Dog Ramps and Stairs

Dog ramps and stairs are simple devices meant to ease your pet's life. When your pet is growing old, dealing with arthritis or having joint problems due to other causes, he might have trouble getting to his favorite places in the house. This is when you should consider buying or making your own pet ramps or pet stairs.

When Are Dog Stairs or Ramps Needed

Installing a dog ramp or stairs may not be needed at all times. Still, it may ease things around the house for you and your pet in certain situations:

  • When your dog is a puppy and may have a hard time climbing stairs
  • Toy breed and small breed dogs have finer joints and bones. Jumping on and off furniture puts a lot of strain on a small dog's bones. By pacing a ramp or stairs, you could prevent your dog from breaking a leg or damaging his joints.
  • When your dog is not tall enough to climb to places by himself (this might put a lot of strain on your own back if you are bending over to pick him up and carry him)
  • Senior may be affected by arthritis or have weaker joints; when your dog becomes older jumping can cause injuries
  • If your dog is recovering from a health problem or surgery it is also recommendable to install a ramp
  • An overweight dog will probably still be able to jump on and off the bed. Still, supporting the weight might already be a strain on the joints and jumping could cause injury.

How to Choose Dog Stairs or Ramps

When choosing a dog ramp or stairs to set up in your home you should consider a few factors:

  • The height of the stairs should be small enough for the dog to easily climb them
  • The length of the ramp should be at least twice its width, otherwise it would be too steep for the dog to use it
  • The surface of the stairs or ramp should not be slippery; you can glue a small carpet on it to give the dog an easier grip
  • Both ends of the stairs or ramp should have a way of insuring that the ramp will not be unstable  
  • Make sure the ramp is sturdy enough to not wobble under the dog's weight, this might scare or even injure him
  • Examine the ramp or stairs for sharp edges or nails coming out

How to Make a Dog Ramp

If you want to have a ramp of a special size, you can make it yourself at home.

You need a piece of plywood (i.e. 1/4 inch) if your dog is not heavier than 100 pounds, or 3/8 or ½ inch plywood if your dog is heavier.

  1. Staple or glue a piece of carpet on the ramp.
  2. Use wooden lathe to secure the 2 ends of the ramp.
  3. Nail the ramp in place and have your pet try the ramp.