicated maneuvering with those tiny little legs is understandably terrifying for them. They fear that their paws may not reach the next step while going down the stairs, making it a struggle for them to manage each step.

Is it dangerous for bulldogs to climb stairs?

The bones and growth plates of bulldog puppies are very fragile and that’s why they seem a bit awkward with their body movements. That’s why stair climbing can prove to be quite dangerous for puppies younger than 12 weeks of age. It can strain their joints and also increase the risk of hip dysplasia.

Stairs with a slippery surface can make bulldogs fall as they may lose their grip. They can also get their leg caught in the gaps of the stairs if they are open in the back.

In fact, making a few trips climbing up and down the stairs can tire your bulldog out and they can’t keep up in terms of energy with various other breeds. Make sure you pay attention to any signs of exertion and save any stair-climbing for another day if your pup is dog tired.

Is it easier for bulldogs to climb up or down stairs?

Climbing up the stairs is a bit easier for most bulldogs as it allows them to take their time in placing their paws to climb upwards. However, walking down the steps is scary for bulldogs, especially puppies. Gravity pulling them when stepping downwards calls for a lot more courage and balance to maneuver their legs downstairs.

How to help your bulldog climb up and down stairs

To help your pet climb up stairs, place some of their favorite treats on the first step, further encouraging them to reach the step and eat the treat. Repeat the same with the second step, and voila! Your pet will gradually be able to climb the next step and grab the treat.

For going down stairs, sprinkle some treats on the first stair as well as the landing spot, further teaching them to walk down one or two stairs at a time. Whether you teach them to climb up or down, keep adding one or two stairs into their practice daily until you see them climb stairs effortlessly.

To make it easier for your bulldog to maintain their balance, teach them to climb at an angle as it minimizes the chances of falling down the stairs. Eventually, your bulldog won’t require any encouraging treats to make it up or down the stairs, however they might still come in handy when they get lazy or stubborn!

Is it a good workout for bulldogs to use the stairs?

If taught properly at the right age, using the stairs can be a great workout for bulldogs. It not only targets various muscles engaged in walking and running, but it also helps in building or rebuilding the muscles in their hind legs. Stair climbing is the next most effective exercise for dogs after swimming and a great way for dogs to lose weight if they are on the heavier side.

It makes for an intense workout as every time the dog climbs a step up, he lifts his body weight to reach the next step. On the other hand, going downwards calls for the dog to control his descent, thereby leading to a negative contraction of the dog’s muscles.

A perfect indoor exercise, it works wonders for coordination, while improving their range of motion. Your bulldog needs to make sure to place his legs correctly on each step when climbing up or down, thereby undergoing a mental exercise as well.

What stops bulldogs from using stairs?

There are several situations and conditions that make it hard or even impossible for bulldogs to climb stairs.

Fear: If your bulldog is afraid of stairs, they may not climb them at all and will whine when you try to make them climb. A past injury, unfamiliarity, or a traumatic experience can lead to this behavior. You can always encourage them to climb the stairs taking one step at a time, offering them treats in the process.

Health problems: If your dog seems to be reluctant to use the stairs, certain health problems can be the underlying cause. Your bulldog can’t climb the stairs if they are suffering from hip dysplasia as a worn-out hip makes some movements quite painful for them. Arthritis is another condition that makes it painful to put too much weight on the affected joints.

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Ollie the English bulldog

Injuries: In case of a lacerated paw or a pulled muscle, your dog won’t be able to climb stairs. A thing to remember is that if your pet has undergone a limb or back surgery, they may not be able to use the stairs ever.

Aging: As they grow older, bulldogs suffer from restricted eyesight, less flexibility, and a decrease in their overall stability while walking. At this point they might not be able to climb stairs anymore.

What to do when your bulldog can no longer use the stairs?

As your dog grows older, they may not be able to use the stairs often or at all. If your little one can no longer climb up or down the stairs, you can always adopt a few simple measures to make things easier for them.

Keep their necessities on the same level: To avoid your dog from using the stairs, make sure you put their bedding, water and food bowls, and other essentials on the ground level of the house.

Physical strengthening: If your bulldog isn’t that old and is experiencing weakness in the legs due to certain medical conditions, you may consider getting the problem treated by taking your dog to physiotherapy or acupuncture treatments. Consult the vet on what all can be done to help your dog.

Get a ramp: Installing a wide ramp on the stairs is one of the best solutions to helping your elderly dog climb the stairs. Go for a lightweight, long ramp that doesn’t feel very steep for your dog. Try to find a ramp with support railing or guard rail on the side to avoid the dog from slipping off the surface if they have trouble staying steady while walking. Lastly, make sure the ramp has a non-slip, textured surface.

Using mobility-aids: You can also get a rehabilitation harness or dog support to help your bulldogs climb the stairs. Consult your vet for the appropriate harness for your dog.

If your bulldog is healthy and strong, they can surely climb and go down stairs. When your bulldog is young and still learning to climb stairs, have patience and expand the training sessions over a few weeks. In no time, your little friend will be able to climb up and down stairs without trouble!

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