Pets are already treated as a part of the family, and lovable as they are, they're no longer confined to the dog house or out of doors, but kept inside the home. However, most of our homes are designed for people, not pets. And so it might prove difficult for some pets to get up on certain furniture or fixtures, or even up the main stairs. This is especially true for pets that are more advanced in age, and also for young pets, such as kittens and puppies, who are not yet skilled at jumping or walking up high platforms.
Pet stairs are essentially miniature versions of our own human stairs. These let small pets clamber up the staircase alongside their masters with ease. You need to keep in mind a few things if you want to install pet stairs in your home.
- Permanent or temporary? The first thing you need to ask yourself before installing pet stairs is whether you need a temporary or a permanent set of stairs. Temporary pet stairs can be useful while traveling, as these will help your dog or cat enter and exit the car or van. Several companies today offer pre-built pet stairs made of hard plastic and high density foam. These are very portable and quite easy to clean and stow away.
- Materials. Most pet stairs are wood, and plywood is an ideal choice. Some pet stairs are made of high density foam, mostly those found already pre-built. Foam-based pet stairs are ideal for stowing away in the trunk.
- Size. In building or buying a pet stair, size is one of the primary concerns. Make sure that the pet stair is as wide as your pet, so that it can comfortably climb or alight. As for the height of the steps, there is no hard and fast rule as to how high each step should be, but it should the size and maneuverability of the pet it is intended for.
- Weight. Consider how tall and how heavy your pets are, so you can make adjustments accordingly. Pet stairs made of high density foam would definitely be best used by lightweight pups and kittens. Bigger pets require heavier materials.
- Surface. Unlike humans, dogs and cats might not find it easy to climb stairs, even if these are designed with them in mind. When you're building pet stairs, outfit them with anti-slip surfaces, so your little pets' paws won't slip and cause accidents.
- The fit. One reason why it's better to build pet stairs from scratch is the need to make the pet stair blend in seamlessly with the rest of the house. A good pet stair would start and end exactly at the same level as the original floor or at the base and apex of an existing staircase. One good way of adapting existing staircases is to add little steps at every step of the original staircase, for use by the small pets.
Pet stairs are not only about functionality. They are also about safety. Pets, especially small ones, need all the help they can while growing up. And so putting up pet stairs would help them expand their horizons, but still keep them safe from falls and bumps.