I own a 13 year old cocker spaniel. I like to drive him around in my 2002 Toyota highlander. I'm worried though, because he has to jump about 2-3 feet down whenever we get out. I think this may damage his joints. He doesn't like being picked up, but he tolerates it. Should I carry him out of the car?

  • 1
    Follow your heart. When it will be uncomfortable for him, he will show it: hesitating at the top or the bottom of the stairs, and being reluctant to jump in and out of the car. That's when you will know you should carry the old guy.
    – Manuki
    Commented Apr 18, 2019 at 14:36
  • Can you provide some sort of ramp that you can keep in the car?
    – Mick
    Commented Apr 18, 2019 at 16:09

2 Answers 2


We kept large dogs (GSDs and Labs) for many years. All of them became arthritic in their old age, and getting in and out of vehicles could be a problem. Some of the dogs didn't mind being lifted in and out, but others found that to be painful, especially if you caught a hip joint awkwardly. The solution was simple enough: a ramp made out of a piece of plywood with some carpet glued on for traction. This allowed the dog to get in an out of a vehicle in its own time, and without the risk of being inexpertly handled. You can buy pet ramps if you do not want to make your own, although a box large enough to act as a step may be all that is needed.

Folding dog ramp


We looked at the Highlander at one point and its a very tall car.

He doesn't like being picked up, but he tolerates it.

Means it dosen't really cause undue stress.

In addition, once he gets used to it, its a little safer since he'll probably wait to get picked up.

We generally carried out our dog from the car - it gives a little time to ensure things like leads are attached, nothing is stuck, and that the surroundings are safe.

With an elderly dog - your instincts are probably right - its going to be a strain, and its ok to carry your dog out of the car.

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