What’s the Best Dog Ramp for Your Pet?
Dog Ramp Essentials: The Whats, The Whys, The Hows, and The Wheres
Dog ramps are all the rage right now. These nifty inventions are a favorite among dog owners around the U.S., and being as handy as they are, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. Yet somehow it does — there are still those who see them as unnecessary tripping-hazards for humans that, incidentally, don’t fit in with their home decor.
Ramps are much more than mere pieces of furniture. For some doggos, they are a convenience, but for many others, they are a pure necessity. If you feel your dog couldn’t possibly need a ramp or you are not sure whether they do, stick around. We’ll tell you exactly what this “contraption” is for, which dogs would benefit from using it, and which absolutely cannot function properly without one.
Here at Alpha Paw, we are all in favor of dog ramps, and we are going to give you our take on why they are a necessity and in which situations. We realize that not every family needs them, so we can help you figure out whether yours does. Since we are proud and happy dog parents ourselves, you can rest assured that our tips, tricks, and suggestions for the wellbeing of your furry companion come straight from the heart.
What Is a Dog Ramp
A dog ramp is a blessing in disguise. You may see just a ramp leaning against a chic sofa or a cozy armchair, but for your dog — it’s a stairway to heaven… or rather, a runway to that same location.
Think about that elusive, soft armchair from your doggo’s perspective — tall, right? The smaller your pooch is, the harder it is for them to climb onto that cushioned heaven that is your living room sofa. And don’t get us started on the divinity your king-sized bed is!
Maybe your fluffer is a senior dog citizen and has lost their vitality to the point of not being able to hop onto their favorite spot on the bed the way they used to. They may even be suffering from a health condition or a disability that renders them unable to climb where they please on their own. Sure, you’re more than happy to lend them a helping hand and lift them, but what are they supposed to do when you’re not at home?
A dog ramp is invaluable in all situations mentioned above. It can help your tiny pup get to that hard-to-reach spot next to you on the couch. It can also help them get into your vehicle effortlessly, so you don’t have to pick them up every time. And what about those steep stairs that your pooch looks at with disdain? Yes, a ramp can wipe away their insecurities about those slippery steps, too.
Why Your Family Needs A Dog Ramp
When you think about it, a dog ramp can be used all around your household and outside it. It can help your pooch reach:
- Furniture, such as sofas, couches, beds, armchairs, recliners, padded benches, chaise lounges, and garden pieces they love getting comfortable on
- Vehicles, from cars and SUVs to trucks and RVs, whose windows they love sticking their heads out of and feeling the breeze
- Window seats because how else can they keep an eye on what’s going on in the hood?
- Raised platforms and sunken areas around your home
- The upstairs floor that also needs a patrol guard
- The patio or the porch to take those killer Instagram selfies with their mom
- These runways don’t only do your dog a favor — you need them too.
Some dog breeds shed more than most dogs. How awesome would it be if you could limit their access only to a specific furniture piece? Instead of having them shed their hair on all of your sofas, put a dog ramp against your preferred furniture piece for your pooch. That will teach them to only climb onto their own cozy piece of heaven.
Some doggos can get destructive if they don’t have it their way. Just picture your persistent Dachshund trying to dig their way onto your bed — they’re bound to damage it, right? The more they keep trying, the more tears and scratches they can make. They may even get angry and start tugging your sheets with their teeth and doing a whole lot of damage out of sheer frustration.
To save your family a lot of upholstery money and to keep your four-legged baby happy, invest in a dog ramp. While we’re on the subject of Wiener dogs, here’s a useful text on a splendid Dachshund ramp.
Does Your Dog Need a Ramp?
Still not sure whether you should buy a dog ramp for your pup? That’s alright. To help you, we came up with a nifty questionnaire for you:
- Do you have a puppy or a small or miniature breed dog?
- Is your dog seven years old or older?
- Is your dog suffering from a skeletal condition, such as intervertebral disc disease, hip or elbow dysplasia, arthritis, or similar?
- Do you own a disabled dog?
- Did your dog have surgery recently?
- Do you have tall furniture that your dog likes but can’t reach?
- Does your home have stairs?
- Do you drive a vehicle with a raised floor?
If you answered any of these questions affirmatively, you are in dire need of this handy assistant.
Small dogs and puppies have trouble navigating around your human-size home, and lots of stairs and tall surfaces present a hurdle for them. If your dog is past their prime, they will probably have similar difficulties getting around your house due to their weak and achy joints.
Dogs with a disability don’t have it any easier. Doggos recovering from surgery should avoid straining themselves and would benefit from a dog ramp just as much as small, disabled, or old canines do.
Some breeds, such as Doxies, are prone to back problems that may even result in paralysis, so making sure that they are safe inside your place is vital. Even climbing into your vehicle may be risky for them, so you should consider getting a dog car ramp if you have a big car and a tiny doggo.
How to Choose the Best Dog Ramp for Your Pooch
The choice of the perfect dog ramp for your family will depend on several factors:
- The size of your dog
- Where you will use the ramp
- Will you move it around or keep it in a single place
- The material of the ramp
Size does matter — your doggo could fall off a ramp that is too narrow or refuse to use it in the first place if they don’t feel secure on it. If you have a small dog, you can get away with a narrower ramp — 11–12 inches will do the trick. If you have a medium to large breed senior dog, you will need to look for a product that they can fit on comfortably — 18–22 inches is optimal for them.
Another thing to consider is the length of the ramp — a big four-legged fellow won’t mind if their runway is steep and short, but small breeds need a longer ramp with a milder incline. Toy dog breeds can handle the slope of roughly 18 degrees, while medium and large dogs do well on even steeper surfaces — but you should stay in the vicinity of 25 degrees. Count on the length of the ramp to go anywhere from three to six feet, depending on the size of your vehicle or furniture.
Don’t worry if you are not sure about the dimensions — you can always get an adjustable dog ramp and be done with it. They are particularly useful for families with dogs of different sizes or if you plan to use the same ramp for your furniture, your car, the pool, or the deck.
The Material of the Dog Ramp
Plastic ramps are lightweight and exceptionally convenient if you need a portable ramp. The downside is that they are not stable enough for larger dogs. You could get a plastic ramp for your Teacup Dachshund or your Chihuahua, but not for your already wobbly elderly German Shepherd, for example.
Metallic ramps are heavier and less shaky than plastic ones, but they are prone to rust if used outside, so they are best left indoors. If you go for a ramp with an aluminum frame, it will be much lighter but, in turn, less steady.
Wooden ramps are durable, stable, and most popular. They are usually carpeted so as not to be slippery, and some are even padded or rubberized. They are also the easiest on the eye and tend to fit in with any home style. They are rather heavy, though, so if you intend to move your pooch’s ramp around, think about getting one with a lighter frame.
Where to Find the Ideal Dog Ramp
With so much variety on the market, it could be hard to choose the right ramp for your fuzzball. Given that a dog ramp is more than just a fancy accessory, we wanted to make all the necessary precautions before making our recommendation.
To that end, we spoke to:
- Veterinarians and veterinary physical therapists
- Pet store personnel
- Dog trainers and behaviorists
We picked our dogs’ vets brains — how would they choose the ideal ramp? They explained to us the dangers that come with improper care of our canines — which first-time owners are especially oblivious to. Small doggos can sustain severe injuries by jumping off tall surfaces, and those injuries can range from torn ligaments to spinal injuries. Older, sick, or partially disabled dogs are no different — they can sustain permanent joint damage and even broken bones when dismounting a truck or climbing down the stairs.
Next, we turned to pet store workers for their expert advice. We were endlessly curious about the feedback they are getting from their customers and how satisfied they are with their purchases. Talking to pet store employees gave us invaluable intel on the dog ramp brands that buyers end up returning or recommending to other dog owners most often.
Dog trainers are no strangers to ramps — they teach dogs how to use their climbing runways, and they also frequently use special ramps for agility training. Their tips were instrumental in selecting the ramp on which dogs feel the most secure and stable. If the ramp you buy for your pooch doesn’t instill security in them, they will not approach it, let alone use it.
Our Pick: The PawRamp
The PawRamp hits all the right chords when it comes to the ideal dog ramp for almost every pooch. It is:
- Tailored to small to medium size dogs
- Available in two sizes
The PawRamp is a handmade wooden ramp that can be used against any type of furniture in your home. It is designed for miniature, small, and medium dog breeds, although slightly larger canines could make use of it, too.
The walking surface of the ramp is conveniently carpeted with a ridged material that ensures a perfect grip of your doggos padded feet that would otherwise slip over a smooth wooden surface. The material is soft and cozy, so don’t be surprised to find your little buddy snoozing on their ramp.
This dog ramp is adjustable, so you can match it to the height of your furniture or select the most suitable incline for your little fella. Even though it is made of wood, it is surprisingly lightweight and portable. It arrives fully assembled — there are no screws for you to lose or manuals to decipher.
Another fantastic feature is that it packs perfectly flat! When you are not using it, or you are tidying up your home, fold it into a 3.5 inches flat rectangle, and store it safely in your wardrobe, under furniture, or behind a cabinet until you need to use it again.
This product comes in two sizes:
- PawRamp Full — customizable for a bed or a couch
- PawRamp Lite — perfect for the couch
|Dimensions||Weight Limit||Height Settings|
|PawRamp Full||40 x 16 inches||Tested to hold up to 80 pounds|
12, 16, 20, and 24 inches
|32.5 x 14 inches||Tested to hold up to 70 pounds|
12 and 16 inches
The only downside is that The PawRamp is currently available only for indoor use, so if you need a dog ramp for your pool, car, or patio, you will need to look for another product or make one yourself.
This product is made by Alpha Paw, which is a renowned name in the doggo universe. They also produce the famous DachRamp, which has saved the backs of thousands of little house Sausages across the U.S. This company is also the brains behind the ScratchyRamp for cats and the essential Dog Car Safety Seat.
Can You Make a DIY Dog Ramp?
In case you’ve been looking far and wide for a perfect dog ramp for your goggie and have failed to find the right one, why not make a customized ramp on your own? It’s easy, affordable, and if you so choose, your custom-made ramp can serve more than one purpose. If you don’t quite feel up to the task, Alpha Paw is here to help you!
All you need to do is take a look at our guides to the DIY dog ramp and the DIY foam dog ramp. But first, here are some pros and cons of going it alone and fashioning a dog ramp for your family’s needs:
Do-It-Yourself Dog Ramp
Customizable to your home and furniture
|Impossible to test for weight|
|You can choose the dimensions|
Freedom to choose the design and color
|Hard to make from metal|
|Could also be a multifunctional storage area|
Impossible to make from plastic
Hopefully, by now, you’ve become a dog ramp convert! Ramps are essential pieces of equipment for many dogs (and owners!), and they can significantly improve the quality of life of your canine and prevent various health issues.
We did our best to find the right dog ramp for most pooches, and we genuinely feel we found what we were looking for in The PawRamp. If you would like to check out other options, browse through our suggestions for the dog ramp for a tall bed or the bedside dog ramp.
In case you need a ramp for your vehicle, take a look at our dog car ramp reviews and take your pick!
- Kirkby, Kristin A., and Daniel D. Lewis. “Canine Hip Dysplasia: Reviewing the Evidence for Nonsurgical Management.” Veterinary Surgery, vol. 41, no. 1, 2011, doi:10.1111/j.1532-950x.2011.00928.x.
- Brevitz, Betsy. The Complete Healthy Dog Handbook: The Definitive Guide to Keeping Your Pet Happy, Healthy & Active. Workman Publishing Co., Inc., 2016.