We often receive questions about corgis climbing stairs and whether or not it’s good or bad for them? As this is such a common concern for corgi owners, we’ve put together this guide that answers everything you want to know.
Although the occasional staircase is okay, Corgis should not routinely climb stairs as it could cause serious back issues over time. Corgis are prone to spinal problems and therefore should not frequently climb, jump, or sprint.
Are Stairs Bad For Corgis?
If your Corgi repeatedly climbs staircases many times per day then yes, climbing stairs will ultimately be bad for corgis.
Long-term use of staircases will wear away at their back and lead to spinal issues (IVDD). More on that below.
Important note: It’s also just as bad (if not worse) coming down the stairs as well as going up them. Both up and down motions will cause additional stress on your Corgi’s back and joints.
Your Corgi’s age:
Puppies (under 1 year) and seniors (over 9 years) should avoid staircases at all costs, even going up/down once should be avoided where possible. Puppies and seniors have vulnerable bodies and we must preserve their joints at all costs.
All stairs are different, and some are far easier to climb and come down than others, and this does make a big difference.
Stairs outside of a house are typically long and shallow, whereas staircases inside the home or building can be very tall and steep. The steeper the stairs, the harder your Corgi’s body has to work to go up and down them.
How many times your Corgi climbs them:
It also depends on how many times your Corgi climbs the stairs. If your Corgi is only climbing stairs one or two times per day then there likely isn’t anything to worry about.
Of course, the less the better, but at this frequency, injury is unlikely. But problems may start if your Corgi needs to go up and down several times per day.
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Why Is Climbing Stairs Bad For Corgis
So what’s the big deal with climbing stairs? Why is it so (potentially) bad for Corgis…
Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)
The main problem is that Corgis are prone to back & spinal issues, most notably something called Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD for short). This debilitating health problem is not only painful but can impact mobility and in severe cases cause paralysis and nerve damage.
I’ll keep it simple: Every time your Corgi lands or puts stress on their back, the cushioning discs in between the vertebrae take the load.
Eventually, with too much stress, the cushioning discs can herniate, rupture, bulge, or slip outwards. Affected discs can touch surrounding nerves in the spinal column, causing extreme pain and even paralysis.
The worst thing about all of this is that IVDD can be hard to diagnose early and often goes underlying for years until it develops enough to cause sudden and often painful symptoms. This is why it’s crucial to be proactive when it comes to joint health.
Too much stair climbing could also cause your corgi to limp.
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In addition to IVDD, hip dysplasia is another common health problem Corgis may develop.
Hip dysplasia can develop in Corgis from a very young age (3-4 months old) which means preventative measures need to start early.
Although hip dysplasia can be genetic, it can also be caused by trauma to the hip joint. And trauma can be caused by too much climbing, running, sprinting, or hard landings.
Treatment for hip dysplasia varies. For some, it will be treatable and for others, it may not be so simple. It typically depends on your Corgi’s age, and how far along their condition is.
Interesting Corgi Article:
Is It Worse For Corgis To Go UP or DOWN?
What goes up, must come down… So every time your Corgi goes upstairs or jumps up on the couch, they must eventually come down again too. And coming down is actually worse.
Gravity isn’t always our friend, which means coming down or landing will put more stress on the discs than going upwards. Although overtime too much of either will cause issues.
Should You Let Your Corgi Climb Stairs?
While this is a serious topic, you don’t need to panic and start looking for bungalows for sale… Everyday life happens and we can’t stop that. Your Corgi will be fine going up and downstairs so long as it isn’t all the time.
For puppies and seniors, you should definitely avoid letting them go up and down. If you are fit enough to pick them up and carry them up or down, it is advised to do that (even though it sounds a little impractical).
However, for adults, simply being aware of this potential issue should be enough for you to dissuade your Corgi from climbing too much.
Additional Things To Know
Aside from stairs, there are two other problematic behaviors that could lead to the same spinal issues. Let’s cover them below
Jumping is something else that owners should be aware of. From jumping up/down from the couch or when running and grabbing their favorite ball, jumping is another cause of IVDD. I have an article dedicated to corgis and jumping you might want to check out.
Sprinting is another very common behavior that should be monitored. Corgis are quite the sprinters and while they are not long-distance runners, love nothing more than chasing their ball in the park.
However, sprinting also applies a similar level of stress to their back and joints overall as jumping does. We aren’t saying your Corgi can’t sprint, but again, when it’s excessive it could become a problem.
Should Corgis Take Joint Supplement?
Overall joint health is very much at the heart of the original question and topic, so should Corgis take joint supplements?
Vets recommend that if your Corgis is frequently active in general then yes, a quality joint supplement is advised.
And it’s much safer to get a prescribed one from your vet than any old one over the counter.
Although a joint supplement will not prevent serious back injuries from happening, it will preserve the joints more so than without. So it’s certainly advised for adults and seniors.
Additional resource info:
Let’s run through some of the most frequently asked questions on this topic.
What is Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) and why are Corgis more susceptible to it?
Answer: IVDD, or Intervertebral Disc Disease, is a health condition where the cushioning discs between the vertebrae can herniate, rupture, bulge, or slip outwards.
These affected discs can touch the nerves in the spinal column, leading to pain and even paralysis. Corgis are particularly prone to this condition due to their elongated spine, which can be put under stress during activities like climbing stairs, jumping, or sprinting.
What are the early signs of spinal or joint issues in Corgis?
Answer: Early signs of spinal or joint issues in Corgis include limping, difficulty moving, reluctance to jump or climb, and visible pain or discomfort.
As IVDD can be hard to diagnose early and may develop underlyingly for years, it’s essential to be observant of your Corgi’s behavior and consult with a veterinarian if any abnormalities are noticed.
How can I create a safer environment for my Corgi to prevent potential spinal injuries?
Answer: To ensure a safer environment, limit your Corgi’s access to steep stairs, especially if they’re frequently used.
Avoid allowing your Corgi to jump from high surfaces like couches or beds. Instead, provide ramps or steps to help them. Also, while Corgis enjoy sprinting, ensure that it’s done in moderation and on even surfaces to prevent potential injuries.
What role does genetics play in Corgis developing hip dysplasia or IVDD?
Answer: Genetics can play a significant role in the development of hip dysplasia and IVDD in Corgis.
While trauma or excessive stress on the joints can trigger these conditions, some Corgis might be predisposed to them due to their genetic makeup. It’s always advisable to get a comprehensive health background when adopting or buying a Corgi from breeders.
How often should I consult a vet regarding my Corgi’s joint health?
Answer: Regular vet check-ups are essential for all dogs. Given Corgis’ predisposition to joint and spinal issues, it’s beneficial to have a bi-annual check-up focused on their joint health.
Additionally, always consult a vet if you observe any unusual behaviors or signs of pain in your Corgi.