How to build your own dog ramp

How to Build Your Own Dog Ramp

How to build your own dog ramp

Thankfully the weather where we live is FINALLY starting to improve, the dogs can go for longer walks and I can start planting flowers.

Except for a random three days it was pretty miserable, but those three days got all my neighbours out and going DIY crazy!!  

My new neighbour created a whole garden, complete with paving stone lined paths and wooden boxes she built to hide things she didn’t like the look of. She wasn’t going to let some heavy rain stop her, so she put up a gazebo in order to keep working.

Others have been building decks, fencing, planters and so much more.

Watching all this constructing going on has in no way inspired me to learn how to do it (I’m happy to remain an observer), however it did inspire me to write this article.

Dog ramps


I’ve written about them before in the mobility section of my website, because along with the pet stroller they are a marvellous invention. Whether your dog is too big to lift, or you have mobility issues that make even picking up the tiniest dog difficult, a ramp is a wonderful thing.

They are available in lots of different sizes, and can be put alongside a bed and used for getting in and out of cars, suv’s trucks and vans.

With so much selection you’re probably wondering why I’m even talking about building your own. After all, you can get a reasonably priced one delivered straight to your front door!

Reasons to build your own

  • You or your loved one may be looking for a new project
  • You have an awkward space standard ramps don’t fit
  • The inclines on store bought ramps are too steep
  • You can build one to your exact specifications
  • Your dog is quite unsteady and you’d like higher sides to protect him from falling

My experience with ramps

How to build your own ramp for dogsThe first time I used a ramp was when a neighbour gave me a wooden one she no longer needed. It folded, which made storing and transporting very convenient, and was carpeted so the dogs were steady. I used it next to the bed because that’s where our dogs sleep, and they can’t jump up on their own.

The second time was out of necessity.

We had adopted a puppy mill rescue who, literally, had no idea how to use stairs – she would fall up them or fall down them. I knew the best thing for Saffy would be a homemade ramp so I started “mentioning” it to my husband. When she hurt her leg (don’t worry she was fine!) he finally started building, and even though Saffy is no longer with us, poor baby, we still use the ramp and it’s perfect.

Are you handy with a …. (whatever tools you use to build a ramp!!)

If you’re handy or are keen to learn, it could be a really fun project to start. If you want it built but are unable to do it yourself, for whatever reason, hire someone to do it for you. If you’re going to hire someone, I speak from experience when I recommend you do a lot of shopping around…unless of course you know someone who could easily knock one up for you.

When I first started looking I called companies that specialised in ramps, but boy were they crazy expensive! Local builders also wanted a fortune because they wouldn’t build anything less than a super duper jaw dropping ramp. Hey I get it, pride in craftsmanship and all that, but all I needed was a simple ramp! It didn’t have to hold 300lbs of weight and last a century!!

Things to consider

Before you head out to your local home improvement store, you’re going to need some questions answered first.

Indoor or outdoor use

  • Getting on and off the couch? In and out of bed? A car? Replacing steps to your front door?
  • Naturally with outdoor use come other considerations like non-skid surface, materials that will hold up to the elements…

Size

  • How long and wide does it need to be? Don’t forget to factor the degree of the incline into your calculations.

Material

  • Ours is made of wood, with rubber non stick squares nailed on top. Is there another material you’re thinking about?

Style

  • Does it need to fold for storage?
  • Raised sides to prevent your dog from falling sideways off the ramp? How high would you like the sides?
  • Fixed or portable?

Types of tools

Do you have the necessary tools or do you have to borrow or buy? How much would they cost?

Questions answered…now what?

How to build your own dog rampYou’ve answered all the above questions, and you’re ready to go ahead with this “build your own ramp” project. Do you create your own plans? Wing it? Follow instructions/watch a video?

My husband decided what he wanted to do, had a plan in mind that he knew not to bother sharing with me, and just got on with it. Not a written plan in sight! If that’s the direction you want to take, have fun I’m sure it will be gratifying to create something from a vision in your head.

If you need, or prefer something a bit more structured, here are some detailed plans you’ll want to have a look through. You may find “the” perfect ramp in the bunch, or you can mix and match to create the one that best suits your needs.

Build your own dog ramp

I found Pinterest to be the best source of plans, so here a few links I hope you will find helpful.

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/264234703114936718/

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/483574078718440287/

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/498421883740348229/

 

I would love to see your finished product, so by all means send in a picture and I’ll be happy to post it.

 

 

I would like to invite you to join Senior Dog Care Club, my Facebook group for senior dog parents. There you will find lots of helpful tips and advice, a place to ask questions and share experiences. I look forward to welcoming you.

 

 

 

 

dog mobility aids

Mobility Aids For Dogs

dog mobility aids

In this post I would like to talk about dog mobility aids – what they are, how much they have helped us, and what they can do for you.  

What are dog mobility aids?

As the name suggests, they are items or products that help your dog get around. A pet stroller, dog ramp, pet stairs and slings are just some of what we will be talking about in this post. We’re also going to look at other options that may help including: hydrotherapy, acupuncture, supplements and medications. 

Who can mobility aids help?

Dogs…

  • suffering from arthritis, hip dysplasia or joint pain of any kind
  • recovering from surgery or injury and have to take it easy
  • finding it harder to climb/jump for any number of reasons

Humans…

  • who are having trouble or are simply unable to lift their dog  
  • who would like to involve their dogs in more of their family activities

Is your dog…

  • Staying in his bed longer?
  • Having trouble getting out of his bed?
  • Lying down really slowly?
  • Going for shorter walks, or doesn’t want to walk at all?
  • Not as interested in playing?
  • Unable to climb or jump onto the couch or bed like he used to


First things first

Many people assume changes in behaviour are a natural part of the aging process, and ignore them. If you have noticed any changes, no matter how slight or subtle they may be, I highly recommend you make an appointment to see your vet as soon as possible. Catching a condition early increases the chances of a positive outcome.  

The pet stroller

Red touring Spain in her dog stroller

The pet stroller is the one item that has been the biggest help, in ways almost too numerous to mention. Let me say that they aren’t only perfect for senior dogs, there are so many situations where a dog stroller will come in handy for dogs of all ages. 

Read this ⇒ 21 Reasons to Buy a Pet Stroller

The reason I decided to buy a dog stroller is because of a favourite vet. We moved, and without a car getting to him had become quite an ordeal…or adventure if you want to put a positive spin on it!! Anyway, my dog weighs about 9 lbs, but 5 minutes of carrying her and she feels more like 50. She is able to walk but very slowly and not too far, so when I needed a break I would let her walk. The worst part was the overpass that took 20 minutes to cross, and was too hectic for Red to walk on, and that was the backbreaking part. Hence the stroller!

When I want to join my husband and other dog Jack for a walk to the beach on a beautiful day, I don’t have to leave Red behind, I pop her in the stroller and off we go. If it’s hot and Jack has worn himself out running, I put him in there so he can hitch a ride home until he re-charges! 

Jack was paralysed

One day in August 2016 Jack suddenly lost the use of his back legs. A very long story short – our dog stroller was a lifesaver when it came to bringing him to and from hospital and vet appointments. Confined to a cage for weeks with limited time allowed outside, the stroller became invaluable in fighting boredom and depression that was a real concern. After his 5 minute walk time was up, I would put him in the dog stroller and walk around the neighbourhood. This allowed him to see his 2 and 4 legged friends, and give him much needed breaks from the crate. As he improved and was able to walk with the support of a sling (I will talk about that next), I would bring the stroller with us and when his allotted walk time was up, back in the stroller he went.

Whether you have a senior dog who can’t walk as far as he used to, a dog recovering from illness or surgery, or you want to keep your dog safe in crowds, you can’t find anything better than a pet stroller. Many people use them for cats as well! 

Dog support sling


The sling is another mobility aid you will find useful if your dog is having trouble walking for whatever reason.

When Jack was recovering from spinal surgery a sling was essential to help him walk. At the beginning it was because he was unable to move his back legs, but even as he started to regain movement he needed the support it provided. 

You will see in the video our sling was homemade. Because Jack is a small dog weighing around 9 or 10 lbs, the neurologist didn’t feel we needed to buy a “proper” one. He thought a scarf or something similar would be worth trying to begin with, so we cut up an old t-shirt and used that. It worked wonders in our case, but I doubt our improvised version would work in most situations. For bigger dogs a real sling is recommended.    

Dog ramps

ramps are great mobility aids for dogs

Sadly lots of dogs get left back from family car trips because it’s too hard to lift the dog in and out of the car, and he’s unable to walk much once they arrive at their destination. No worries, that’s why we have dog ramps to help get in and out of cars and boats, and even onto the bed or couch.

Styles and sizes galore, some are telescoping so their reach is far, others fold, some turn into steps and I’ve even seen one that rolls. Pay attention to how much traction the ramp you’re considering has, you don’t want your dog slipping if it gets wet. Steepness of incline is also key. Too short and too steep, your dog may not be able to use it. A longer more gradual incline is best.

Doesn’t this sound perfect, teamed up with a pet stroller? They both fold for easy storage in the car, one helps your dog in and out, the other when you arrive.

By the way, there are also ramps that can be used alongside the bed or for joining you on the couch. If you are thinking of indoor use, be aware of the amount of floor space it will take up and how far out it will reach. You don’t want to create a tripping hazard.

Pet steps

pet steps are great mobility aids for dogs

Pet steps are another great tool to help your dog reach his favourite spot on your bed or couch. Taking up less floor space than a ramp, they are less of a tripping hazard, and can be easier to move around, especially because some even have a carry handle. Available in 2, 3 or 4 steps, they come in many different styles, designs and materials. They are also perfect for cats who are not great jumpers, or aren’t able to reach the heights they used to.

One added note – jumping can put a lot of pressure on puppy and kitten bones, so getting them used to pet steps may prevent joint problems later in life. 

Dog wheelchair

 

dog wheelchair is a great mobility aid for dogs

I would imagine the thought of a dog wheelchair raises a lot of emotions for you. When my husband and I were meeting with the neurologist to discuss Jack’s paralysis, I brought up the topic of a wheelchair. Although our amazing doctor Ed was quite confident Jack would regain the use of his legs (of course it was never a guarantee), I thought it was important to discuss how we felt about it in advance, just in case.

Seeing how resilient Jack has been during his recovery, and me having a hard time keeping up with him when only his front legs were working, I have no doubt he would have adapted to rolling around, and still have a great quality of life. I’m relieved he didn’t need the wheels, but delighted they exist as an option for other dogs who have had a different outcome. It means they can still have fun and happy lives with their families.    

Dog boots

non slip shoes are great mobility aids for dogs

Another fantastic, multi-functional product are dog boots.

Hopefully your dog is more agreeable then my little 16 year old Red. I was in Canada with her one winter – heavy snow, ice and of course lots of salt. Needless to say it was too painful for her to walk, so I bought her booties. I wish I had a video of that experience!! She weighs 10 lbs, but believe me when she doesn’t want to do something, she has the strength of a dog 10x her size. Long story short she was agreeable to paw wax so we settled on that.

The boots are a wonderful solution for dogs that drag their feet due to join pain, or are unsteady on certain surfaces.

In our case they are something Jack would have benefited from, especially if his recovery had taken longer. Even though we used a sling, his back legs would occasionally drag causing sores on the tops of his paws if on small stones or pavement. I wrapped his paws in gauze when we were out, then once we were home he would entertain himself by pulling it off. Boots would have been ideal, I wish I had thought of it from the beginning, although something tells me he would not have worn them. That’s just the way he is!! Having had no experience with a paralysed dog, and being from Canada where you think the only use for booties is protection from the salt… This was one of those “live and learn” situations.   

Splints and leg supports

front splint is a wonderful mobility aid for dogs

Designed to support front or back legs, these splints and leg supports are a tremendous help for dogs dealing with conditions such as osteoarthritis, degenerative joint disease and soft tissue injuries to name just a few. Padded velcro straps are used for adjusting, padding on the inside ensures your dog is comfortable, and non-slip pads on the bottom keeps him stable and sure footed.

Joint supplements

Glucosamine/chondroitin

You may be familiar with glucosamine/chondroitin as a supplement for humans with joint issues, and have heard a lot of positive feedback. It is also used for dogs, and while it is not guaranteed to help in every case, there are so many success stories, it is worth looking into.

So what is it?

The body synthesizes most of its own glucosamine to form, repair and keep existing cartilage healthy. Production slows as dogs get older, which affects the body’s natural ability to repair itself. When you combine wear and tear on the joints (something that happens naturally as our dog’s walk, jump and play), with the slower repair time of the body, you start to see the development of arthritis. Chondroitin is another substance naturally found in cartilage, and when combined with glucosamine is an even more beneficial joint supplement.

Read this ⇔ “Glucosamine and Chondroitin For Dogs.”

New Zealand Green Lipped Mussels

Found only in the waters surrounding New Zealand, this is one of the largest in the mussel family, and are rich in omega fatty acids and minerals. They are known as “green lipped” because of the green tinge along the edge.

A natural anti-inflammatory because they are an excellent source of glucosamine and chondroitin, they are not only helpful for pets already suffering the effects of arthritis, but can be used as a preventative as well. They are considered to be particularly effective when combined with fish oil, glucosamine and chondroitin.

Before you give your dog any supplements, I recommend you speak with your vet. If you’re interested in exploring natural pain relief, speak to your vet or a holistic vet. 

Acupuncture

Red having acupuncture

There are an unlimited number of success stories told by people whose dogs have benefited greatly from acupuncture. While it is not guaranteed to help every pet, it is at least worth considering. It can be used in combination with other therapies, and treats a wide variety of conditions, including arthritis. If your veterinary practice does not offer it, find a holistic vet and make an appointment to learn more.

We recently returned from a four month stay in Spain, and I took Red to a holistic vet there. I had long been curious about how alternative treatments could benefit her, so in addition to a home cooked whole food diet, and supplements to replace 3 of her medications, he recommended acupuncture. Although Red does not suffer from joint pain it was part of my vet’s overall wellness plan for her. She had twice weekly treatments for 3 months. At the time I found it difficult to know whether or not it was making a difference because it wasn’t to help a “visible” issue. We’ve been back five weeks and now I see acupuncture helped with her immunity and yes, overall wellbeing. 

Read this ⇒Acupuncture For Senior Dogs: Is There a Point?” 

Mobility aids for dogs – conclusion

I hope you find this information as positive and encouraging as I do. I have personally used (I should say my dogs) almost every item on this list, and the benefits cannot be overstated. It has made life so much easier and more comfortable for all of us.

Please don’t let your dog feel pain or spend the rest of his life in bed, now that you are aware of all the amazing mobility aids for dogs.

Have you used any of these products? How much of a difference have they made in the life of your do? Sharing helps others so please leave your comments in the section below, or on my Facebook page.   

 

 

how I taught Saffy to use a dog ramp

How I Taught Saffy to Use a Dog Ramp

how I taught Saffy to use a dog ramp

This post is about how I taught Saffy to use a dog ramp.

Let me start by saying you’ll have to rely on my descriptive abilities, since I have no pictures of the process, and only a few of Saffy. Two reasons for that…I didn’t know I would be starting this website and need so many images in a wide range of situations, and I didn’t expect the vet to teach your dog how to use a dog ramppanic during dental surgery and cause her death, 9 months after we rescued her.

What I did

I immediately set the ramp up alongside the bed.

What I didn’t do

All the steps in between!

Why not

Saffy was subjected to horrific cruelty and was so petrified of everything, nothing would have been gained by going through the steps.

The process

Every morning right before I would get out of bed, I would hear Saffy’s footsteps as she ran in and out of the bedroom. She was so desperate to get up on that bed, she was too terrified to try. Hence the ramp.

She loved food so that made things easier. All I did was put a treat on the foot of the ramp, walk out of the room so she wouldn’t feel trapped, and replace it after she ate it. Then I would put 2 treats in a row, then 3 and so on, until there were treats all the way up the ramp.

She would grab them very quickly, then turn and run out of the room. Bless her, it was so sad to watch, but she kept doing it so I was proud. I would say it took about 1 ½ weeks until she put a paw on the bed, and another several days until she lay down on the edge of the bed.

What a triumph that was!

The steps in between

I’m assuming you don’t have a dog with such horrific issues, so it shouldn’t take much, if any time to help him get used to it. You’ll be starting with the ramp flat on the floor, and ending up teaching a scared dog how to use a dog rampwith it at a full incline, never advancing to the next step until your dog is confident with the training to that point.

Step one

Lay the ramp flat on the floor and let your dog check it out. If he seems fine give him a treat (toy or praise if he prefers). Do this a couple of times, or more if needed, until you know he’s not bothered being around it. Don’t reward him if he seems fearful, because you’ll be reinforcing that feeling – only when he’s relaxed.  

Step two

You’re at step two because he’s perfectly fine being around the ramp. If he’s still a bit hesitant, go back to step one. It’s better to take longer than rush and cause anxiety.

Set it at a very slight incline, then put a treat on the ramp itself, but close enough to the edge he doesn’t have to put a paw on it. If he’s fine take another treat and put it slightly further up, then another further up than that.

Don’t move it along until he’s comfortable with the previous distance.

You can take one treat and put it further and further back, or create a trail from bottom to top and let him eat his way up, it’s entirely up to you. Once he’s walking happily along the ramp, gradually increase the incline until it’s at the position he’ll be using it at.

Sounds like a lot of effort just to walk up a ramp doesn’t it?

Since the dogs I adopt tend to have difficult pasts, I write with that in mind. I would say that while a large percentage of dogs will have no issues walking up the ramp from the start, that won’t be true for every dog and that’s perfectly fine.

Each one is different, and it would be unrealistic to expect them all to react the same to something unfamiliar. At the end of the day, it will take as long as it takes. The important thing in any training is not to rush. Better to take longer and succeed, then rush and have your dog develop anxiety. It is a lot harder to deal with and will require more patience than you didn’t have for the ramp training.  

How I taught Saffy to use a dog ramp – conclusion

It’s wonderful you’ve decided to invest in a ramp, and you will see how much it will benefit all of you. I hope you found this post helpful in teaching your dog to use a dog ramp.

gen7pets dog ramps

The Single Most Important Thing You Need to Know About Dog Ramps

dog ramps

I must admit I’m always surprised by how few people know about dog ramps.

The thing is, that makes me concerned for three reasons

  1. People are lifting some very heavy dogs in and out of the car, potentially injuring themselves
  2. Dogs are missing out on quality family time
  3. Dogs of all ages are putting unnecessary wear and tear on their joints.

What is a dog ramp?

Very simply, it is a ramp for your dog to use to gain access to places he can no longer jump into or onto.

Who needs one?

Every household with a dog

Who benefits?

You

If you’ve been lifting your dog into and out of the car for quite some time now, I imagine you’re either feeling it physically or emotionally. If you have a big dog it’s likely taken two of you, and gen7pets dog rampseven lifting a small dog can become problematic, especially if you have some mobility issues of your own.

When I say emotionally I mean it can take a toll on us when we see our dogs aging, unable to do the things they used to.   

You and your dog

Everyone benefits by not having to leave the dog behind, keeping him as involved in your lives as ever.  

Trips to the vet with a dog of any age recovering from surgery or injury, are made easier with the use of a ramp. Even if they aren’t able to walk 100% unaided, supporting him as you guide him up the ramp is easier than carrying him.

Small dogs

Small young dogs can benefit by reaching places too high for them to jump onto.

Any aged dog

To protect the joints of any age dog.  

**ADDITIONAL NOTE** Another reason your dog may get left behind is, even if you can get him in and out of the car, if he isn’t able to walk much when you’re at your destination, he’ll have puppystairs two piece dog rampsto stay home. A pet stroller is a wonderful mobility aid that can work perfectly in conjunction with a dog ramp.   

Where can I use it?

Anywhere really – car, boat, indoors   

Styles of ramps

Ramps come in a wide variety of styles, to suit any need.

  • Folding
  • Rolling
  • Telescoping
  • One piece
  • Free standing
  • With a platform at the top

Features to consider before buying

Sturdiness

The ramp must be sturdy, no buckling in the middle as your dog walks on it.

How secure is it

Does it casually rest against the couch or open car? Is there a risk of it falling or moving? If it tips petstep folding dog rampsor wobbles, your dog may not only risk injury, it may scare him off using one for good.

Incline

Take into consideration the steepness of the incline before buying. Longer and gradual is easier to navigate than steep.   

Weight limit

I would underestimate when it comes to the weight limit of the ramp you buy. While a 90lb dog on a ramp suited for 100lbs should be no problem, I would look at the next one up, just to compare.

Additional safety features

Things like non-skid surfaces and elevated sides are important safety features to look for. Non-skid should mean exactly that, no matter the weather, and elevated sides prevents your dog from accidentally stepping off when using it.  

Weight

You may only be carrying the ramp from the car door to the trunk or back seat, but some can still have quite a bit of weight to them. Think about how much you’ll be moving it, and whether or not you can manage on your own before buying.

Indoor or outdoor use

Know its’ intended use, and buy the one that’s suitable. A ramp for indoor use will not need to be weather resistant for instance, and that could impact the price you’ll pay, meaning it might be cheaper!   

Ease of storage

When not in use, where will you store it, how much room will it take up and do you have the space?

Design

If you need a ramp for outdoor use, what it looks like will probably not be an important factor in your decision making process. If it will be permanently on display, you’re likely going to want gen7pets-natural-pet-rampsomething that at least is not an eyesore.  

Cleaning

Will a simple spray with a hose be enough to keep it clean, a quick vaccum, or will elbow grease be the only way.

Price

Your budget will ultimately determine your selection, so shop around to get the best deal. There are so many ramps available online, you should find the perfect one for your needs and budget.   

Dog ramps – conclusion

Almost forgot…the single most important thing you need to know about dog ramps? You really need one!

 

Stop by my Facebook page, and please like it, share tips, advice, stories and pictures of life with your senior dog.

 


bedside dog ramp

OMG! The Best Dog Ramps Ever

CJ deluxe xl telescoping pet ramp

I am always surprised by the number of pet parents who have never heard of dog ramps.

Well, I’m on a mission to change all that!

It makes me very sad when I think of how many dogs have a lesser quality of life simply because they are older, when there is so much we can do to help.

A quick mention – they’re great for cats as well!!

Dog ramps – who will benefit?

In addition to the dog stroller I have, a ramp is another indispensable tool to help me care for my senior dog.  

If your dog is having some mobility issues, make it easier for him to access his favourite spots with a smooth walk up a ramp.

Perhaps you have some back troubles, and lifting even a small dog is physically challenging; a ramp is a great alternative. Even if you could pick him up, what happens when he’s ready to get down and you’re not around?

A ramp is also perfect for any dog recovering from surgery or injury. A ramp will help get them in and out of the car for their vet appointments, especially if they’re too big to lift on your own.  

Would you believe they’re also perfect for young and healthy dogs? If you have a dog that loves to take a flying leap off the couch, as I do, then you should be aware that over time, that can put a lot of stress and strain on their joints, which can lead to inflammation, injury and arthritis. Having them use the ramp, even if only sometimes, will go a long way to reducing some of that stress.   

Are you a groomer? Do you have dogs that you have trouble lifting onto your table? How about a ramp to help!

When/where can they be used?

  • Indoors and out…
  • Getting in and out of a boat, car, SUV
  • Up and down the steps to your front or back door
  • Use on a short flight of steps in your home
  • On and off the couch or bed
  • Help getting in and out of the pool
  • Assist dogs getting onto and off of a grooming table

Types of ramps to choose from

Ramps can roll, fold or slide, making them easy to store. Some are very lightweight, easy to assemble, and can hold up to 500 lbs (they have been used to load dirt bikes onto trucks!!).

Tips on choosing the right one

There is such a wide variety of dog ramps on the market, you will find one that meets your needs…but what are those needs?

Of course have a look around, but in order to make the best choice you’ll need to know what purpose it will serve.

Consider the following…

Are you looking for indoor or outdoor use, or both?

Do you want a ramp so your dog can get in and out of your bed easier? Your car?

What kind of car do you have? A van or SUV may require a different size/style than a small hatchback.

How big is your pet? The ramp you choose has to support his size and weight.

Incline – larger dogs can typically handle a steeper incline better than smaller dogs, but if you’re talking severe mobility issues, even a large dog may need a more gradual incline.

Training your dog to use it

Now that you’ve decided, you’re going to have to train your dog to use it. Some dogs will walk up the ramp right away without a single problem, while others will run and hide.

Best to introduce him to it slowly, because you want to set him up to succeed. 

Even though you know your dog really well, why not start off gradually just in case this is the one thing that freaks him out.

Start by laying it out flat on the floor, and let him walk around and check it out. If he’s food motivated (as mine always are thankfully!), put a treat near the ramp. After a few tries of that, put it on the ramp. You’re creating positive associations between himself and the ramp, so he’ll see that good things happen when he’s near it.

Try that a few times and see how he reacts. If he’s cool, you’re ready to set it up with a very, very gradual incline. Put a treat on it and see how it goes. You’ll be gradually increasing the incline until he’s happy to walk up it.

As it gets steeper, you can start putting a trail of treats all the way up, to encourage him to get to the top. That’s what I did when I was training an extremely fearful dog to use the ramp. She was petrified of a leaf moving, so it was challenging but it worked, so if it worked for her you shouldn’t have a problem if you take it in stages.

Now let’s check out the merchandise!!

Roll Up Pet Ramp


With a patented roll out, roll up design, it rolls up into its’ own washable nylon carry/storage bag, and is highly transportable.

Designed for dogs up to 160 lbs, the links are constructed of durable polypropylene, and strengthened with glass fibres, and the hinges are made of impact resistant polycarbonate.

It is available in two sizes – 10 links and 18 links. The 10 link is designed for vans with sliding side doors, two-door cars, and small sets of stairs, and the 18 link is designed for station wagons, most SUVs and small trucks.

Ribbed rubber footings on both ends provide stability, and textured strips provide added traction to each link.

Comes with a warranty, it is made in the USA.

Where to buy: Pet Street Mall

 

Wood Bedside Ramp

bedside dog ramp

I love this bedside ramp because our animals always sleep with us, so this is the perfect solution that allows them to get on and off whenever they need to.

I like that it’s long enough to provide a gentle incline, and fits nicely alongside a queen size bed, even with a night stand beside it.

It’s 25” so reaches a taller bed easily, with space at the top to allow your dog to move to and from the bed.

The ramp surface is carpeted, providing enough traction so there’s no worry about slipping. The wood and cherry finish should suit any décor, and it is easy to clean with carpet cleaner and wood polish.

It suits any pet up to 120 lbs, and assembles in about 15 minutes.

The dimensions are 70”L x 16”W x 25”H, and it is backed by a lifetime warranty.

Where to buy: Amazon

 

Deluxe XL Telescoping Pet Ramp

deluxe xl telescoping dog ramp

There are so many great features, but for me the best one is the extra length means a flatter angle for easier climbing. The extra width gives bigger dogs more room, and more confidence when using it.

This very stable ramp extends from 47”-87”. Open it fully for access into pickup trucks, SUV’s, even the grooming table!! Shorten for lower surfaces, or when space is an issue.

In spite of its’ size it only weighs 18 lbs, and supports over 300 lbs. 

No folding and unfolding, just slide it out to the desired length, and start using it. It comes with a carry handle and safety latch, so no accidental openings!

Where to buy: Amazon

 

Smart Ramp Jr.

Smart Ramp Jr dog ramp

Made with Shur-Foot™ (the same material OSHA requires for indoor/outdoor pedestrian safety), ensures a no slip surface, and the high rails in contrasting colour keeps pets securely on the ramp.

Non-slip feet at both ends keep the ramp in place, and weighing only 8 lbs, it’s lightweight enough for easy transport. The built-in handles make it easy to carry with dimensions of 39 1/2″L x 20″W.

Where to buy: Pet Street Mall

 

Doggy Boat Ladder

doggie boat ladder pet ramp

While the weather is still nice enough for boating, consider this doggy boat ladder for your next outing with the dog!!

The universal grip means it attaches to most boat ladders with three or more steps, and conveniently detaches and floats next to the watercraft when the boat ladder is needed by the 2 legged members of your party.

The doggy boat ladder is: rust and corrosion-proof; portable, lightweight and durable; UV resistant and easy to wash with soap and water.

It is 16” x 64”, folds in half and comes with a handle for easy carry and easy storage.

Although it floats, it should never be used as a flotation device, nor is it safe for human use.

Where to buy: Pet Street Mall

 

Collapsible Pet Ramp

collapsible dog ramp

This is not only convenient, but versatile as well! There are 3 adjustable heights, no assembly needed, and folds flat for easy storage under your bed, in a closet or even behind the couch.

Suitable for pets up to 125 lbs, it has a sturdy wooden frame with rubber soles for grip, and wheels for easy transport.

Where to buy: Amazon

 

Half Ramp II

half ramp II dog ramp

This ramp is one piece construction – no telescoping or folding so it’s nice and easy to use, not to mention less expensive. It weighs only 7 lbs, but can support weight up to 300 lbs. Rubber feet at each corner holds the ramp in place while your dog is walking up and down.

Covered in a non-slip carpet, it is comfortable and safe for your pet, not to mention easy to clean!

It is 17″ W x 39″ L and can help your dog reach heights up to 20″ such as a couch, or the side entrance of a minivan.

Where to buy: Amazon

 

UltraLite Bi-fold Pet Ramp

 

ultralite bifold pet ramp

You would expect something of this size to be heavy, but it is the lightest full size ramp on the market! Weighing in at only 10 lbs, this bi-fold ramp supports weight up to 200 lbs, and has a high traction surface.  

It comes with a safety release latch to prevent accidental opening, and four rubber feet for sure footing, not to mention a 1 year warranty.

Made in the USA, it is 62”L x 16”W x 4”D, and helps pets reach heights up to about 24”.

Where to buy: Pet Street Mall

Dog ramps – conclusion

Wow! I am really blown away by the incredible selection to accommodate all size pets, in a multitude of situations.

If you don’t have a ramp, I highly recommend you get one. Whether your dog is stiff from arthritis, recovering from surgery or an injury, has trouble reaching the grooming table, or is just one of those dogs that takes a flying leap off the couch (anyone named Jack around here!!), dog ramps are the answer.

dog ramps and pet stairs

2 Things You Must Know About Dog Ramps and Dog Stairs

2 things you must know about dog ramps and dog stairs

I’ve piqued your curiosity haven’t I? Excellent!

As someone who lives with senior dogs, and dogs so neglected they have no idea how to use stairs, I love these products and would never be without one or both. I try and take pictures as much as possible, but unfortunately 2 Things You Must Know About Dog Ramps and Dog Stairshave none to show you of them being used in my house.

So what are the 2 things you must know?

  1. What a difference they will make in the life of your pet
  2. How much easier things will be for you.

How you ask? Keep reading as we talk about the benefits of both.  

Benefits of ramps and stairs for your dog

  • Help arthritic dogs get on and off the couch or bed, and in and out of the car
  • Senior dogs who are slowing down and could use that extra bit of help
  • Stops your pet from putting undue pressure on joints when jumping, reducing wear and tear, preventing injury now to hopefully avoid problems later
  • Dogs too small or too young to jump can still have access to the spots they like
  • Perfect for pets recovering from an injury or surgery who have to take it easy
  • Makes it easier to get into a bathtub at the groomers, or at home
  • Your dog no longer has to wait for help from you, and avoids injury if you aren’t around and decides to jump on his own
  • A ramp is perfect for a dog who doesn’t know how to use stairs, or has trouble using them

Benefits for you

  • You no longer have to lift your dog in and out of the car, or on and off of the couch
  • You have a giant breed that is just too big to pick up
  • Back or joint problems may make it difficult for you to lift even a small dog, and now you won’t have to
  • You don’t have to constantly monitor your dog, to make sure he’s not going to hurt himself by jumping when he shouldn’t
  • Even if you have nothing preventing you from picking your dog up all the time, why should you have to? 

My experience using a ramp

A few years ago we rescued Saffy, a puppy mill dog who had been kept in a chicken coop for 8 years, breeding. It became apparent quite quickly she had never seen stairs, or had any idea how to use them. Rather than try and put her paws on each step, she would literally just fall down them. Getting back up was no better.

You may be asking yourself why I didn’t just pick her up and carry her. She had been so traumatised by her ordeal, being picked up freaked her out, so I certainly did not want to scare her more than she already was.

Naturally she ended up hurting her leg, not seriously thank goodness. It did, however, cause me to increase the frequency of the pleas to my husband to build a ramp for her. Because of the position of the door, no store bought ramp would fit, so it had to be custom built, and it was perfect. The incline was very gradual and she had no trouble walking up and down.

We did use a folding store bought one for the bedroom, so she could get onto the bed. That incline was a bit steeper, again because of the amount of room but it worked perfectly.

Those ramps made a huge difference in Saffy’s life, and ours.

Which is better – a dog ramp or dog stairs?

The question isn’t so much which one is better, but rather which one is better for your particular needs.

  • The main advantage of stairs over a ramp is they take up less space. They can go right up against a bed in a small space where a ramp cannot.
  • Stairs may not be as stable as a ramp
  • Depending on a dog’s mobility issues, stairs may be more difficult to use
  • A ramp, particularly one with a very gradual incline, is likely easier for an arthritic dog to manage

Features to think about when choosing

Once you’ve decided whether you want stairs or a ramp, these features will help you narrow down the options, and ultimately help you choose the right one. Most of the features listed will apply to both.

  • Do you need something for indoor use, outdoors, or both?
  • What will you be using it for – getting on and off the couch? In and out of the car? On and off a boat?
  • Height the stairs or ramp has to reach
  • Maximum weight it will support
  • Ease of assembly
  • Can it be folded and stored
  • Portability – how easy is it to carry
  • Stability when set up – something that wobbles can be dangerous for your pet to use
  • Non slip surface – having your pet slip, especially if used outdoors in wet weather, or with muddy paws, can cause injury
  • How steep the slope of the ramp is   
  • Width
  • Number of steps
  • Height and depth of each step
  • Type of material
  • Style
  • Budget

Dog Ramps


 

Dog Stairs


2 Things You Must Know About dog ramps and dog stairs – conclusion

Anything that makes a dog’s life easier and more comfortable makes me very happy. Knowing how many options there are to help senior dogs who have mobility issues makes me even happier.

Have you decided on a ramp or stairs? What made you choose one over the other? I’d love to hear how it has helped make things easier for your dog…and you. Share your story in the comments section, and feel free to send pictures of your happy pup.

 

I would like to invite you to join Senior Dog Care Club, a new Facebook group for senior dog parents. There you will find lots of helpful tips and advice, a place to ask questions and share experiences. I look forward to welcoming you.