Dog stairs and dog ramps
Quick Guide to see recommendations - see full descriptions below
Dog stairs dog ramps for cars and dog ramps for beds
I would have laughed at the idea of me using Dog Stairs or dog ramps when I was younger. I could jump high fences but now my bones ache a bit and I’m happy to use dog stairs to get in and out of the SUV.
Little Malt has a set of doggie stairs beside her big bed which she sometimes uses but she can still easily jump up.
Home use or SUV car use
Some dog ramps are also designed for general home use, jumping on beds, getting on to the sofa or even just for running up stairs. I’ll look at some of these here as well as dog ramps and dog stairs made specially for SUV’s and cars.
Dog Stairs and dog ramps – who needs them?
Joint and muscle problems are common in older dogs and we need help as we get older to climb in and out of cars and get to other high places.
Little dogs, of course, often have problems jumping up on higher beds, getting in and out of cars or even getting up stairs because of fear. Dog ramps and dog stairs can be good for these small dogs too but when you are big and heavy like me, you don’t want to be lifting me up and more importantly, I don’t like being lifted because you can often make a sore joint much worse!
Dog Steps and dog ramps – what to look for
Dog stairs or dog ramps for any dog need to be stable and strong to help us feel safe when we use them. Little Malt was given a set of doggie stairs when she was just a pup. They looked neat and had a nice colored felt surface but they were made of hard cardboard and moved – she hated them and never used them!
Dog steps and car ramps things to do before buying
Measure your sizes
- Measure the height of the car or bed you want us to get to. In your SUV or car make sure you are measuring to the right place – top of the bumper bar, height to the trunk or whatever. Use your measuring tape to work out a good easy angle and measure the length – not too steep, we want a comfortable walk up for our weight and height, we don’t want a rock-climbing experience!
Why do you need a ramp or stairs
- Think about why we need these – is it stiff back joints, stiff all over, pregnant, or is it just that we are too small to reach? This will help you decide between doggie stairs or maybe a ramp would be better.
- Ramp surface is important because paws need to feel secure feel secure on a ramp or stairs. Slipping and sliding on the surface will soon put us off but a slippy surface can sometimes be fixed by sticking down another material.
Dog ramps and dog stairs must be safe for dogs and humans!
- A ramp is for the comfort and safety of your dog but it is for human safety too so you don’t want to injure yourself carrying a heavy dog about. The ramp should be easily installed and taken put away without it being shaky and shoddy. Find a happy medium between the weight of the ramp and its strength. Find one that is comfortable for you and your dog.
- Dog ramps or dog stairs will be a new experience for your dog so be patient and be prepared to teach your dog to see the benefits using them. A few treats and a little patience can go a long way to encouraging an old dog to learn new tricks.
Dog Stair and dog ramp - best materials
Cheap dog stairs in particular are advertised a lot on the internet but many of these are not fit for purpose as they are made of little more than cardboard. Your dog will not feel safe with these and you are wasting your money.
Plastic dog ramps and dog stairs
Plastic dog ramps are usually the most affordable and some are strong and stable while others are shaky and feel unsafe.
A good quality PVC can be strong, easy to clean and waterproof but much less solid than a metal ramp. Plastic dog ramps can be very good for smaller, lighter dogs as long as you don’t buy cheap and nasty!
Wooden dog ramps
Wooden dog ramps and dog stairs are quite common and they can also be quite light and easy to use. Wooden dog ramps are best used inside as they do not usually stand up to getting wet all the time.
Metal dog ramps
Most top-of-the-range dog ramps are made of light weight metal like aluminium. They are stable, they last for a long time and are usually well-designed for ease of use. Just be sure they have a good non-slip surface or be prepared to adapt by sticking on a better surface yourself.
Types of dog ramps
There are 3 types commonly available and each has advantages and disadvantages so look for what you think suits you (and your dog)
Just pull out and use, great for around the home with low-level furniture.
- As the name suggests these fold into themselves and pull out for a longer ramp. Telescope dog ramps are usually a bit more expensive but very easy and quick to use by just pushing the safety lock and pulling out.
Folding dog ramp
- These fold in two or three parts for easy storage – watch your fingers heavier, larger ramps! They can take up a small space but can have a long reach.
DIY dog ramps
- If you are very handy you can make one yourself but in most cases, a professionally made ramp is easier stored and can be used for many purposes because of their clever design.
Dog stairs or dog ramps for cars or dog ramps for SUV’s are what most people look for so we’ll start off there.
Best Dog Ramps for SUV - large dogs and small dogs
The Pet Gear Tri-Fold Pet Ramp comes with skid-resistant tread which works even in wet weather and rubber grippers at the bottom of the ramp are good and keep it nice and steady. Tri-fold means it folds into three and has a good carry handle for lifting and it support really big dogs up to 114kg, (250-pounds) but you can find smaller and larger in the same range. Average weight is a manageable 19lbs (8.6kg), so not too difficult to move around.
The Petgear Tri-fold ramp is:-
- Tri-folding pet ramp for neat storage
- Has a good slip-resistant surface
- Supports pets up to 200 pounds (larger and stronger are available in the range)
- Quite light for its size and easy to fold out
- Measures 71″L x 19.5″W x 4″H
It’s a strong, well-priced ramp that should do the job for most large dogs and well worth finding out more and buy here.
The Solvit Pet Ramp was a pretty close runner up for big dog ramps, its very affordable. It’s not quite as stable as the Petgear ramp but it is a lot lighter for those humans who find 19lbs (8.6kg) a lot to carry! This Solvit Pet Ramp would be number 1 for smaller dogs and it’s made of plastic but is steady with its 4 rubber feet. The surface has a good rough texture which gives good grip. Plastic ramp advantages are all here (see above) and it will support dogs up to 150lbs (68Kg) although if your dog is over 130lbs (59kg), we’d still ask you to consider our #1 as it is a bit steadier with heavier dogs.
It is light just 10lbs in weight (4.5kg) and there are a couple of larger versions – (which we did not test).
This only has a 1 year warranty whereas the Petgear #1 choice has a lifetime warranty. A dog ramp that’s cheap and durable,this has to be your first choice so we suggest you have a closer look and buy here.
The Titan 28-61 dog ramp should maybe have been our #1 choice apart from the fact that you get what you pay for and this one is over $100.
The Ramps’ telescoping, collapsible pet ramp has a sturdy aluminium frame with rigid plastic and is strong enough for a dog up to 180lbs (82kg). Big dog or small dog, this ramp will suit them all. The rubber feet hold the ramp firmly without slipping and the aluminium construction keeps it light but strong at just 13lbs (5.9kg). We like the telescope ramps as long as they slide easily and this one can be used with just one hand.
Three telescopic sections
The Titan has three telescopic sections which slide together to fit even a small vehicle and you can stop the slide-out at any length so it could be used for multiple purposes, not just in the car.
The Titan’s big points are:-
- A rough texture surface for good Grip
- Rubber Feet to keep, it stable
- A lightweight, rigid construction
- Ease of use, can be opened out with just one hand
Altogether we rate this ramp highly and it is probably the best it is just a bit more expensive than most but please read more information and buy here.
The Goplus Pet Ramp Portable Aluminum Folding Paw Safe Dog Ladder is made of aluminium so it’s not too heavy (19lbs, 8.6kg) but it’s strong and made to last. It’s long enough for any SUV, truck or mini-van.
The Goplus Pet ramp doesn’t quite make our top 3 because we don’t think it is quite as user- friendly as the others but it is great for very largest dogs up to 250Lbs (114kg). Maybe you’d expect a ramp for the largest of dogs to be a little bit more difficult to use than cheaper plastic ones?
A tape surface with good grip helps, it folds in two but quite a compact size (again we think it would be better if it was 3-fold) and has a good handle for carrying around. Slightly bigger and smaller ramps, (this one is 7 feet), can also be purchased – (8 feet and 6 feet) so read more and buy here.
Choosing a ramp or dog stairs will depend on how difficult your dog finds climbing stairs, sometimes a ramp is much better. Dog stairs take up a lot less space usually and they will often fit into your home much better than a ramp and are generally much easier to move around the house.
Be prepared to train your dog to use stairs – it might not come naturally
Dog’s might not be used to stairs, so a little encouragement and training will be necessary. Doggie stairs are often not as stable as a good ramp and that will put your dog off using them. Buying stairs that are flimsy is a waste of money they can be really cheap and wobbly and your dog will not use them! Stairs can be used for getting into a car but ramps are generally a better option (exception being the Pet Loader). Doggie stairs are quite excellent for around the home.
The Petsafe Solvit PupStep comes in two sizes, x large and Standard and they work best for medium to large dogs because of the tread size and height.
The Petsafe Solvit folds easily so are easy stored and they will be a great help to allow your dog on to those high places they just can’t manage. For the money they are strong, steady and wide enough to make a dog feel secure using them. Weights up to 200lbs (90kg) are claimed by the manufacturer but they only weigh 10.6 lbs (4.9kg). The side-rail is a very good feature and the stairs themselves are non-skid as are the feet.
Stairs are 28 in. L x 18 in. W x 25 in and each stair is 7 in. D x 16 in. W x 6.25 in. H; big enough to feel secure but they come in many sizes to suit most dogs.
Full 5 Star Rating
A 5 star rating is unusual with dog steps and often we think that’s got nothing to do with the quality of some. It may have a lot to do with people who have bought and they haven’t trained their dog properly to use them. These are very popular and well-priced doggie steps so find out more and buy here.
The Petloader Light 16” is a clever design and comes in 3 step, 4 step or 5 step. It can easily be used for the car or in the house. These stairs are easily THE BEST stairs for car use. Our #1 choice apart from its price but they are also the most versatile so maybe if you were thinking of buying a ramp and steps, these would do for both!
The Petloader dog steps are easily as stable or even more stable than most dog ramps. Designed for safety, you can be sure your dog will feel safe and secure using these.
These are a real 5 Star Product
Also designed specially to lower any pain when used (ergonomic design) and are vet approved. This is USA design and manufacturing at its best, a real FIVE STAR product. It’s superb for vehicles up to a 20 inch height, its easy to move so use it for the sofa or the bed and its remarkably light-weight for its size and strength so find out more and buy here.
Crown Pet Carpeted Pet Steps are pretty classy for house-proud dog owners. Each step has a hindge to be used as a storage cabinet and they are made of handcrafted timber.
They are made to blend with most quality household furniture but are also very good stable dog steps with good carpeted steps.
The pet steps are made from hardwood and every step is hinged to give a good storage area. These pet steps will be loved by most dogs too, whether they are small dogs or older dogs with some painful joints. They have all the features good steps should have and although they are easy assembled and don’t fold away, they look great and can be used as doggy storage so find out more and buy here.
The Petgear easy Step II makes our list on price. They are cheap but very good value at under $30.00. These are highly rated by most buyers and are reasonably stable for such a cheap set of dog stairs. The stability is helped by the wide, deep steps which a small dog can easily stand on which also gives a sense of security.
They also have rubber grips on the bottom and have an easy-clean, machine washable carpet on the treads. It’s no problem to snap together so doesn’t need any tools.
If we were just looking at value for money, this would be the #1 pick and it is excellent for smaller dogs. It is advertised for dogs up to 150lbs (68kg) but my preference as a big dog would be to have something a bit wider with sides and maybe more stable. There are 6 different sizes in this range and it has to get top marks for value so find out more and buy here.
Best dog stairs and best dog ramps - Summary
I’ve looked at hundreds of dog stairs and dog ramps to come up with these 4 choices. It was not easy because “the best choice” had to include price and value for money. Every dog ramp the dog stairs here have something that makes them worth buying but if you have the money to spend, the Pet Loader light comes out on top for both a ramp and stairs.
The least expensive, The Petgear easy step II is certainly not the best but at the price, it could nearly have made #1 for it’s value for money.
There are lots of really poor dog stairs out there so be careful to avoid them, they will never be used!
. ‘Better than all the gold in the world, better than diamonds, better than pearls, better than any material thing… is the love of a dog and the joy it brings.’
Little Malt explains the types of car seat covers available for protecting your dog from the dirt in your car. (or is that protect your car from a dirty dog?)
- Our Number 1 recommendation by far is the hammock dog seat cover.
- Back seat covers can very very good too if you don’t like the idea of a hammock
- Front seat covers should not be necessary for most of you as we dogs should not be sitting in the front unless it’s absolutely necessary – (it is against the law in some places, so check!).
- Cargo dog covers for the back of station wagons and SUV’s can be great but it’s NOT the only protection we need – these are to protect your car, not us dogs, so make sure we are still secured firmly in case of accident.
Car door covers don’t do us dogs much good but they are very good at protecting your doors from dirt and slobbers.
The right equipment can make car journeys so much more safe and fun for all the family pack. Have a good look and be prepared! Read more by clicking here.
Read all about it on this link.