January 23 2020

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Yes, a French bulldog can climb stairs with a few exceptions.  Read on to discover when it is and isn’t a good idea to allow them to use stairs, and why.

When Would it Be a Bad idea For a French Bulldog to Climb Up or Down Stairs?

In Old Age

During old age, a variety of dogs including the French bulldog can suffer from hip dysplasia and other health conditions, making it hard for them to get up and downstairs with ease.  Even for older French bulldogs that do not have a health condition, it can still put a strain on their already tired and worn joints.  It is best to carry the French bulldog up and down the stairs or find another solution to the stairs.

During Youth

Young French bulldogs will likely find it hard to coordinate and maneuver up and down the stairs.  This can cause unnecessary injury to the growing pup.  With all the other fun activities for you and your French bulldog pup to learn and explore, it is best to wait until they are older and better coordinated.

Injury and Illness

Any type of injury or illness can take its toll on your French Bulldog.  Their body may already be hurting or feeling sick.  Depending on how many stairs they have to climb this can add fatigue or pain to an already stressed body.  It is best to avoid the stairs during this time.

When They Are Fearful

No matter what age the French bulldog is if they show signs of fear or apprehension about using the stairs it is better to find an alternative like carrying them.  With time and patience, you may find they become curious and choose to try them.  Until that time, it is more important to consider their happiness.

Other Concerns for a French Bulldog and Stairs

Another problem with French bulldogs climbing stairs is coming down the stairs.  Coming down the stairs for any dog is a hard task, requiring proper balance and coordination so they don’t topple over.  Depending on how many stairs they must descend, this has the potential for some serious injuries to a pooch.

The French bulldog has a very muscular chest and shoulders and shorter legs, this can make them more susceptible to toppling over.

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Breed Characteristics Making Stairs a Bad Choice for a French Bulldog

The French bulldog is a breed of dog that can suffer from an extensive health issue that can include:

Intervertebral Disc Disease – which affects the spine of the French bulldog

Hip dysplasia – a displacement between the thigh and hip joint that makes it difficult to walk

Patellar Luxation – dislocation of the kneecap

All these conditions generally happen to older French bulldogs but there is still the possibility of younger dogs being affected.  Each condition can be very uncomfortable for a dog, making it difficult for them to navigate stairs safely.  Considerations must be made to ensure their overall health and wellbeing.  

How Can I Teach My French Bulldog to Use the Stairs?

If your French bulldog feels comfortable attempting stairs, there are some steps you can take to make it smoother and safer.

  • Ensure the stairs are empty and free of anything that might get in the way, cause an injury or fear.
  • Have two people on hand for comfort and safety. One should always be right behind the French bulldog to catch them or assist should something go wrong.  This will not only prevent injury but provide comfort for them.
  • Be playful and enthusiastic but don't overdo it. Creating a positive experience can make the French bulldog work comfortable with this new task.  This can include positive vocal reinforcements that make it enjoyable without causing distractions.
  • Offer treats for motivation. Every dog is motivated by their stomach, rewarding the French bulldog for his/her hard work every step of the way will guarantee their continued motivation.

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Type of Stairs and Other Conditions do Matter

Condition of Stairs

It is important to make sure that your stairs are in good condition.  Repair any hazards where necessary to prevent injury to your French bulldog, and all family members.

Surface of Stairs

The surface of the stairs can affect how well a dog climbs up and down.  Easy-grip finishes that include carpeting or carpet treads will help keep them safe and injury-free.   Hardwood and other smooth surfaces, while beautiful, might not be the best choice for a dog to climb on.

Weather Conditions

For stairs that are outside, it is important to thoroughly clean of debris, leaves or icy patches to ensure a clutter-free and easy to climb surface for your French bulldog.

Steep Stairs

Very steep stairs can be hard for anyone to climb up or down.  The dangers of these stairs could cause unnecessary injury.  Finding another option like carrying them up and down the stairs will be the safest option.

french bulldog barking in yard

Final Words

While tackling stairs isn’t for every dog, the French bulldog can climb stairs under certain conditions.  Many of them enjoy it very much and become quite good at it.

Each dog is unique so individuality will play a part in their decision to climb or not to climb stairs.

If, however your French bulldog can’t or refuses to climb stairs, they can help bring you better physical health each time you carry them up and down the stairs.  Not to mention all that extra cuddle time!

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