There are quite a lot of reasons for why you might want to get 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 injuries 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 them – from dog ramps for cars, to dog stairs for beds, and how you can best get your dog used to using one.
Table of Contents
- What is the best dog ramp?
- What type of dogs need a dog ramp?
- Why use a dog ramp for the car
- Things to look out for when buying a dog ramp for your car
- What angle should a dog ramp be?
- Dog ramps for your bed
- Suitable dog ramps for your bed
- Are ramps or stairs better for dogs?
- How do I get my dog to walk up a ramp?
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 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.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: We noticed that when the below dog ramps run out of stock in Australia they may ship from the US until they are back in stock here. Make sure to double-check where your item ships from and what the shipping cost and delivery time are when you place an order online.
Extra Long Car Dog Ramp
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
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.
Designed to bear up to around 76kg of weight, these pet stairs sell on Catch.com.au for $41.99 at the time of writing this article.
Dog Ramp with pressure activated grip
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.
This handmade ramp is specifically designed with dachshunds in mind. Ships from Canada but with free shipping to Australia at the time of writing this article.
Pro Tip: Check Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree to find similar handmade dog ramps near you with a bit of luck!
Lightweight Folding Car Ramp
This is by far the cheapest folding car ramp we’re aware of. Sells for $59.99 on Catch.com.au at the time of writing this article.
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 one is not a question of age. They can be helpful for a variety of different breeds and sizes of dogs.
The reason for this 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
Having a large dog breed is a rewarding experience for many reasons, but there certainly are some things that can be more challenging (like finding a good dog bed for large 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 might want to consider the use of dog ramps as a preventive care tool.
Let me explain. If you have a large dog, 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. And this is why many large dog owners decide to use dog ramps long before their dog is a senior or has an injury.
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, or on the bed or couch.
That said, many dog owners argue that if possible, small dogs should be able to live as independently as large dog breeds.
In other words, small dogs should be able to get in the car (or up on the couch/bed) by themselves, and a dog ramp, or dog stairs, help them to achieve this.
This not only gives your dog a new experience but it can also help to increase their 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. So in that sense, we’re also 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 your 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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 they have plenty of room to get away from the car if the situation frightens your dog
- Have lots of treats and your reward marker (verbal or clicker) ready
- Sit near the dog ramp, hold the end of the leash and mark 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 a treat towards them rather than forcing your dog 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 their 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 they are confident coming to you while you are near it.
- Have your dog target your hand near the dog ramp, then mark and reward
- Position your hand target so that your dog has to stretch up and move their nose up the dog ramp. Mark and treat.
- Use your target hand to get your dog to move more and more of their body up the dog ramp. Continue to mark 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 them to get out of the car using the dog ramp by using the hand target. Always mark 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