When Can Golden Retriever Puppies Go Up and Down Stairs?

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

The pitter-patter of those tiny paws on wooden steps is music to the ears until you realize – can they do this yet?

Having interacted with quite a number of new dog parents in my time as a vet tech, I’ve climbed the metaphorical ‘staircase’ of this question many times: When can Golden Retriever puppies go up and down stairs?

The thing is, stairs can pose risks for both humans and our adorable pups, especially when these little fluffballs have just started learning to control their bodies. 

This is why knowing when it’s safe for these fluffy explorers to navigate the ups and downs of their homes is important for the prevention of any potential accidents.

Let’s dive deeper into this now.

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Can Golden Retrievers Climb Stairs?

Can Golden Retrievers Climb Stairs

When it comes to adult Golden Retrievers, they have no problems climbing stairs thanks to their athleticism and agility, which makes them great for living in houses that are multi-level.

However, when it comes to young puppies and senior Goldens, the story is different.

For the younger ones, stairs might represent a huge obstacle and they also have not developed the right psychomotor skills to climb them.

On the other hand, senior dogs are no longer as mobile as before, which means that staircases are a challenge for some of them.

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What Age Can Golden Retrievers Puppies Climb Stairs?

When it comes to Golden Retriever pups and stairs, the main concern is their predisposition to joint problems and dysplasia

While opinions vary among experts, some suggest waiting until the pup is at least 12 to 16 weeks old before allowing stair exploration.

This is to give your pet’s joints and muscles enough time to develop and become stronger.

You may even consider waiting until your pet is at least 8 months old before allowing access to stairs.

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What Are the Benefits of a Golden Retriever Puppy Climbing Stairs?

When your pup is ready to tackle stairs, get ready for some awesome benefits! 

Firstly, it helps them improve their balance and coordination, making them better at controlling their body and understanding space. 

Better control is not just for climbing the stairs. It can also help with everyday activities like walking, running, and playing.

Secondly, climbing stairs strengthens their leg muscles, like the ones in their thighs and calves.

It makes them stronger and builds endurance, which is great for overall fitness and reduces the chance of injuries.

Lastly, mastering stairs gives your pup a confidence boost and makes them feel more independent.

They’ll feel proud of their achievements and be more willing to explore new places on their own.

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How Do You Introduce a Golden Retriever Puppy to Stairs?

Introducing your pet to stairs is all about taking it slow and having a blast!

  • Start by making those stairs enticing. Grab some tasty treats or their favorite toy to lure them in. 
  • Don’t force your pup to climb up the entire flight from the get-go. Begin with just a few steps at a time, allowing their little bodies to get stronger and more confident. 
  • If your pup seems unsure or refuses to go up or down, encourage them with yummy treats to get those paws moving. 
  • Patience and positivity are crucial. Cheer them on, shower them with praise, belly rubs, and high-fives for each step conquered. 

Safety Tips for Golden Retrievers Puppies Using the Stairs

To ensure the safety of your furry pal while climbing stairs, you need to take a few precautions.

  • First and foremost, make the space safe. If the railings of your stairs have wide gaps, install blocks or barriers to prevent small puppies from falling through or getting their heads stuck. 
  • Additionally, consider adding carpet runners or traction pads to make the stairs less slippery. This will provide your puppy with better grip and stability while climbing up or down. 
  • Next, you gotta remove any clutter that could cause your pup to trip. You don’t want your pup to fall off the stairs because they tripped on a toy.
  • When training your pet to climb stairs, try using a harness or leash to maintain control. This will prevent your pup from excitedly lunging or jumping which may lead to accidents.
  • You should also not leave your pet unsupervised during the training process. Stay close so you can quickly intervene if the need arises.

Lastly, don’t forget to take breaks! A short rest allows your puppy to get their energy back, preventing fatigue-related mishaps.

Can Stairs Be Bad for Golden Retrievers Puppies?

Can Stairs Be Bad for Golden Retrievers Puppies

Climbing up or down a flight of stairs in your home can be dangerous for your puppies. One major concern is the risk of falling and getting injured. 

Puppies are still learning to control their limbs and may misjudge their steps or lose their balance, leading to falls that can result in sprains, strains, or even fractures.

Another important consideration is the impact on their growing joints.

Excessive or premature stress on the joints, such as from climbing stairs too early or too frequently, can potentially worsen these conditions or contribute to the development of joint problems later in life.

Signs and Symptoms of Joint Pain or Discomfort in Golden Retrievers

One common indication that your pup is suffering from joint pain is when they fall or stumble frequently while navigating stairs or jumping onto elevated surfaces. 

Difficulty getting up, walking, or engaging in physical activities they used to enjoy is another possible indicator of joint pain. 

And last but not least, if you notice any kind of limping, stiffness, reduced activity level, and excessive licking or biting of the affected joints, these are all warning signs that a vet visit might be in order.

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When Should Golden Retrievers Avoid the Stairs?

If your furry pal is experiencing joint pain, undergoing post-operative recovery, or has a known medical problem, it is advisable to restrict their access to stairs.

Additionally, during the puppy stage when their joints are still developing and growing, it is generally recommended to limit stair usage. 

Pregnant or elderly pets may also benefit from avoiding stairs to minimize the strain on their bodies. 

Alternative Exercises and Activities for Golden Retrievers Who Cannot Use Stairs

When stairs are not an option for your four-legged companion, there are several other activities that can get them moving. 

  • Leash walking is a great activity to provide low-impact exercise and mental stimulation for your furry friend. Exploring different routes and environments during walks is always fun and engaging. 
  • Going for a quick dip in the water is another good idea since this breed is a natural swimmer. Look for dog-friendly pools, lakes, or beaches where they can safely enjoy the water. 
  • Puzzle toys and games are a wonderful way to engage their minds and challenge them to solve problems while obtaining treats or rewards. 
  • Additionally, playing a game of fetch in a safe area can provide physical exercise and mental stimulation. Your pet also needs to exercise their brain, not just their body. 

These activities help keep them active and happy, even without the use of stairs.

Installing a Dog Ramp for Your Golden Retriever

Installing a dog ramp can be a helpful solution, especially if stairs pose a challenge for your pet. 

A dog ramp is basically a sloped surface that allows dogs to walk up or down at a more gradual incline.

In my opinion, it offers several benefits, including being gentler on the joints, making it a suitable option for elderly dogs or those with medical conditions. 

The problem is, I don’t think there is anything suitable for long flights of staircases, in which case you will either have to train your dog, restrict access, or carry it up.

Dog ramps will work great for shorter 2-3 steps stairs, and up and down sofas or cars.

Collapsible Dog Ramp 

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Adjustable length
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Heavy-duty aluminum alloy frame
High grip and anti-slip
Assists pets in getting in and out of cars, SUVs, trucks, and vans.

Supporting Your Golden Retriever’s Joint Health

As your dog ages or faces certain medical conditions, their joints may require extra care and support.

Luckily, there are various solutions available to help maintain healthy joints and alleviate discomfort.

I always say that good dog health starts with a good diet that is rich in essential nutrients.

Fish or chicken cartilage are known to support cartilage health and joint function. 

Don’t forget to include foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids in your pet’s diet.

Salmon or flaxseed are great ingredients that can also help reduce inflammation and support joint health.

Another good idea? Maintaining a healthy weight for your dog. 

Excess weight can put additional stress on their joints. 

Low-impact exercises like swimming or leash walking can help keep their joints mobile and strong.

Recommended joint supplements and their benefits

Joint supplements are not a must, but they can be very helpful if started early on.

Look for supplements with glucosamine, chondroitin, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. 

This one from Zesty Paws is excellent, and my dogs love its bacon flavor too!

They are great at reducing inflammation, supporting cartilage health, and promoting joint comfort. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can a 10-week-old Golden Retriever puppy climb stairs?

A 10-week-old Golden Retriever may struggle to climb stairs due to their limited muscle strength, coordination, and the potential impact on their developing joints. It is generally advised to avoid having them climb stairs at this age to prevent any potential injuries. 

Do I need a gate at the stairs for a Golden Retriever puppy?

Yes, you should consider using a gate for your puppy especially if they are not yet used to navigating the stairs. It helps keep them from going up or down the stairs unsupervised and potentially getting hurt.

In Conclusion: When Can Golden Retriever Puppies Go Up and Down Stairs?

And so we descend the staircase of knowledge, my friends.

Remember, every golden retriever pup’s journey is unique, like a snowflake or the plot of a sitcom.

With patience, love, and our ‘stair-iffic’ advice, your little one will conquer those steps like a champion!

Looking for more tail-wagging tales? Check these ones out too:

You’ve made it to the end, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey. We want to hear your voice! Share your thoughts, problems, suggestions, or anything related to your dog in the comments section. And don’t forget to join our newsletter today too.

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Daily Dog Drama!


  1. It really helped when you said that using joint supplements will be helpful for the dog when they intake them as early as possible. I will follow your advice when I finally get myself English cream Golden Retriever puppies this summer. Actually, I want to get one for now so that I can practice as a new owner first before I add another one.

    • Hey Mia, thanks for sharing your thoughts! Yes, I think it will be really useful, especially for bigger breeds like goldens. Almost all dogs can start taking glucosamine supplements as early as 12 months old, with some able to start as early as 8 weeks old. I highly recommend you check with your vet if you wanna start them young though, since he/she knows the history of your dog best. Good luck!

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