Can yorkies safely walk up and down stairs without injury? It’s no problem for our larger canine friends, but is it too strenuous for a yorkie’s smaller size?
This article covers the topic in depth and explains all the considerations a Yorkie owner needs to have. Let’s dive in!
Can Yorkies Go Up & Down Stairs?
Can yorkies navigate stairs?
Well, the answer is yes, Yorkies can go up and down stairs. The odd set of household stairs won’t cause you Yorkie harm.
However, stairs are not always safe for younger puppies or senior yorkies with health issues.
And in some situations, even healthy adults could be injured if required to go up/down a lot of steps too often.
Just like us humans, dogs need to learn how to use stairs safely and gradually to prevent injuries.
If we’re talking about just one flight of household stairs, and your Yorkie only needs to go up or down very infrequently, then it’s likely nothing to worry about.
Most dogs are physically capable of ascending and descending stairs, and Yorkies are no exception.
However, due to their small size and certain breed-specific health conditions, Yorkies may find stairs to be more of a challenge. Using stairs regularly can potentially lead to joint strain or injuries.
Signs of Injury From Stair Use
Yorkies can sustain injuries from using stairs excessively. If you know the signs you’ll be able to stop the stair use for now, while any injury heals.
Some of the most common signs of injury in Yorkies from stair use include:
- Limping or difficulty moving
- Yelping or showing signs of pain when walking or climbing
- Reduced activity or lack of enthusiasm for play
- Unusual behavior such as aggression or depression
- Swelling in the joints, especially the legs or spine
If you think your Yorkie has been injured directly by the usage of stairs, and they seem to be in moderate discomfort, it’s worth letting your veterinarian know.
As we’ll explain below, there’s some potential serious health issues that could be at play.
Why Are Yorkies At Risk?
You may be wondering, why are Yorkies specifically at risk when using stairs?
Their small size and breed characteristics make navigating stairs a tricky business.
Their little legs have to work extra hard to climb each step, which can put a lot of strain on their joints and back.
Moreover, Yorkies have a relatively high center of gravity due to their size, making them prone to tumbling down stairs if they’re not careful.
As highlighted by VCA Hospitals, they can easily slip and fall, which can result in fractures or other serious injuries.
Yorkie Joint Health & IVDD
Unfortunately, Yorkies are a breed prone to certain joint problems, including Legg-Calve-Perthes disease and patellar luxation.
Regular/excessive use of stairs can exacerbate these conditions and cause discomfort or pain to your Yorkie.
Another issue to be mindful of is Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD). This condition affects the discs in the spine and is relatively common in small breeds like Yorkies.
Excessive or improper use of stairs can put undue strain on your Yorkie’s spine, potentially leading to IVDD. To learn more about IVDD, visit PetMd’s that covers this topic completely.
How Many Stairs/Flights of Stairs Is Okay?
Deciding how many stairs or flights of stairs a Yorkie can safely manage is a complex decision that varies for each individual dog.
Factors such as the dog’s age, health status, physical conditioning, and the size of the stairs all play a role. However, there are some general rules of thumb to follow.
For a healthy, adult Yorkie, a regular set of household stairs are usually manageable and unlikely to cause much harm if going up/down infrequently (2-3 times per day).
The issue comes when it’s repetitive and often. If your Yorkie has to go up and down several time a day, this could definitely start causing issues.
As for flights of stairs, it’s best to limit this as much as possible. Even for a healthy Yorkie, climbing a full flight of stairs can be a strenuous task. If your living situation requires your Yorkie to navigate multiple flights of stairs daily, it might be worth considering a doggy backpack to carry your Yorkie, or consider using lifts.
For seniors or puppies, it’s best to limit the stair use altogether just to be on the safe side. Let’s cover puppies in more depth below.
What About Yorkie Puppies?
Yorkie puppies are even more at risk when it comes to stairs.
Their bones are still developing and they’re still mastering coordination, which makes stairs a potential danger zone.
It’s recommended to keep Yorkie puppies away from stairs until they’re fully grown and physically capable.
Moreover, Yorkie puppies are naturally curious and won’t understand the risk associated with stairs.
An unattended puppy could easily tumble down a staircase, potentially resulting in severe injuries.
Stair Use After Being Spayed or Neutered
After being spayed or neutered, your Yorkie will need plenty of rest and recuperation time.
During this recovery period, it’s crucial to limit their activity, including going up and down stairs.
Climbing or descending stairs can put stress on the surgical site and potentially lead to complications such as inflammation, bleeding, or the opening of the wound.
Immediately following the surgery, it’s best to carry your Yorkie up and down stairs or use ramps if they are available.
Their movement should be restricted for the first few days to a week, depending on your vet’s specific instructions. Always ensure they are closely monitored during this time.
Keep in mind that every Yorkie is unique and recovery times can vary. Your vet will provide you with a detailed recovery plan which should be followed meticulously. This will include guidelines for when your Yorkie can start returning to regular activities such as climbing stairs.
Ways to Prevent Yorkie From Using The Stairs
There are several ways to prevent your Yorkie from using the stairs and potentially injuring themselves:
- Install baby gates: This is one of the most effective ways to keep your Yorkie from using stairs. They can be easily installed and removed when necessary.
- Use a pet ramp or steps: These are designed specifically for small dogs and can help them navigate heights safely.
- Carry your Yorkie: Especially for younger puppies or older dogs, it may be safest to simply carry your Yorkie up and down stairs.
- Training: With patience and positive reinforcement, you can train your Yorkie to stay away from stairs.
By taking these preventive measures, you can keep your furry friend safe and sound!
Navigating the world can be a big adventure for our little Yorkie friends. While they are physically capable of ascending and descending stairs, we must remember that they can face potential risks and challenges.
With a little forethought and a few preventive measures, we can ensure that our Yorkies remain happy, healthy, and ready for their next adventure. It’s always best to consult with your veterinarian regarding any health concerns or if you suspect any injuries. As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.