The Ultimate Dog Ramp Guide

Disclaimer: We sometimes use affiliate links in our content. This won’t cost you anything but it helps us to offset the cost of running this platform. Learn more

Dachshund sitting on a dog ramp
Image by Masarik on Shutterstock

There are many good reasons for why you might be looking at getting a dog ramp. They’re most commonly known to help older and smaller dogs to be independent, but dog ramps can also help to prevent injury for all types of dogs when they are used to get in and out of cars.

In this article, we’ll look at everything there is to know about dog ramps – from dog ramps for cars, to dog ramps for beds, and how you can best get your dog used to using a dog ramp.

Table of Contents

What is the best dog ramp?

It depends on your personal circumstances which dog ramp will work best for you. If you keep reading this article, you’ll learn more about how you can best assess the type of dog ramp you need based on your dog’s health, size, and other important factors.

That said, below we highlighted some of the best-reviewed dog ramps that ship from within Australia and won’t cost you hundreds of dollars in shipping fees. 

Extra Long Car Dog Ramp

Dog posing on car with telescoping dog ramp

Image by PetSafe Store on Amazon

Telescoping ramps like this one are easy to use and durable. At the time of writing, you could get this dog ramp for $355 including free delivery. Ships from within Australia, so shipping times are reasonable too!

Dog Stairs for the Bed & Couch

Dog walking down pet stairs

Image by Pet Gear on Amazon

If you’re looking for an in-house solution, you might like these pet stairs. They ship from within Australia and have been advertised for $60 including free shipping at the time of writing this article.

Dog Ramp with pressure activated grip

Dog walking into a car on a dog ramp

Image by Pet Gear on Amazon

This dog ramp sells for just over $100 including free shipping from within Australia. It has a patented tri-fold design and raised edges that help prevent dogs from slipping off the side.

What type of dogs need a dog ramp?

Perhaps you’re wondering at what age your dog will need a dog ramp, but more often than not, getting a dog ramp is not a question of age. They can be helpful for a variety of different breeds and sizes of dogs. The reason for that is that it’s not uncommon for dogs to have to deal with injuries and other diseases of the bones and joints long before senior age. In those cases it can help to avoid strain and stress on your dog’s body as much as possible, simply for either preventive care or to reduce the pain your dog is already suffering from.

Large dog breeds

As mentioned above, dog ramps help smaller dogs to be independent, but you can also argue the same thing for large breeds. If you have a big dog, you can consider the use of dog ramps as preventive care as throughout your dog’s lifetime there will be more strain on its bones and joints simply due to weight. The more stress and strain there is, the faster joints wear out, which can cause pain such as arthritis, which is a common reason for large dog owners to use dog ramps too, even if their dog is not a senior.

Small dog breeds

With small dog breeds, dog owners often wonder if it’s really worth it to buy a dog ramp as they can easily lift their dog up to put them in the car.

I personally believe that small dogs should live as independently as most large dog breeds. So, even small dogs should be able to get in the car by themselves, and a dog ramp can often help with that. This not only gives your dog a new experience but it can also help to increase their self-confidence.

As a side note, there’s also an advantage for us owners – we won’t have to bend down every time we take our dog on a car ride, which can be considered as taking care of the health of our own back and knees.

Why use a dog ramp for the car

The use of a dog ramp enables your dog to comfortably and gently get in and out of your car by helping to overcome obstacles and height differences.

Jumping into cars places a heavy load on the hind legs of your dog and can cause pain in the knees, hips, or back. Large and heavy dogs in particular can suffer from this, which is the reason why preventive actions are often recommended for large breeds.

It’s important to understand that you dog might appear perfectly fine to jump in and out of cars for a long time, but that doesn’t mean it won’t injure your dog in the long run. At the latest, when you notice that your dog starts to hesitate before jumping, have a chat to your vet to discuss getting a dog ramp to help protect your dog from pain and additional injuries.

Dog ramp going out of a car
Image by Peggy Hazelwood on Shutterstock

Things to look out for when buying a dog ramp for your car

Since dog ramps can be a bit pricey, there are a few things you should consider before making the purchase. After all, you want to choose a suitable ramp for your car and your dog. The following factors should play a role in the selection:

Durability

The dog ramp must be able to withstand the weight of your dog, so you want to make sure that your dogs weight is within the specified load limit for the dog ramp.

Length

The ratio of the height of your trunk to the length of the ramp should be an important consideration too. Without getting too technical – this determines the entry angle that your dog will need to overcome.

In a nutshell: the shorter the ramp, the higher the entry angle; or the longer the ramp, the lower the entry angle.

Width

Most ramps for dogs are between 30 and 45cm wide. When buying a dog ramp, you want to make sure that the width is reasonably big so that your dog is stable while walking on the ramp.

Folding and telescopic function

Some ramps can be folded, others are telescopically pushed together. Check in advance whether there is enough storage space in your car so that you can easily transport the dog ramp when it’s not in use.

Material

Dog ramps are most often made of plastic, aluminium and wood. Which one you prefer is up to personal choice.

What angle should a dog ramp be?

Most importantly, the entry angle of the dog ramp determines if your dog can comfortably use the ramp to get in your car or not.

Therefore, make sure that the length of the car ramp is appropriate to the height of your trunk.

In general terms, the higher the loading edge of your trunk, the longer the ramp should be so that the entry angle is as low as possible.

The loading edges of small cars, compact cars and station wagons are usually low to medium-high. The loading edges of SUVs, vans, and 4WDs are usually higher, which means that a longer car ramp is typically required.

Dog ramps for your bed

Getting a dog ramp for your bed is not much different than getting a dog ramp for your car. The dog ramp for the bed needs to be able to hold your dog, offer a good walking angle and it needs to be wide enough so that your dog can walk safely on it.

Think of it this way – Your bed has a certain hight. The shorter the ramp for the bed, the steeper the angle of the ramp. If it’s too steep your dog can’t comfortably walk on it, however, if it’s too long it might not fit into your bedroom, so it’s all about finding the right fit for your personal circumstances!

In short, a bed dog ramp should meet these characteristics:

  • It should be long enough so that the running angle is as small as possible
  • Be able to carry your dog’s weight
  • The bed dog ramp should be wide enough for your dog to walk safely on it

Suitable dog ramps for your bed

In theory, any dog ramp can also be suitable for the bed. It depends on how high the bed is, how much space you have in your bedroom and how heavy your dog is.

Many dog owners I know like telescopic dog ramps as they’re easy to store away when not in use, others like to set up dog stairs permanently.

Are ramps or stairs better for dogs?

If the dog ramp is too big and takes up too much space in your bedroom, so-called dog stairs can be a good alternative (provided that your dog can still walk up stairs).

The advantage of the dog stairs is that they usually take up a little less space at depth than a dog ramp. Many people also find the dog stairs prettier than the dog ramps, but that’s a matter of personal taste.

How do I get my dog to walk up a ramp?

Keep in mind that you want your dog to not be stressed out or fearful of the dog ramp. Don’t lose patience if it might take you several days or even longer until your dog is comfortable using the dog ramp

  • Have your dog on a long leash so it has plenty of room to get away from the car if the situation frightens your dog
  • Have lots of treats and a clicker with you (or use your cue word if you don’t have a clicker, such as “yessss”)
  • Sit near the dog ramp, hold the end of the leash and click and treat when your dog looks towards you while you’re sitting next to the dog ramp
  • If your dog appears to be nervous about the situation, toss and treat towards him rather than forcing him to come near the dog ramp to receive a reward
  • Do not use treats to lure your dog on the dog ramp. You want your dog to come closer at his own pace
  • If your dog happily comes up to you to get the treat, move on to the next step. If your dog is worried about being near the car, work on him just looking at the dog ramp and then stop and go back in the house. You want your dog to have fun near the dog ramp until he is confident coming to you while you are near it.
  • Have your dog target your hand near the dog ramp, then click and treat
  • Position your hand target so that your dog has to stretch up and move his nose up the dog ramp. Click and treat.
  • Use your target hand to get your dog to move more and more of his body up the dog ramp. Continue to click and treat for your dog to move further into the car.
  • Once your dog is all the way inside the car, stop the game and ask him to get out of the car using the dog ramp by using the hand target. Always click and treat if your dog targets your hand.
  • Take a break and play the game again until your dog is confident walking up and down the dog ramp

Main Menu