8 Dog-Proof Tricks to Stop Your Dog Falling Down The Stairs

Last Updated: October 9, 2023 | 6 min read | 13 Comments

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Here’s how it works.

Jack Russel Mix Dog Running Down Wooden Stairs

When it comes to dog’s stairs are bad news.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a large staircase joining upstairs, or a few steps on your porch. Stairs are an accident waiting to happen.

An excited dog rushing down your stairs can easily slip and tumble…

And going up isn’t much better, especially for elderly dogs with hip and joint problems, navigating a staircase can be difficult and painful.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Today, I’m going to share eight tricks to keep your dog safe on the stairs – no more falls!

1. Visit The Vet

Vet explaining to husky dog what is causing his stair climbing problems

Is your dog having stair trouble? The problem may not be your stairs.

It might be your dog.

Some medical issues it difficult for a dog to scale stairs:

  • Arthritis
  • Hip and hind leg problems
  • Joint issues
  • Damaged nerves
  • Vestibular disease (affects balance)

The symptoms may be invisible on flat ground. However, once your pup climbs up the stairs, they can be easily spotted.[1]

It’s at this stage that many owners miss the medical issue and blame the stairs instead.

Don’t make the same mistake.

The next time your dog goes up or down the stairs, watch him closely – you may notice clues that you should take your dog to the Vet for a check-up…

For example, a dog who awkwardly hops up the stairs may have hip issues, a dog that stumbles while heading down the stairs may have joint problems and a dog that leans against the wall when ascending or descending may have a neurological issue.

Don’t delay in seeing a vet. If caught in the early stages, many of these medical issues are treatable or manageable – your pup will have a better life for it!

2. Block off your stairs

White Labrador sitting at bottom of hardwood stairs with dog gate blocking his way up

Perhaps the best solution to dog-proofing your staircase is to block your dog’s access to it. After all, your clumsy pup can’t trip or tumble on the stairs if he can’t climb them in the first place!

One of the best ways to stop your dog scampering up the stairs is with a pet gate.

With a pet gate installed at the base of your staircase, it will be impossible for your dog to climb the stairs.

While it may block your dog’s access, you are free to come and go as you see fit, open the latch and step through – many gates even automatically close behind you.

North States Easy Swing Gate

North States Easy Swing Pet Gate For Stairs

Stops All Sized Dogs

This pet gate hits the sweet spot between durability and cost. An affordable solution to block stair access

The exact pet gate you need will vary according to you’re the design of your stairs.

For example, a spiral staircase, or those of you with rounded banisters requires a different gate stairs with a wall on either side.

For outdoor stairs: Those of you who want a good pet gate for your patio or deck should check out the Cardinal Gates Outdoor Safety Gate – It’s weatherproof and capable of holding up to harsh Arizona summers or Florida’s wet season.

3. Get a better grip

Small black and white dog descending stairs with carpet stair treads on the surface of each step

Are your stairs carpeted? Then you can skip this section. But for everyone else, your steps could be the reason your dog falls down the stairs.

Especially if your steps are…

  • Linoleum
  • Tile
  • Hardwood

These surfaces are slippery. Especially when your dog is scampering up and down them at speed. One miss-step and your pups foot could slide right off the step, leading to a tumble.

One of the best ways to give your slippery stairs some extra grip is with stick-on stair treads.

Place a tread on each step, and your clumsy dog will never slip down your stairs again.

Non-Slip Carpet Stair Treads

Non-slip carpet stair treads to stop dog slipping on hardwood steps

Extra Grip For Your Steps

Place a stair-tread on each step and your dog will be as sure-footed as a mountain goat

You could also use a stair runner. Essentially an extra long rug designed to run down your entire staircase, a stair runner can also give your dog some much-needed traction on a slippery staircase. I prefer stair treads as they are a considerably cheaper option.

Not feeling the carpet? Check out this clear anti-slip stair tape instead. The coarse surface will give your dog traction as he scampers down the stairs. Best of all, It’s almost invisible.

For outdoor stairs: Grab a Rubber Stair Mat instead. Rubber mats will hold up to the harsh weather and won’t slip when resting on brick or concrete steps.

4. Carry your dog

Woman carrying her elderly Cavalier King Charles Spaniel up the concrete stairs

Feeling strong? The easiest way to get a pint-sized pup down down stairs is to carry him.

With a good grip on your dog, you can help your dog skip the stairs altogether. Plus, it’s a good cardio workout!

If you have a wiggler or your pup doesn’t play nice when being carried, you could always use a travel kennel.

Simply load your dog in the kennel and shut the door. It doesn’t matter how much your dog barks or wiggles, you won’t drop him.

Once you have carried the kennel up the stairs, open the door and let him back out.

Got a larger dog? Check out our next recommendation instead…

5. Use a dog lift

Dog in adjustable lift harness being helped up paved stairs

Larger dogs, like Labradors or German Shepherds, often experience hip or joint problems as they get older. Old age isn’t kind to the joints. And neither are stairs.

When going up the stairs, your pup places weight on his hind quarters. To put it simply, going up and down stairs hurts.

In extreme cases, some dog’s find climbing the stairs so painful that they avoid it altogether.

Fortunately, you can help take the weight off your dog’s hind legs by using a dog sling.

Loobani Portable Dog Sling

Portable dog sling to support hind legs during stair climbing

Easy Support

Loop this sling around your pup, and you can support his hid quarters as he climbs the stairs.

Loop the sling around your pup’s rear and lift. The sling supports your dog’s back-end, keeping weight off inflamed hips and joints.

Your dog can now walk up your stairs without discomfort.

For outdoor stairs: Grab a Solvit Carelift instead. Supporting your dog up stairs you come across on your walk becomes effortless.

6. Install a ramp

Bulldog puppy struggling to get up concrete step

Got a short staircase? A pet ramp is a perfect solution to getting your dog safely up and down your stairs.

While pet ramps may be designed to help dogs get in and out cars, they work exceptionally well as a stair-aid.

Suitable for stairs with fewer than five steps, installation couldn’t be easier – set up can be done in seconds. all you need to do is lay the ramp over your stairs.

Golden retriever using portable pet ramp to get up and down short stairs

Your dog is now free to climb up and down your stairs whenever he wants.

Since ramps reduce the pressure placed on your dog’s hips and hind legs, they are ideal for older dogs. Best of all, there is no slipping – pet ramps feature a non-slip coating to stop your pup sliding back down.

Solvit Telescoping Pet Ramp

Solvit telescoping pet ramp to go over small stairs and steps

Easy Stair Climbing

This expandable ramp is the perfect size to cover your short staircase

Once your dog has made it up or down the stairs, you can remove the ramp.

Those of you with wide stairs can leave the ramp in place permanently. There should be enough room for you to get up the stairs without tripping over the ramp.

7. Improve visibility

Yorkshire Terrier unable to see stairs in darkness

Have you ever tried going down stairs on a pitch-black night? Not easy, right?

If your dog can’t see the stairs, then a fall is inevitable.

Poorly lit stairs can be incredibly difficult to navigate, especially if your dog has poor eyesight, depth perception, or mobility issues.

Exactly how you increase visibility will depend on your staircase and dog.

For example, is your staircase is dimly lit and your dog is healthy? Leaving the lights on could be all that is needed.

Poor eyesight can be overcome by making the steps stand out. The easiest way to do this is with duct tape. Place a strip of tape so that it folds over the edge of each step for some extra visibility.

Yellow Duck Tape

Yellow duct tape used for improving visibility on stairs for dogs

Improves Visibility

Thick tape that can be clearly seen by your dog as he climbs the stairs.

Duct tape will stick to wood, vinyl and, laminate, making it suitable for most staircases.

Be mindful that dogs don’t see colors the same way that humans do.[2] A yellow or blue tape will be the easiest for your dog to see.

8. Train your dog

Just like you can train your dog to stay out of specific rooms or stay in your yard, you can teach your dog not to go on the stairs. This is known as boundary training or invisible barrier training. [3]

Here’s a quick tutorial on how boundary training works:

How far you take this training is entirely up to you…

One particularly clever owner we spoke to during our dog doorbell review trained her dog to ring a bell for assistance. When the dog wanted to come up the patio steps, she would ring the bell and wait patiently for her owner to come and help her.

How do you stop your dog from hurting himself on the staircase? Got a tip to add? Let me know in the comments below!

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

Notify of
Oldest Most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Scroll to Top
Send this to a friend