Get answers to common questions for indoor dog ramps and ramps for cars.
Two story dog ramp
We have a two story house and five dogs and a cat. My son has two of the dogs in his bedroom which overlooks the backyard. Every time his dogs need to go out, they have to go through the house which causes the cat to get freaked out. I found a window door that I could order so his dogs can go through the window onto a deck (4×4) and down a ramp to another deck (8×4) and down another ramp into the backyard.
I do not want to make it a permanent ramp/exit, nor do I want it to cost a fortune since my son may move out and I don’t want to have this set up forever. Also, we live in a subdivision where everything needs to be approved if it is permanent. I just want a simple solution, however, no one is willing to help me with a design that is not necessarily permanent and approved by the city and all that good stuff.
The total height to my son’s window is 18 feet down. Is there a simple solution or do you know of a kit to put together a double temporary ramp. I would appreciate any advice you can give me since my own family won’t help.
In our opinion, there is no simple DIY solution as far as building something like this goes. You are looking at quite an expense in materials to build something safely. We would recommend you consult with a professional designer and your local planning department.
Since you believe your son is not going to be there permanently, it might be best to require that the dogs be leashed each and every time they go through the house (your house; your rules). The cat should quickly realize that the dogs are being controlled. An alternative would be to make sure the cat is placed behind a closed door.
Hope this helps!
Dog ramp for a loft only accessible by ladder
I sleep in a loft only accessible by a wooden ladder. I have a 70 lb dog that I would like to build a ramp or a contraption to allow him to access the loft so we can sleep together. Any ideas? Thanks, Jenn and FireCat
Hello Jenn, thank you for your interesting question!
A ramp would require a lot of construction because you may need to do zigzags or a spiral for any height over two or three feet. The limiting factor is the angle or slope – the recommended maximum is one foot in height for every two feet in length, a ratio of 1:2. So if your loft is 10 feet high, you would need a ramp at least 20 feet long, or as said above, you would need to go back and forth several times, depending on how much space you have for placing the ramp.
As an alternative, I can suggest you create a kind of platform with rails around it and a gate. It would need strong ropes in each corner leading to a central rope which is attached to a hand cranked winch on the loft. The winch would need to be tall enough to bring the platform level with the loft, and it would need to be bolted to the loft floor so it could not slide off.
The main thing to consider is FireCat’s safety. It would be important to make sure the platform could not tilt sideways and dump your dog out. You would also need to have some way to control the platform so it does not spin in circles. In addition, you’d need to ensure that FireCat could not jump out, perhaps by putting him/her in a harness with two leads secured to the side rails. The ropes would need to be inspected frequently for fraying. The winch would also need some type of braking mechanism.
The simplest option would be to create a comfortable, strong harness for your dog, and attach it to the winch mechanism. (We once hauled Comet up a chimney in a rock face by trussing him up with a rope harness. This was a temporary situation though.) The use of sturdy metal buckles rather than plastic snaps is recommended as the plastic ones have been known to break under sudden force. Again, FREQUENT INSPECTION of the seams and buckles is VERY important.
A sling type harness underneath the dog’s torso from behind the front legs to just in front of the rear legs would be necessary for the most even lift. Straps would need to go around the dog’s neck, back and rear under the tail to keep the sling from moving out of place. Strong metal snaps with strong leads going to the winch rope would be vital. These snaps should attach to metal rings near the dog’s withers and base of the tail for proper distribution of the weight.
Of course, your dog would need to learn to get used to either a lifting harness or the platform idea. Start by getting FireCat comfortable with the harness or platform on the ground; then go up and down to very low heights. Increase the height gradually over a number of sessions according to your dog’s comfort with the procedure (i.e. not struggling or panicking). Treats can help your dog understand what is expected.
Hope this helps – please let us know what you come up with by replying with a submission here. Photos are always welcome!
Too steep of steps
We just moved into a house that has very steep steps. My little dogs are having a hard time with them. Going up they have done ok, it’s the coming down that is the hard part. I need to figure a way to make the steps in our house safe for them so they don’t get hurt.
Three possibilities come to mind:
1. Add a type of material to the steps that gives your dogs maximum traction. A non-skid product called SkidTex is one option; old rubber car mats that have been cut to fit are another (if you don’t have any, try a junkyard); and a rough type of carpeting can be another.
2. Cushion the steps by adding some type of padded material on each step – thrift stores are great places to get cheap pillows or other padded materials.
3. Build a doggie slide – basically a ramp with a smooth surface – make sure it has sides and add a soft landing pad at the bottom!
P.S. Please contact us and let us know which option worked for you so we can add the information to this page.
Why use lathe with Plywood Dog Ramp for stairs?
For the SIMPLE PLYWOOD DOG RAMP, why are wooden lathe’s used?
I’d been assuming that, if I just stapled every 12″ or so, there would be no problem with the rug slipping as my pooch descended/ascended the
David, thank you for your question. The instructions provided for the plywood dog ramp were given us by our friend, Ruth who used this style ramp with her dog for years.
However, this does not mean that this is the only way to design such a ramp. If you have found that stapling the carpet works, we would consider that a design improvement since it is simpler than buying, cutting and adding lathe.
There is a caveat: with simply stapling the carpet, the tread may wear out and you will likely have to replace it more often than if you have lathe as an extra gripping surface for your dog.
I hope this adequately answers your question.
Dog Ramp for Car
by Lynda Miller
(Selkirk, Manitoba, Canada)
Hi…do you have plans for a foldable dog ramp that would access the back seat of a toyota corolla sedan?
Lynda, we have two different kinds of folding dog ramp plans that ought to work as a dog ramp for car access to the back seat of your sedan, provided that the door opens wide enough. Each of our designs creates a ramp that is 18 inches wide. However, it would be possible to modify them to about 16 inches wide, if need be.
These foldable dog ramp plans are for the Dogge Bridge™, which is heavy duty, weighs 26 lbs and can hold dogs up to 175 lbs, and the Dogge Ramp™, which is lighter in construction and can hold dogs up to 115 lbs.
See our Dog Ramp Plans page for full specs and testimonies from customers (in the yellow boxes); then click on the individual product links to order the plans.
Please note that either ramp can be extended from 72 to 96 inches for a shallower angle. That means the folded length will increase from 36 to 48 inches. It also increases the weight by about three to five lbs.
Since it sounds like you will be setting the end of the ramp on the car seat, it will sag somewhat when your dog walks on it, which may scare him/her to begin with. In that case, it may be best to get the dog used to the ramp on a lower, firmer surface such as a curb or a concrete or wooden step before putting it into the car.
If your dog loves car rides, once he/she realizes that the ramp is a gateway into going for rides it should be easy to repeat the process!
We hope this answers your questions about a foldable dog ramp for car use.
Dog Too Scared to Use Pet Ramp
by Ray Sims
Our 7 year old Australian Shepherd did a dumb thing in 2006. She chased another animal to our shed and it quickly turned, making our dog Jessie hit the shed face first. After many hospital visits she is about 95% cured. Here’s the question. Probably because of arthritis she has a very hard time going down 2 steps to the outside to go to the bathroom. I tried a pet ramp and she’s too scared to use it. Can you think of any other thing I could make or buy to help her? I feel she’s in pain every time she jumps from that step. She means so much to us. Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks – Ray Sims
Ray, we would advocate that you get your dog to try a ramp. There are some things you can do that may help:
The first thing would be to lay the ramp flat on the ground and use treats to entice her to walk across it. Then raise it up on a couple of boards and lead her across with treats or food. Start raising one end slightly using praise and treats every time your dog ignores what she is walking on. This will perhaps take a few days.
You did not say what kind of ramp you have – if it is a store-bought one that feels flimsy, that may be one reason your dog is scared. (You could get around this by using thick plywood to make a fixed ramp out of plywood – see our instructions at Plywood Dog Ramp). You could add sides to make her feel more secure if that seems to be an issue.
Another reason may be that the ramp is at too steep an angle – a longer ramp will give you a shallower angle and will likely be easier on her arthritis too.
I hope these ideas help – it is always wonderful to hear from a caring dog owner.
What type of ramp should I build to get my 13 yr Lab up the porch steps?
My black lab who is now 13, is having increased difficulty climbing the porch stairs to get into the house. Both my front and back porch have 5 step stairs- of the ramp building plans, what is the best that I can build to help her?
The medication prescribed by the vet helps, but now she is getting even more hesitant going up and down because of the near falls she had had over the last few months.
The best and simplest ramp would be the Plywood Dog Ramp. Free instructions can be found at:
Build a Dog Ramp to Cover Your Stairs
After you build one, you may want to prop the ramp up on just the first step to begin with to get your dog used to it. Treats often help a dog overcome their fear (and Labs are usually into food big time!)
All the best!
Stairway too steep for my weenie dogs
by Jackie Hall
(Newport, PA, USA)
I live in an older home and the stairway to the second floor is super steep. All 4 of my dachshunds have tumbled down them and now I have to carry them up and down. I made a ramp but the ramp is too steep because the stairs are too steep. Any suggestions? It’s killing me.
Jackie, thank you for supplying a photo with your question. I’m sorry your weenies are experiencing such difficulty. Having had a Dachshund as a child, I can see where those steps are just too high and why a ramp would be too steep for those short little legs.
What I would suggest here is to create a series of mini steps that are half the height of the steps that you currently have – from the photo, your steps appear to be somewhere between 8 and 10 inches tall. If you could halve that to 4 or 5 inches in height, and your steps are wide enough that you can use half the distance to put in an extra step, that could do the trick.
The easiest thing I can think of to try would be to find some thick Styrofoam pieces and experiment with those. Alternatively, you could cut some 4×6 or 4×4 lumber pieces at least 10 inches long.
If you determined that either of those materials worked, you would have to be willing to apply glue or fasten some non-slip materials such as Velcro between the new and existing wood steps to hold them in place.
In addition, I would recommend adding a rubberized material to the tops of the new steps so the dogs do not lose their footing going either up or down.
If the above ideas do not work, you would probably need to create an elevator platform with either a hand-cranked or motorized winch, while blocking off the stairs with a gate to prevent the dogs from using the steps. From the looks of the photo, this may require some structural remodeling and would, therefore, require the services of a professional to make sure this would not affect any load-bearing walls.
At any rate, please realize that the above are only suggestions and that we cannot be responsible for any choices you make. Do please let us know if you come up with something that works so we can provide this information to others struggling with a similar situation.
All the best!