Click an exercise below to see illustrations and details:

Stairs & Steps:

What are exercises on stairs and steps?

Exercises using stairs and steps include walking up and down the stairs or steps.

Why were exercises on stairs and steps prescribed for my pet?

Exercises using stairs and steps require a pet to pick up their legs to walk up and down the stairs and steps. This activity improves power in the rear limbs. These exercises also increase range of motion and develop balance and coordination.

What can I use for the stairs and steps?

Commercial steps are available. They can be purchased from dog agility retailers or from online retailers. Stairs and steps in the home are also appropriate.

When are exercises on stairs and steps recommended?

Exercises on stairs and steps should only begin when the pet shows minimal lameness. The pet should also be able to walk on inclines and declines without pain or difficulty.

What are the exercise guidelines?

Check with your veterinarian on when and at what level you should start your pet with these exercises depending on their health status and stage of OA. Initially, begin slowly on stairs with a gradual rise. As your pet improves, he or she can progress to steeper stairs.

What are the safety considerations?

Starting slowly is important to make sure the pet is properly using the rear limbs. Do not allow the pet to hop or skip up the stairs and steps.

Bockstahler B, Levine D, Millis D. Essential Facts of Physiotherapy in Dogs and Cats:
Rehabilitation and Pain Management. Babenhausen, Germany. 2004. BE VetVerlag. p 65.

Millis DL, Levine D, Taylor RA. Canine Rehabilitation & Physical Therapy. St Louis. 2004.
Saunders. p 258.

  • Exercises on stairs or steps encourage your dog to lift their legs, as seen here.

Click here to find out the stages of OA and suggested exercises. Find a dog park in your area.