One of the challenges I am starting to have with Milly is her difficulty getting in and out of trucks or SUV’s and on and off my bed. Milly is 10ish, and as she has aged I have fed her Cosequin, a joint supplement, as a daily preventative, but accessing high objects has become more difficult for her. This worries me, because I have read that jumping on and off high objects like a truck, high bed or grooming table can lead to serious injuries and really damage joints, especially in large breeds.
Last spring Milly and I took a ride in the bed of a truck – normally I would never allow her to ride lose in a truck bed, but in this instance we were going no more than 5mph and I was riding with her – when I asked her to “kennel up” (her command to jump into a car) she jumped and then started to fall. I immediately wrapped my arms around her to catch her, but in my haste and worry forgot that two years ago I had shoulder surgery and could no longer lift her, she came crashing into my face and I fell onto the ground with 68 lbs of Golden Retriever on top of me. Milly was fine, and apart from a very swollen, bruised and bloody nose, I was too. This was the first instance where I thought, “she’s really aging.”
Since our truck incident I have been extremely cautious with Milly jumping in-and-out of vehicles or onto high furniture. I often make my boyfriend lift her into any SUV, and even then I’m still worried. I have thought a lot about dog ramps, as they seem like the logical choice in addressing Milly’s aging body and enabling her, a geriatric dog, to safely get in-and-out or off-and-on cars and furniture without Bill or I having to lift her, and with no stress to her joints. What intrigues me most about a dog ramp is it will work for Milly to safely go on-and-off the bed as well as in-and-out of the car – so it is versatile.
I stumbled upon this YouTube video that shows a senior dog trying out two different dog ramps from Pet Gear.
In this video you see a senior dog getting used to the Pet Gear Tri-Fold ramp as well as a smaller indoor ramp. The tri-fold ramp gives the dog easy access in and out of an SUV, while the indoor ramp will help him climb onto his owner’s bed.
Overall, I would recommend that anyone with a large breed dog use a ramp as a preventative to injury, but this is especially critical with senior dogs. I am going to look into how hard it would be to build my own ramp, and if that proves too difficult I will either be purchasing pet stairs or a ramp for Milly to help protect her from injury when accessing a vehicle or furniture. I have no desire to take and chances when I know there are safe alternatives available.