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Climbing a stairway to Serta

The cushier we humans have it, the harder we may be making it on our dogs — at least when it comes our beds.

The bedding industry has been raising the height of its products, satisfying customer desires for thicker mattresses, the Wall Street Journal reports — and that may be creating a hazard for dogs, especially small ones.

Anecdotally, veterinarians across the country report a rise in such doggie disorders as elbow and shoulder arthritis, hip dysplasia and degenerative disk disease, often caused by dogs leaping into, our out of, the bed.

“For a little dog to take a flying leap off a bed that’s five to six times higher than he stands is an act of courage, and a recipe for injury,” says Stephen Crane, an academic animal doctor and diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.

While scientists have yet to tackle the issue, the marketplace has, and several companies are now offering pet stairs designed to help dog from floor to bed.

Pet stairs, the article says “are one of the fastest-growing categories at national pet retailers such as Drs. Foster & Smith Inc., which offers five models ranging from $40 to $170. Vermont-based Orvis, the upscale outdoors retailer, launched its first pet staircase four years ago and now carries four, including a $200 carpet-and-hardwood model. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. offers a $64 variety, while a Web site called Puppy Stairs offers a range of models, from a bare-bones version for $77 to a designer model swathed in heavy-duty foam and washable upholstered covers in decorator fabrics for $535.”

For a long time, pet retailers sold products to keep pets off beds and other furniture. Now, as if having lost that war, they are laying out a red carpet that allows Fido to easily climb the stairway to, if not heaven, at least Serta, Simmons or Sealy.

An American Pet Products Association survey found that a record 40% of dogs slept in an adult bed in 2006, along with 7% that slept in a child’s bed.

According to the Journal article, a standard mattress and box springs were each about 8 inches thick. In recent years, the development of the no-flip mattress sparked a thickness race, leading to mattresses twenty inches thick.

As a result, even some humans are having trouble ascending. As a result, some customers are buying pet stairs for themselves, one retailer said.

(Photo: Mr.Herzher’s Three Step Pet Stairs in Cherry Finish, ($150) available from allpetfurniture.com)


Comment from Anne-n-Spencer
Time December 16, 2008 at 4:28 pm

I’m still trying to figure out what the benefits are of these thicker mattresses. We purchased one about four years ago for Aged Mum, who is a tiny little person. First thing it did was break the slats in her antique bed, requiring us to buy a metal frame. Then she broke her hip, and now she has trouble climbing into it. She can’t sit on the edge and get in. Spencer can get up, but he then sits and waits pitifully for someone to get him down. The one time in the past few months that he’s jumped off himself, he pulled something and was miserable for hours.

What’s the use of a bed that humans can’t use–let alone their dog friends? I guess we need to shell out bucks for something that will let the dog visit on the bed with his grandma when she comes to visit.