The 9 Best Vet Recommended Dog Ramps of 2024

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For some dogs, jumping onto furniture or into the car can be either daunting or dangerous. Whether their size, age, or health limits their abilities, they need help to reach their destination. 

That’s where dog ramps come in handy. A comfortable incline can make a huge difference in your pal’s mobility and confidence. 

I used my experience and expertise as a retired veterinarian to review 9 pet mobility products to help you find the best dog ramps for your needs. I understand that some pups may have unique challenges, so I included my top picks in a variety of categories.

After evaluating more than 30 dog ramps, we chose the “WeatherTech PetRamp for Large Dogs up to 300 Pounds” as our favorite because this ramp provides the best overall combination of portability, durability, and safety for your furbaby. Its length is sufficient to offer a comfortable climbing incline to reach an SUV or furniture.

But I understand you might have different needs, whether you’re looking for a dog ramp for your bed or for an SUV. That is why I prepared a shortlist of our top favorite dog ramps that address different needs. 

Before we dive into the review below, let’s talk about dog ramps and stairs. It helps to know when a pooch needs some assistance and the difference between stairs and ramps. 

Understanding the features of different types of mobility aids and how to choose the right size is also important. We’ll give you some guidelines for determining the right ramp length, width, and height for your needs, and we’ll give you some rules of thumb to consider when you’re choosing a product

In addition, we’ll answer some common questions from dog parents

So let’s get started.

Does Your Dog Need a Ramp?

senior brown dog is sleeping on the bed after using a dog ramp

Ramps can make it easier for your furbaby to get into the car, on the bed, on the couch, or on other elevated spots. They save on joint wear and tear and are particularly helpful for geriatric pooches. If you’re considering buying a ramp, follow the steps and recommendations below to help you make the best choice for your furbaby.

In most cases, our four-footed friends welcome the chance to go for a ride in the car. But sometimes, getting up on the seat can be difficult. How can you know when you should consider getting a dog ramp? Let’s look at the types of dogs that can benefit from an incline.

Older Dogs

As your pup ages, it can be harder to navigate jumps. Like their humans, dogs tend to have less strength and spring as they get older, and some may have impaired vision. Making your geriatric furbaby leap onto the bed or into the car puts added strain on the hind legs and joints and may result in back or leg injuries. If your pooch starts struggling to get on elevated surfaces, it’s time to think about mobility aids like a ramp.

Small Breeds and Puppies

In the case of dog ramps, size matters. Trying to jump up onto the bed or couch is more intimidating to a diminutive dog. Some breeds, such as the dachshund, are also prone to back injuries when they leap.  While you probably can easily lift smaller dogs like a puppy, Pomeranian, or toy poodle into the car, an incline lets your furbaby have some independence at home.

Large Breeds

This may seem counterintuitive but bear with me. Large breed dogs such as a Great Dane, Doberman Pinscher, or Labrador Retriever may have an easier time getting up and down. Because these animals have larger bodies, their joints and limbs experience more wear, tear, and strain. Using a pet ramp is a useful preventative tool that helps reduce stress on the body.

Dogs With Mobility Issues

Whether you have a pooch with arthritis, hip dysplasia, an amputated limb, neurological issues, or other mobility challenges, a ramp allows him to join you on a car ride or snuggle on the couch more easily. For some dogs, climbing and jumping are painful activities. Others don’t have the strength in their backs or legs. According to Dr. Jay McDonnell, DACVIM, “ “Ramps not only make it easier for the pet to access the car or the back door; they also protect them from any injury that could occur when/if the dog attempts to jump up into a vehicle or climb stairs and they fall backward.”

Dogs With Car Anxiety

If you have a dog that shies away from climbing into the car, it may be due to anxiety. They may not be sure how to jump up on the seat, or they may have had a negative car experience in the past. Depending on your furbaby’s size, lifting him into the vehicle can be a daunting task. A ramp can provide a less threatening way to help coax your pal into the automobile. 

Different Types of Dog Ramps

Huskie is sitting on an elevated bed staring out of the window

There are different types of ramps available, and each variety can be useful. Understanding the features can help you select the best fit for your pup’s needs.

Fixed ramps 

Fixed or permanent ramps are free-standing ramps that cannot be adjusted or reduced in size for easy storage. They may be a stand-alone structure or a scaffolding that you bolt or attach in some other way. These ramps are bulkier and harder to move but tend to provide an extremely sturdy walking surface. There may be some assembly required before you can use this type of ramp.

Folding ramps

Folding ramps tend to be made of aluminum or other lightweight materials. They’re designed to fold for easy storage when you’re not using them. With bi-fold or tri-fold options, these ramps are useful for camping or around the house. There are also some heavy-duty options for the car. The drawback with this type of ramp is that they are fixed in length.

Telescopic ramps

Also designed to be portable, telescoping ramps are retractable. These ramps tend to be more durable and rigid than folding ramps. They can help your pooch access surfaces of different heights. When not in use, they’re easy to reduce in size for storage.


Using dog steps or stairs makes climbing easier for your pooch. These contraptions allow healthy animals a safer alternative to jumping. You can choose between a range of sizes and stair numbers to fit your pal’s needs.

Extendable vehicle ramps

An extendable vehicle ramp is a type of telescoping incline that’s made for automobiles.

9 Rules of Thumb to Use When Buying a Dog Ramp

black Labrador is cuddling with a puppy on the sofa

A dog ramp is an important investment for your furbaby’s health and safety. When choosing a ramp, use these rules of thumb to help you select the best one for your needs.

Choose the Right Size for Your Dog

When selecting a dog ramp or stairs, you need to consider your pooch’s needs, his body size, and the height of your bed/couch/vehicle. Arthritic dogs or pups with an injury will fare best with a pet ramp. Other pooches could use a ramp or stairs depending on your space, portability, and other personal requirements. With both types of mobility aids, make sure you have a product with a non-skid surface.

Dog Ramps

If you choose a dog ramp for your furbaby, look for one that fits the breed size, has an appropriate width, and will provide a manageable incline to reach the desired height.

  • Incline – A desirable rise for small breed dogs is about 18-20 degrees, while for larger dogs, the angle can be 20-25 degrees.
  • Width – The width of the ramp should be greater than your pup’s widest measurement at the shoulders or hips. Small breeds may only need a width of about 11-12 inches, and medium-sized or larger breeds will need about 22-24 inches.
  • Length – Choose the length of the ramp based on the height of the surface. For a bed or couch that’s 14-16 inches, you can go with a 3-foot ramp. This will provide an appropriate incline. However, if your pooch needs access to a vehicle, the ramp will need to be about 5-6 feet long to comfortably achieve the 24-30-inch elevation.

Dog Stairs

Similar to dog ramps, you’ll need to consider your pal’s size and weight, the height of each stair, and the vertical height of the couch, bed, or car.

  • Stair height – The height of each stair riser should correlate with your dog’s size. Choose a product with steps that are no higher than your pup’s leg length plus 2 inches.
  • Depth – Regardless of the height, dogs need deep stairs. Look for a depth of approximately 10-12 inches.
  • Size – Select stairs that are tall enough to reach your target surface. They should also be sturdy enough to support your pup’s weight.

Know Which Length, Height, Width, and Angle You Need

When choosing a ramp to fit your needs, you must consider all the parameters. A properly sized ramp will have the right length based on the height of the target object and your desired slope. The width will depend entirely on your dog’s frame size.


To know the length of the ramp that you need, start by measuring the height of the object with which you’ll be using the ramp. Then, you can multiply the number by:

  • 3.2 for a gentle, 18-degree incline
  • 2.9 for a manageable, 20 degrees
  • 2.7 for a 22-degree  rise, which is comfortable for medium or large breeds
  • 2.3 for a 25-degree incline, which is as short as you should go

Always double-check that you have enough floor space. Because the incline angles are gradual, the ramp length is a good approximation of the ramp’s footprint.


The height of the ramp is the easiest to determine. Simply measure the distance from the floor to the top of the desired surface. 


In general, you should select a ramp that’s about 12 inches wide for toy and small breeds and 24 inches wide for medium and larger breeds. If your dog demonstrates any nervousness or fear of heights, you can choose a wider ramp for extra security.


Select an incline angle that’s appropriate for your dog’s size and needs. Slopes fit into different classes: 

  • An easy slope of 18-20 degrees is preferable for seniors, dogs with joint problems, or pups with short legs and long bodies.
  • A normal slope of 22-24 degrees works well for pooches with minor mobility issues or dogs just entering their senior years.
  • A difficult or climber slope of 25-26 degrees is the steepest slope you should consider and it should only be used with young healthy dogs as a preventative measure.

Putting it all together, select the appropriate width for your dog’s frame, and use this table as a guideline for other measurements:

LengthMax Height – 18° slopeMax Height – 22° slopeMax Height – 26° slope
36”(3’) or 91 cm12” or 30 cm14” or 35 cm16” or 40 cm
72”(6’) or 182 cm22” or 55 cm27” or 68 cm31” or 78 cm
84”(7’) or 213 cm26” or 66 cm32” or 81 cm36” or 91 cm
96”(8’) or 244 cm29” or 74 cm36” or 91 cm42” or 106 cm

Weight Limit

Always check the weight limit of the ramp to make sure it can bear your pooch. A product that’s not designed with the appropriate weight-bearing capacity could collapse or lack stability. It’s ok to select a higher weight limit, but you should never select one with a limit that’s below your pal’s weight.

Durability and Material

The material that the ramp is made from will help determine its portability and usability. Stainless steel or metallic ramps are more durable and sturdier, but they also tend to weigh more. Plastic ramps are lightweight and portable but usually not as sturdy. Wooden ramps are sturdy and can be lightweight. However, they should only be used indoors to avoid weather damage that can affect durability.

Surface Material

For your pal’s safety, select a ramp that has a skid-resistant and high-traction surface. Most dogs don’t feel secure on slippery surfaces. Besides, you don’t want your furbaby to suffer an injury because he doesn’t have the proper footing.


If you plan to use the ramp for the car or in multiple places, look for a product that’s portable. Questions you should ask include:

  • Is it lightweight and easy to move from one place to another?
  • Does it come with a carrying case or handle?
  • Does it fold for easier storage and transport?


Whether you’re traveling in the car or using a ramp at home, you’ll probably want to store it when you’re not using it. Check to see if the ramp is easy to fold or telescope for compact storage. 

Reflective Markings

When you’re investing in a ramp for use with your vehicle, look for one with reflective markings. This provides added visibility and safety when you have to load your pooch after dark in a high-traffic area. It can also come in handy to help you find the ramp if you store it in a dark area.


Review warranty information before you purchase a ramp. How long and under which circumstances will the manufacturer back the product? 

Made in the USA

Imports from some nations may contain materials that are not safe for your pooch. Select products made in the USA or other countries that have strict quality and safety standards. 

Our 2024 Top Best 9 Dog Ramps 

senior Labrador is laying on the sofa after using a dog ramp

After reviewing more than 30 dog ramps using the criteria mentioned above, we chose 9 that we think are the best for you and your dog: 

WeatherTech PetRamp for Large Dogs up to 300 Pounds

  • Ramp Type/Stairs: Ramp
  • Durability & Material: Heavy-duty plastic 
  • Weight Limit: 300 lb.
  • Surface Material: specialized traction pads molded into the ramp
  • Portability: Yes
  • Warranty: Limited Lifetime Warranty for defects
  • Made in the USA: Yes
  • Best for: Our Top Pick Overall

This folding dog ramp from WeatherTech is an excellent all-around choice for your pooch. With an unfolded length of 67 inches, it allows you to offer a comfortable incline for your pooch to reach many raised surfaces. 

The product is made to be durable and sturdy. Featuring heavy-duty plastic and rubber feet on both ends, it’s made to grip your car and the ground. The top of the ramp has a soft, molded-in, textured rubber surface for secure footing. There are also raised sides to keep the feet from slipping over the edge.

With a center hinge that’s flat when folded and a convenient carrying grip, this product is easy to fold and store. It weighs just 16 pounds, so it’s readily portable. The plastic makes this ramp weatherproof and easy to clean. It can support dogs weighing up to 300 pounds.

What We Like

  • It’s easy to use
  • It’s easy to fold and store
  • It’s lightweight and has a carrying handle
  • It’s heavy-duty and well-made

What Dogs Love About It

  • It’s sturdy and won’t shift while your dog is on it
  • The surface provides comfortable traction

What We Don’t Like

  • It’s too narrow for larger dogs
  • There’s no locking latch to keep the product secure in a folded position

Pet Gear Easy Step II Pet Stairs up to 150-pounds

  • Ramp Type/Stairs: Stairs
  • Durability & Material: Heavy-duty plastic 
  • Weight Limit: 150 lb.
  • Surface Material: removable carpet tread
  • Portability: Yes
  • Warranty: 30-day return policy
  • Made in the USA: Yes
  • Best for: Affordable Dog Ramp

This set of stairs from Pet Gear is lightweight and portable. Made from durable plastic, it should support dogs up to 150 pounds. The block construction provides stability for your pooch as he climbs.

Each stair measures 6 inches high, so it’s ideal for small and medium-sized dogs. With a 12.25-inch depth on the smaller stair and an 11.5-inch depth on the top stair, each level offers room for your pal to step comfortably. The steps are 16 inches wide to provide sufficient room for your pooch.

The bottom of this product has non-slip rubber grippers. Featuring a removable carpet tread, the stairs are easy to clean. You can use this item to help your pal safely climb on your bed or the couch. 

What We Like

  • It’s easy to put together
  • It’s lightweight easy to maneuver
  • It’s sturdy
  • It’s easy to clean

What Dogs Love About It

  • It’s sturdy
  • They’re wide and have good footing

What We Don’t Like

  • The rubber backing doesn’t always grip the floor well, and the stairs shift during use
  • It may not be wide and deep enough for large dogs

Guardian Gear Tri-Fold Vehicle Pet Ramps

  • Ramp Type/Stairs: Ramp
  • Durability & Material: Plastic
  • Weight Limit: 130 lb.
  • Surface Material: grooved 
  • Portability: Yes
  • Warranty: 30-day return policy
  • Made in the USA: No
  • Best for: Dog ramp for dog with arthritis and mobility issues

This Tri-Fold ramp is lightweight and portable allowing you to move it around the house or tote it with you in the car. With a length of 59 ½ inches, you can use the incline to provide easier access to the back of your van or SUV. 

The plastic surface features grooving to prevent slipping. It also has raised sides to keep your pal’s feet from sliding off the edge. 

Made of durable plastic, this product is easy to wipe clean after you use it. When you don’t need it, fold it up for easy storage. It includes a carrying handle for transport.

What We Like

  • It’s lightweight and portable
  • The carrying handle makes it easy to move around
  • It’s easy to clean
  • You can fold it for easy storage

What Dogs Love About It

  • It offers a comfortable incline to heights of about 20 inches
  • The grooving and side ridges help provide secure footing

What We Don’t Like

  • It can bend in the middle with larger dogs
  • The plastic surface is hard on the paws

Pet Gear supertraX Ramp for Dogs up to 200lbs

  • Ramp Type/Stairs: Ramp
  • Durability & Material: Heavy-duty plastic
  • Weight Limit: 200 lb.
  • Surface Material: supratraX mat
  • Portability: Yes
  • Warranty: 30-day return policy
  • Made in the USA: Yes
  • Best for: Portable Dog Ramp

This portable ramp from Pet Gear folds for easy storage and use. It weighs just 17 pounds, so it’s simple to move around the house to allow your pooch to access the bed or couch. You can also bring it along for car rides.

Featuring removable mats with supertraX, this device offers secure footing for your furbaby. The ramp also has raised edges to prevent your pal’s feet from slipping off the side. With the free-standing design, it doesn’t need to rest against furniture or your car and is able to support your pup’s weight without bending or wobbling.

The bottom of the ramp has rubberized grippers to keep it from sliding on the floor. This product has a 16-inch width, which allows room for your dog to walk. 

What We Like

  • It’s easy to fold for moving and storage
  • It’s lightweight and easy to maneuver
  • You can use it in multiple locations
  • It’s sturdy

What Dogs Love About It

  • It has a manageable slope
  • The supertraX is gentle on the feet and provides secure footing

What We Don’t Like

  • There’s not enough velcro to hold the supratraX mat in position
  • The width is too narrow for larger dogs

Pet Gear Travel Lite Ramp with Supports 150-200 lbs

  • Ramp Type/Stairs: Ramp
  • Durability & Material: Heavy-duty polypropylene
  • Weight Limit: 150-200 lb.
  • Surface Material: plastic woven material
  • Portability: Yes
  • Warranty: 30-day return policy
  • Made in the USA: Yes
  • Best for: Dog Ramp for Cars, SUVs or trucks

Available in sizes ranging from 42 to 71-inches long, this ramp from Pet Gear can help your pooch climb into your vehicle. The product is made with heavy-duty propylene for extra durability. It also has rubberized grips to allow for secure placement of the ramp.

Featuring a removable supertraX mat, the product offers sure footing for your furbaby. The pressure-activated astroturf-like surface protects your pooch’s feet and your vehicle. Raised edges offer additional stability and help prevent your pup from slipping off the edge of the ramp.

Lightweight and portable, this product is easy to transport. You can fold the ramp in half to load in your vehicle and bring it along or store it when not in use. There’s a convenient carrying handle on the side.

What We Like

  • It’s easy to use
  • It’s easy to fold and store
  • You can transport it with you in the car
  • You can choose the best length for your needs

What Dogs Love About It

  • It has an easy-grip surface
  • It’s sturdy 

What We Don’t Like

  • The edges are not carpeted and are slippery
  • It won’t work for side doors of SUVs, cars, or trucks only with sliding doors on vans

PetSafe CozyUp Bed Ramp for Dogs up to 120lb

  • Ramp Type/Stairs: Ramp
  • Durability & Material: Furniture-grade wood
  • Weight Limit: 120 lb.
  • Surface Material: heavy-duty carpet
  • Portability: No
  • Warranty: 30-day return policy
  • Made in the USA: No
  • Best for: Dog Ramp for Bed

Featuring an attractive cherry finish, this wood ramp from PetSafe is designed to fit beside your bed. It’s 70 inches long and has a 25-inch height to allow easy access to your furniture. The slope of the ramp should be comfortable for climbing.

The surface of this product has ribbed carpet for traction and comfort. It’s 16 inches wide, which provides enough space for your pooch to walk. 

With heavy-duty materials, this ramp is built to last. The sturdy construction can support up to 120 pounds. It’s easy to assemble and can be cleaned with wood polish and carpet cleaner.

What We Like

  • It’s tall enough to provide access to your bed
  • It’s built with durable materials
  • It’s easy to maneuver into place
  • It has an attractive appearance

What Dogs Love About It

  • It’s sturdy 
  • The carpet provides comfortable traction for climbing

What We Don’t Like

  • It’s not very portable
  • The assembly instructions are poor

PetSafe CozyUp Sofa Ramp 100lbs

  • Ramp Type/Stairs: Ramp
  • Durability & Material: wood
  • Weight Limit: 100 lb.
  • Surface Material: Heavy-duty carpet
  • Portability: Yes
  • Warranty: 30-day return policy
  • Made in the USA: No
  • Best for: Dog Ramp for Couches

Made of durable wood with a cherry finish, this folding ramp from PetSafe can help your pooch safely reach his favorite lounging spot. It’s built to support animals that weigh up to 100 pounds. When it’s not in use, you can easily fold and store this product. 

The 45-inch long surface provides a gentle incline to 14 inches above the floor. With heavy-duty carpeting, the ramp has a secure footing. It has a 14-inch width, which provides sufficient walking space for small and medium dogs.

With a top platform, your pal can step up to higher surfaces. The product has a 30-day refund policy for defective equipment.

What We Like

  • It’s made of wood
  • It’s easy to assemble
  • It folds for easy storage
  • It has an attractive appearance

What Dogs Love About It

  • It has a gentle incline
  • It’s sturdy and shouldn’t wobble

What We Don’t Like

  • The surface has poor traction
  • Some customers report that the ramp tends to collapse with repeated use

PetSafe CozyUp Foldable Dog Stairs

  • Ramp Type/Stairs: Stairs
  • Durability & Material: Heavy-duty plastic
  • Weight Limit: 150 lb.
  • Surface Material: fabric cover
  • Portability: Yes
  • Warranty: 1-year return policy
  • Made in the USA: No
  • Best for: Dog ramp for small & medium breeds

These stairs from PetSafe offer a way to help your furbaby get on the furniture without jumping. With a total height of 25 inches, the product provides access to your couch or bed. Each stair is about 6 inches high, which is an easy climb for most small and medium-sized dogs.

Offering safe footing, each stair has a fabric surface. The depth of each of the stairs is 7 inches, which is sufficient for smaller pups. The width of the product is a comfortable 18 inches, allowing room for your furbaby to place each foot as he climbs.

You can easily lift and move this lightweight device. It also folds for convenient storage under the couch or bed. 

What We Like

  • It’s lightweight
  • It’s easy to move and maneuver
  • It’s easy to assemble
  • It’s sturdy and durable

What Dogs Love About It

  • The felt surface provides secure footing
  • The anti-slip claws prevent the stairs from shifting while your dog is climbing

What We Don’t Like 

  • The stairs aren’t deep enough 
  • The stairs can make lots of noise when your dog uses them

Pet Gear Extra Wide Ramp for Dogs up to 300lbs

  • Ramp Type/Stairs: Ramp
  • Durability & Material: Heavy-duty plastic
  • Weight Limit: 300 lb.
  • Surface Material: supratraX mat
  • Portability: Yes
  • Warranty: 30-day return policy
  • Made in the USA: Yes
  • Best for: Ramp for Large & Extra Large Breeds

Foldable and lightweight, this ramp from Pet Gear is easy to bring with you on trips or to use around the house. It’s free-standing and does not need to lean against your car, bed, or other furniture. When not in use, it folds flat for easy storage.  

The extra-wide size of 19 inches can accommodate larger dogs. There are rubberized grips on the bottom of the product to keep the ramp in place when your pooch uses it. SupratraX mats provide pressure-activated traction for secure footing. 

The sides are raised to prevent your pal’s feet from slipping off the edge. There’s a support panel on this ramp to provide extra stability. This product can support dogs weighing up to 300 pounds. 

What We Like

  • It’s lightweight and easy to transport
  • It’s easy to maneuver
  • It’s durable and stable
  • It folds easily

What Dogs Love About It

  • It’s wide enough for large dogs
  • The supertraX mat provides secure footing

What We Don’t Like 

  • The non-slip mat does not cover the edges of the ramp
  • The locking mechanism can fail in some ramps

Common Questions from Dog Parents

Shiba Uno is laying on the floor

What’s the difference between Between Dog Ramps and Dog Stairs?

If your pal is having difficulty climbing or jumping, you may be wondering whether you should invest in a pet ramp or dog stairs. Is there a difference? 

Yes, there is a difference between ramps and stairs. For some dog owners, the choice comes down to preference. But in other cases, the reason your pooch needs a mobility aid will determine which option is the best for you.

  • Dog Steps: Dog stairs or steps may be a good choice if you have a small dog or puppy that can climb stairs but has trouble jumping up on the couch or bed. They usually work better in limited areas because they take up less space. 

    With different varieties and size options, you can find one that suits your pooch. Some stairs are foldable and portable, like a ladder. Others are more permanent and sturdier. They can be made with foam, wood, or plastic.

    Dog stairs work well for fairly healthy canines that are young to middle-aged. They can be placed alongside a bed, couch, or used to help your pooch get in the car. Make sure you get one that’s the right size and able to handle your dog’s weight.
  • Dog Ramps: Dog ramps are usually the better choice for older dogs and large breeds. While inclines do require extra space, they are helpful for diminutive pups or dogs with mobility issues. 

    If you have a pooch with a condition that makes stair climbing difficult or painful, a ramp is a more humane option. It provides a gentle incline on a flat surface that’s easier to manage than stairs. 

How do I get my dog used to a ramp?

Start by placing the ramp on a flat, sturdy surface such as the floor. Let your pooch get used to the product and coax him across the surface using treats. Then have him turn around and go back. Slowly wean your furbaby off the treats so that he follows your empty hand and only gets one treat at the end of the ramp. 

Once your pooch is adjusted to the ramp on a flat surface, increase the incline slightly and repeat the process. Continue adding to the incline gradually until your pooch is comfortable using the ramp at the desired slope.

What angle should a dog ramp be?

Dog ramps can have a larger angle than wheelchair ramps because dogs have a lower center of gravity. For most dogs, target an incline of 18-25 degrees. Toy and small dogs will fare best with an angle of 18-20 degrees, while larger breeds can handle 22-25 degree inclines.

Are Stairs Or A Ramp Better For Dogs?

Ramps are preferable to stairs to prevent injury because they provide less impact and torque on the joints.

Are ramps bad for dogs?

No. Ramps help dogs to reach furniture and vehicles without jumping or climbing, and this protects them from injury.

Is it bad for dogs to go up and down the stairs?

It depends on the dog. According to Dr. Jonathan Wood at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, many dogs are designed to navigate stairs and learn how to do so while they’re young. Exceptions to this would include dogs with short legs and long spines, senior dogs with joint problems, injured dogs, and pups with other health issues.

Are stairs bad for dogs’ joints?

The most problematic is walking down the stairs because it puts added force on the front limbs. However, with non-slip stair treads and a support harness, your pooch should be able to navigate them. Supervised stair work can help increase your pup’s range of motion.

How long does a ramp need to be?

To figure out the length of the ramp that will suit your needs, please refer to Step Five in our editorial section above. 

Why Do You Need a Dog Ramp for Older Dogs?

Just like us, our senior furbabies don’t always recognize their limitations. If they continue to jump and climb like they’re still puppies, they could be at higher risk for injury. The repetitive strain and impact on the joints of springing and landing can also add up over time and result in pain and suffering.

DIY Dog Ramp

If you enjoy DIY dog projects, there are a few different ways to create a sturdy incline without breaking the bank. 

Dapper Animals provides a How to Build a Dog Ramp tutorial. By purchasing a storage cube, hardboard, a piano hinge, wood screws, L brackets, an 8’ long 1”x2” plank, and adhesive corkboard, you can create a sturdy, gentle incline to help your toy or small breed pooch get up on the bed or couch.

For short-legged, long-bodied dogs like the Dachshund, Make Something offers a handy solution. With plywood, screws, hinges, and carpet runner, you can design a folding ramp that allows your diminutive pooch to reach the bed.

The Final Woof

cute Golden Retriever dog is sitting on the sofa

For smaller dogs, seniors, and pups with an injury or joint disease, ramps are an important mobility aid. The key is finding a product that’s sturdy, durable, and able to safely support your pal’s weight. 

Based on our evaluation of 18 products against our rules of thumb, we recommend WeatherTech PetRamp for Large Dogs uo to 300 Pounds as the best dog ramp.

This ramp provides the best overall combination of portability, durability, and safety for your furbaby. Its length is sufficient to offer a comfortable climbing incline to reach an SUV or furniture.

With rubber footings, a molded rubber surface for traction,  and heavy-duty plastic, this product should be stable and secure for your pooch. It also folds to half its normal length for easy storage and portability. WeatherTech backs the ramp with a limited lifetime warranty.  

Photo of author
Dr. Libby Guise earned her DVM from the University of Minnesota in 1994. After working in private practice in Wisconsin for two years, she joined the USDA as a Veterinary Medical Officer. In 2011, Libby came home to focus on raising and teaching her adoptive daughter. She lives in Wisconsin with her daughter, husband, and two furbabies: Charis, a lab-mix rescue pup, and Chesed, a Springer Spaniel.

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