How to Build a Dog Ramp

Build a dog ramp to cover steps with this easy plywood design. 

A simple, plywood dog ramp for outdoor steps

Is your dog having difficult managing the stairs into or out of the house? We have a simple solution for you – build a dog ramp!

We thank our friend Ruth for the design and photo for one of these outdoor dog ramps. 

Her large yellow Lab, Dude, used the simple plywood dog ramp, shown at left, for years before he was put to sleep at the ripe old age of 17!

Design Considerations

Before you start to build, there are some things to consider:

  1. How big and how heavy is/are the dog(s) who will use the ramp
  2. Will the ramp be for indoor or outdoor use?
  3. Will the ramp be freestanding or supported?
  4. How often will you need to move the ramp?
  5. How many ramps will be needed?
  6. Do you have any materials on hand that you could use?

We have instructions for several design besides the simple plywood one described below. Simply go to homemade dog ramp designs to find out more.

Measurements, Tools & Materials


Length: Measure the distance from the top of the stairs to the bottom and add 4 inches [100 mm].* 

Width: This may depend on the materials you have on hand or can purchase. We suggest a minimum width of 16 inches [405 mm]

*If the slope will be too steep for your dog to handle, add more length until you are comfortable with the angle. 


  • At least 3/8″ thick [10 mm] plywood or the equivalent for dogs up to 50 lbs, and 1/2″ [12.5 mm] or 5/8″ [16 mm] for heavier or multiple dogs. 
  • If you don’t have sufficient length, combine pieces by placing a thick board underneath the join and screwing the pieces to it.
  • Spar varnish or polyurethane to waterproof the board
  • Wood or drywall screws
  • Lathe strips equal to the width, to be spaced approximately 14″ [355 mm] apart
  • Indoor-outdoor carpeting equal to the length and width measured

Tools Required to Build a Dog Ramp

  • Tape measure
  • Hand or power saw (or get the wood cut to size at the lumberyard or hardware store)
  • Staple gun with 1/4 inch (6mm) staples or strong, waterproof glue
  • Power screwdriver or hand screwdriver with phillips head

Instructions to Build a Dog Ramp from Plywood

  1. Staple or glue the carpeting to one side of the plywood
  2. Starting from the bottom, attach lathe crosswise over the carpeting at regular 11 inch (275mm) intervals
  3. Move the ramp to one side of your steps
  4. Overlap the top part of your plywood with the top step by a few inches
  5. Screw it in place, using the 1 inch screws in a zigzag pattern. Add wooden shims underneath to close the gap if need be.
  6. If your top step is made of concrete instead of wood, you may need a different fastening method such as concrete anchors or special concrete nails

That’s it – you now know how to build a dog ramp!
Time to have your dog give it a try…

Getting Your Dog Used to the Ramp

Don’t worry if he or she doesn’t get what the ramp is for right away. Just lead the dog to it, place a few favorite treats on up the ramp, and repeat as necessary. Patience and rewards generally work.

If your dog is extremely skittish or fearful, try putting the ramp down flat first and gradually increase the height, using the same method as above.