Is Jumping Bad For Dogs Joints? Answered

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Jumping increases the load on the joint, but is it so devastating for a dog's health? Read on and discover if you should prevent your dog from jumping for those treats.

Is jumping bad for dogs’ joints? Can dogs hurt their joints if they jump too high? Or when they jump in general?

Dogs tend to jump a lot. They jump when they are happy, when they see their leash, when there is food around, or just when they see another dog.

All in all, dogs tend to jump for a lot of different reasons. Can that jumping be bad for dogs’ joints?

Before we elaborate on this one, you should know that in most cases jumping is harmless, but in certain circumstances, heavy jumping can lead to significant health problems.

Is It Bad For Dogs To Jump?

If done occasionally, jumping should not lead to any sort of issues.

However, it is good to know that jumping increases the load on the joint, and if this is neglected it will eventually lead to possible issues, including arthritis.

Is It Bad For Puppies To Jump?

Puppies should not be forced to jump. They are growing, which means that their bones are developing and any injury could affect that growth negatively.

All in all, puppies have bones that are weak (growing) and aren’t strong as they are in adult dogs.

Good to know: Puppies shouldn’t be expected to jump competitively until they reach around 15 months of age.

A puppy’s growth plates aren’t developed until they are a year old and pushing plates under strong stress before this stage can create permanent damage.

Puppies don’t have the necessary muscle strength to mitigate the impact of jumping, therefore they should not be forced to jump.

If you want to train your puppy to jump, wait until Fido’s bones are fully developed.

In the meantime, focus on training your puppy basic commands such as ‘sit’ and ‘stay’.

Now that you know more about dog jumping, and why puppies shouldn’t be forced to jump, let’s see how jumping affects dogs’ joints.

How Jumping Affects Dog’s Joints

When a dog prepares to jump, he will shift his weight back into the large muscles of the back legs and onto the back-leg joints.

This move will activate the back end and push the dog up and forward like a coiled spring that has been released.

To perform his move, it takes a full range of motion in the back leg joints including the stifle, hip, and tarsal, next to activation of all the supporting muscles. So, when a dog lands, his front legs are mobilized.

It’s important to note that these moves are natural and normal, but it takes more out of your dog’s joints than walking or running around on flat ground.

Veterinarians will often name the additional stress on the dog’s body as ‘increased load’.

How High Can Dogs Jump?

There is no one-answer-fits-all when it comes to answering this question.

This will always depend on the dog’s size and breed – also, some dogs are naturally heavier, and some have short legs, which keeps them away from the jumping category.

Some dogs can jump several times their own height, but it doesn’t mean it’s good for them.

Also, senior dogs will have a harder time jumping as they are slower and more agile with age.

Are Certain Dog Breeds That Jump Better Than Others?

Simply said, yes. Some breeds are better at jumping than others.

For example, herding breeds and gundogs such as Border Collies are superb when it comes to jumping.

This breed is often champion when it comes to dog sports such as agility, next to German Shepherd, and Labradors.

If you are the lucky owner of a short-leg breed, such as Dachshund, you shouldn’t encourage them to jump because there is a real (and high) risk of spinal injury.

Is It Bad For Dogs To Jump Off Beds?

For a small size dog jumping off the bed can be too intense and equal to jumping from a high wall.

Jumping on and off beds will put some stress on your dog’s joints and eventually lead to some sort of trauma.

Another factor that you should take into consideration when it comes to a dog jumping off the bed is the surface.

If a dog jumps on a soft surface it will have a less strong impact on joints, opposite to landing on a hard surface.

Both surfaces with jumping off from the bed will cause a lot of strain on the dog’s joints. Train your dog not to jump off the bed, but to slowly gets off.

Do Dogs Love Jumping?

As mentioned earlier, jumping is something that comes as a natural thing to dogs. In fact, out in the wild, they would jump to catch their prey.

These days are long behind them, but their need to jump remains. Have you ever seen a dog easily jumping inside the car through a window? It’s in their genes.

Dog’s brain evolved, but certain traits remained as ultimately part of their bodies.

Plus, people ask dogs to jump. Just think how many times you have offered a treat to your dog just to see him jump – just to see how high he can jump.

Also, dog sports such as agility and flyball offer dogs a space to jump.

Some dogs may jump when they are stressed, scared, or anxious – in this case, it’s important to work with a dog trainer and address the issues the best way possible.

Always check with your veterinarian if excessive jumping can anyhow be linked to an underlying medical issue.

What Happens When A Dog Jumps Down?

Jumping down involves less muscular work. For example, when getting down off a bed, the dog will always use his body weight for downward movement.

So, once the dog lands, he will break through the front section of his body.

Naturally, front legs and shoulders take much more weight and strain than walking or running, especially if your dog has some trouble with extra weight or is obese.

If there are extra pounds, they are defined as ‘increased load.’

Jumping And Dog Joints: Myths And Facts

There are many myths and facts when it comes to dogs and their jumping habits. Some of them are true, while some are just wrong, and shouldn’t upset you at all.

Let’s check fast which jumping-related statements are false, and which ones are true.

  • Dogs shouldn’t go up and down stairs – False.
  • Jumping in and out of the car is bad for my dog – Neutral, because it depends on your dog and your car.
  • Dogs shouldn’t jump on and off couches – True.
  • Jumping on the bed won’t harm my dog – False.
  • Puppies shouldn’t be allowed to jump on furniture – True.
  • Dogs shouldn’t be allowed to bounce and play on beds and trampolines – True.
  • Jumping sports like agility are bad for dogs – False.

Is It Bad For A Dog To Jump Out Of The Car?

It should go without saying that dogs shouldn’t be allowed to jump inside the car. Going in and out is another story.

Still, you should be careful with this one, because recent studies discovered that allowing dogs to jump inside and outside the car can cause significant pressure and trouble on a dog’s joints.

Some people have really large vehicles which lead to more harm to dogs’ joints when they jump.

If you are one of the owners of big vehicles, doublethink if it’s ok for your canine to constantly jump in and out, or you should think about getting a ramp to preserve your dog’s joints and hips.

Looking After Your Dog’s Joints

Every dog owner wants his dog to have a happy and healthy life because being healthy and happy means longer life. This is why it’s so important to keep dogs active.

Regular exercise and additional exercise through games for strengthening a dog’s joints should be part of any dog’s life.

If you don’t know how to keep dogs’ joints strong through exercise, talk to your veterinarian and ask for direct guidelines.

This way you will provide exercise and needed safety.

You shouldn’t be obsessed with potential accidents, but you should be well aware of potential hazards – this way you can actually do more when it comes to protecting your dog’s joints and muscles, especially with puppies.

Thinking about jumping sport with your canine? Make sure that you understand and know the boundaries.

Need some help mastering certain dog sports? Hire a professional dog trainer for professional and accurate inputs – sometimes an investment goes a long way.

Are there other ways to boost a dog’s overall health? Of course. Next to a great exercise and training plan, diet and nutrition are what matter the most.

Consider implementing supplements into the dog’s nutrition – make sure that you use the one recommended by your veterinarian.

Supplements can be a great addition to already perfectly healthy joints and muscles, and even support freedom of movement.

Joint Supplements For Dogs

Dogs are active beings.

They do a lot of walking and running and just like in humans, joints do wear and tear. This is why these body parts should be enhanced with additional support.

This extra support usually comes in a form of exercise and nutrition, but lately, veterinarians are talking about dog supplements that could enhance dogs’ joints.

Does your dog need them? Your dog definitely needs vitamins and organic compounds for balanced nutrition and proper growth.

Just like humans, dogs cannot produce vitamins and minerals naturally, so they have to consume them.

As a general rule, these vitamins and minerals help the proper body function, including bones and joints.

Also, as a general rule, if a commercial food is of high quality and designed to provide your dog with mandatory nutrients, you should still think about supplements as an extra option.

Why? Because compounds found in supplements are extra that can boost joint health.

When it comes to a dog’s nutrition, you cannot skip talking to your veterinarian. This is especially important if you are feeding your dog a homemade diet.

How To Choose Joint Supplements For Dogs

As usual, your first step should be to talk to your veterinarian about it.

You should know how to read pet food labels and always be aware of the ingredients. This is extremely important if your dog is on some sort of therapy and medication.

Still, there are some general guidelines on choosing supplements for dogs:

  • Always search for brands that have conducted clinical studies for their products
  • Read labels
  • If you see a lot of numbers on the products it’s a sign that the company uses quality control checks
  • Always go-to brands with confirmed expertise
  • If it sounds too good to be true it usually is
  • Don’t forget that vitamin supplements are just supplements, not miracle workers
  • Never give human supplements to dogs. Always go for supplements that your veterinarian recommends

The Bottom Line

With each passing day, your dog gets older. As your dog or dogs grow old, the chances of arthritis and other joint-related issues increase.

In some dogs, these problems could be very mild, while for others joint issues could be massive and pose higher problems.

In some breeds, this is a common condition, while some breeds were bred for specific traits and had constantly to face their bone health. This is why hip dysplasia is frequent in dogs.

Make sure that you know the common problems in your dog’s breed – this way you will be better prepared for potential health issues in the future.

Provide proper nutrition, exercise, and training, and minimize joint problems as much as possible.

Think about supplements and check with your veterinarian on which one you should focus on and provide your dog with happy and healthy surroundings.

Frequently Asked Questions On Dogs’ Jumping and Joints

1. How High Can A Dog Jump Without Getting Hurt?

In general, dogs can jump from 1 to 3 times greater than their height.

Since not every dog is great at jumping, you should not force your dog to jump if you see that jumping isn’t something that he is comfortable with.

Dogs with shorter and weaker legs won’t be able to jump high (or at all) without damaging their joints or worse.

2. Can Jumping Cause Hip Dysplasia In Dogs?

In short, yes. Hip dysplasia, or similar conditions such as luxating patella, can be a result of the trauma put on joints from jumping off furniture.

3. How Do You Know If Your Dog Is Ok After A Fall?

When dogs fall you should do your best to stay calm, so you can help your dog. Check the dog’s front and back legs.

The aim here is to check if a limb is broken or not. If it appears bent or anyhow held at an odd angle, you might want to contact your veterinarian.

Know that some broken bones are often not visible. Also, if you notice your dog limping after a fall, make sure that you contact your veterinarian.

4. What Happens If My Dog Falls On His Back?

If your dog falls on his back, he may end up with a big injury.

Dog’s spine is sensitive and it can be easily injured, which is why you should check for different signs and symptoms.

Contact your veterinarian if you notice your dog not being able to walk, or displays great pain.

5. Are Trampolines Good For Dogs?

You may have seen many videos where dogs look super happy when jumping on a trampoline.

Is this something that they really enjoy or not? When dogs are scared of something they will usually show it. In other words, your dog will be terrified of the trampoline.

On the other hand, if your dog enjoys it, know that being on a trampoline can help dogs get good exercise and even work on their joints.