How Safe Is It for Your Dog to Jump off Furniture?

As a dog Mom and professional dog trainer, dog safety is always on my mind. It seems every year, I start to question things I’ve done in the past, as to whether or not it is safe. My current dog, Dexter, is a small breed dog. Ok, so he’s double the breed standard, but still is only 27 pounds.   He’s my first small breed dog.   He’s also the first dog I’ve cared for that was allowed full access to furniture.

Dog ramps can help protect your dog from joint injury.

Dog ramps can help protect your dog from joint injury.

But let’s back up a few more years. Before Dexter, there was, and is, my cat, Nutter. Nutter had luxating patellas, basically dislocated kneecaps. Nutter underwent surgery to correct the problem.   My veterinarian made it clear that Nutter was not to jump down from anything for a few months while he healed.   This always stuck in the back of my mind.

Yes, my cat had to have crate rest.  I confined Nutter to my small office, placed a small baby shirt on him, and took down his climbing tree.  When I worked in the office, and could supervise, I allowed Nutter to roam the room.  We continued this until given the all clear from his veterinarian.

When Dexter came into my life, it felt right to make sure he had steps or ramps to get down from furniture, particularly my tall bed. My head was telling me how it must be pretty rough on a dog’s joints, back, and neck to land at such an angle. But, was I right? I asked a few leading veterinarians about my concerns, and this is what they had to say.

Pet stairs help keep stress off of dog's joints.

Pet stairs help keep stress off of dog’s joints.

“I treat a lot of pets for injuries from jumping on and off furniture,” says Dr. Judy Morgan, a holistic veterinarian and the author of several books on pet healing. “Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) is commonly exacerbated by jumping and twisting the back. I see shoulders and necks that are jammed from jumping down, particularly onto hardwood or tile floors where the landing is slippery. Even large dogs can be injured jumping down from high beds, particularly on slippery floors.”

“Because many clients are not aware of pre-existing chiropractic subluxations and arthritis in their pets until the animal simply cannot get up, owners often allow their pets to run, jump and play hard, without attention to gait balance,” explains Dr. Cynthia Maro, who has practiced integrative medicine for 28 years, including animal chiropractic and rehabilitative therapies.   “When pets are encouraged or prompted to jump for a treat, the activity puts stress on weak joints and trauma is likely to result,” she says.

Hearing from these professionals that jumping down from furniture – and I can only assume cars too – may potentially cause injury to our dogs and pets, I feel a little relieved, in that I haven’t been just a Mother Hen but rather a good dog Mom. Luckily there are a lot of great dog stairs and ramps out there on the market.   I personally have a set of Puppy Stairs and Pet Gear Steps. If Dexter wasn’t small, I would invest in a car ramp as well.   But, since he’s small, I just pick him up and place him on the ground when he gets out of the car. Now, I am wondering about some of his crazy play antics, like jumping like a mad dog for the flying disc. I’ll have to think on that one a bit more.

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About Tonya Wilhelm

Tonya Wilhelm, a dedicated dog training and cat care specialist, author, and public speaker, has traveled the US presenting seminars promoting positive ways to prevent and manage dog and cat behavior issues with a holistic approach. Named one of the top ten dog trainers in the United States, she has helped thousands of pet parents build happy, long-lasting relationships with their dogs using only humane, kind, and positive pet training methods. She has authored a variety of books, including Proactive Puppy Care, Please Stay-Help For A Dog With Separation Anxiety, Dexter's Delights-Fun and Healthy Treats For Dogs, and What's For Dinner, Dexter?: Cooking For Your Dog Using Chinese Medicine Theory. Tonya is a frequent blogger and contributor to various magazines. Local clients can choose group dog training classes or private, one-on-one behavioral training. Globally, Tonya provides pet training and behavior services via phone and the internet, and presents workshops at pet expos. Visit Tonya at
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8 Responses to How Safe Is It for Your Dog to Jump off Furniture?

  1. Good cautions; thanks for this. And don’t forget jumping out of cars! I lift all my dogs out of the car now after hearing a caution from a vet who treated a lot of agility dogs.

  2.' Sonya says:

    It certainly raises the question of injury in dog sports too – even jumping and twisting to catch balls or frisbees mid air. It’s good to ask questions about what we ask or expect dogs to do frequently.

    • Thanks, for commenting Sonya. Very true. Sometimes I feel I have to let go a little bit. Dexter and I don’t play dog sports in a real sense, so I haven’t had to really focus on that. I’m not sure where I would fall if I did….

  3.' Bella S says:

    Great article. We needed a ramp to load our aging lab in the car. It works great for the side door or trunk.

  4.' debbie ostoic says:

    Hi Love your blog,,, I have a 11/12 year old lab with arthritis… we have her on deramax, syn flex and she has lost 7 lbs, 2 lbs away from her goal,,,,, we have done everything possible,,, but this past week, twice. back to back, after waking up in the morning limping,,, first back left leg,, brought her into the vet,, was checked out fine,,, she advised us to lessen the amount of walk time,,,, that was yesterday… this morning she wakes up and has trouble walking on her front right paw,,,?? the only thing I can figure is, she still jumps up on the couch to sleep,, sometimes 10 15 times a day,,,,, Im thinking this is what is causing her sporatic limping,,,, any advise? she does have her own dog bed.. but doesnt like it as much as our couch lol..

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