Congratulations on making the decision to purchase a dog ramp or dog steps!! This is an important purchase for dog owners, especially if your dog is ageing, unwell, or a small dog breed. Choosing the right apparatus can feel overwhelming, as there are benefits and downsides to both steps and ramps. In this article, we hope to provide a helpful guide on how to choose the perfect dog ramp or dog steps for you and your pooch depending on your circumstances and dog’s needs.

Does my dog need a dog ramp or step?

If your dog has mobility issues or illnesses such as arthritis or hip dysplasia, your dog would definitely benefit from some assistance getting onto higher surfaces with either a dog ramp or steps. If your dog is a small breed, or one prone to back issues like a dachshund, then they too would benefit from a ramp or steps to get up onto the couch, bed, or into the back of the car. 

Even though your dog might be able to jump on the couch or into the car relatively easily whilst young, the repetitive strain over time can cause injuries that are preventable, so it might be worth investing. 

Dogs that may need a ramp (or steps) include:

  • Senior dogs
  • Breeds with smaller bodies or shorter legs
  • Puppies
  • Dogs with arthritis or weight issues
  • Handicapped dogs
  • Dogs recovering from surgery
  • Dogs with potential for back issues such as Dachshunds or Corgis
  • Large dogs that should be prevented from unnecessary jumping because of their propensity for hip injuries. 

How do I choose the perfect dog ramp or step?

When we first start thinking about it, a ramp or a ladder seem interchangeable. However, depending on your dog and the reason for getting the aid, there are distinct benefits to deciding on a ramp or steps over the other. Ask yourself these questions and consider these factors to help you decide on a dog ramp or step:

  • Size and weight of your dog
  • Purpose of the ramp or step
    • Is the product going to be just for one purpose, i.e. always at the couch, or next to a bed?
    • Is it for helping across several locations around the house and therefore need to be portable?
    • Is the ramp or step just for getting into the car?  
  • Your dog’s agility level – are they used to climbing up and down stairs
  • Height of the elevated surface – couch, bed car etc.
  • Your specific preference 

If your dog has experience with stairs, then chances are they will be comfortable with a dog step. If your dog has only ever used steps occasionally, then they will need some adjusting to using the steps, or you might be better off with a ramp. 

Size and weight of your dog

While purchasing a dog ramp or step for your pup, consider his size. A larger dog will need a wider dog ramp or step. A sick or elderly dog might need a gradual incline rather than steps. The whole point of getting a dog ramp or step is to make your dog’s life more comfortable and prevent injury. 

The dog ramps and steps that we offer here have a number of different weight restrictions on them, depending on how they are built, the materials used, and the size of the product. For example, the Portable 4 steps wooden dog stairs can hold up to 50kgs, whilst the Adjustable Triscope pet ramp can hold up to 136kgs. 

The weight restrictions range from 30kgs right up to 180kgs! 

Purpose of the dog ramp or step

Why do you need a dog ramp? Above, I listed some of the circumstances that may benefit from you getting a dog ramp or step.

If the main reason you’re thinking of a step or ramp is to help your small dog up onto the couch or bed, then a more permanent step setup might be ideal like the plush staircases. These are a bit more bulky so you don’t want to be moving them around your house all the time, but they are stable, and your little dog will become very confident using them in no time. 

If you’re wanting something a little less bulky but that offers the same benefits of the fixed staircases, then the range of portable/foldable stairs might work best. Being foldable, they can be stored under your bed or coffee table and easily be moved from room to room. This four step wooden stair case is a great option. 

If your pooch has weight issues, mobility issues, hip problems, or is getting older, then we would suggest getting him a dog ramp. Being gentler on their hips, a ramp can enable  your dog to easily move up the gradual incline without causing them any pain that steps might cause, particularly descending. 

Height Adjustable Dog Ramp/ Dachshund Ramp - The Dog Ramp Co.
The Height Adjustable Dog Ramp

Ensure that you get a dog ramp that provides a gradual incline, by being long enough, or is height adjustable like our best seller here.  As mentioned above, a larger dog may need a wider ramp than the smaller breeds. 

If you’re looking for an inside ramp, then the adjustable one above is a great option, as are the convertible dog stair/ramps like this one, the Premium 2-in 1 Convertible. Being portable and collapsible, it works for the couch, the car, and folds away when done. 

Dog Ramps for your car

Choosing a ramp for your car will depend on a few things – the size of your car, if the dog is going into the boot of a wagon or hatchback, or if they are going on to the back seat. 

An extendable ramp gives the most options, as it can be brought out to be as long as possible, providing a nice gentle incline for your dog. 

Solvit by PetSafe Triscope Pet Car Ramp for Dogs (Adjustable 71cm - 177cm) - The Dog Ramp Co. Australia
Solvit by PetSafe Side Car Door Ramp Adaptor for Solvit Ramp Range - The Dog Ramp Co. Australia
Side Door Ramp Adaptor

Most of the extendable ramps (either aluminium or plastic) work for back seat as well as the boot, however we recommend that if your dog is uncertain on the ramp, then making sure it is held in place whilst in use will give them the most confidence. Having the ramp bounce around while they are ascending can be quite off-putting. The ramps rest easily on the tailgate, however they can bounce around when resting on the back seat cushion. 

For side door usage, we highly recommend the Side Car Door Ramp Adaptor  as it secures the ramp against the door whilst in use. 

A great example of a perfect dog ramp for older dogs or those with existing illnesses/injuries is our Heavy Duty Telescopic Aluminium Dog Ramp as it extends out to 162 cm and can hold up to 135kgs. 

Your dog’s agility level

Does your dog know how to climb stairs? While purchasing a dog ramp or step, assess how stable your dog is on the stairs. If he has arthritis or hip dysplasia, your dog should definitely no longer be jumping onto and off higher surfaces, and with their limited agility, they would benefit from a ramp over stairs. 

If your dog is young and simply smaller, then they will be fine with stairs. However, if your smaller dog is a breed that has any risk of developing back problems, such as Dachshunds or Corgis, then they should be limited from going up and down stairs, and hence a ramp would suit them. Check out our Dark 2-in-1 Convertible Dog Ramp & Dog Steps.

Fortunately, most of our dog ramps and steps have an anti-skid surface to help enhance the dog’s agility by providing a firm grip. This way, your puppy is less likely to lose their footing whilst using the ramp or step. 

Height of the elevated surface

2-in-1 Convertible

This is another essential aspect of getting the perfect dog ramp or step. It helps if you determine how high the sofa, bed, or car is before you can settle on a dog ramp. For instance, a dog step for a small hatchback car may not fit a larger wagon or SUV.

Get a dog ramp or step that is similar to the height of the bed or sofa or is adjustable. Once again, it will depend on your specific needs and how much space you have in your home, but remember, a dog ramp will be easier to use if it has a more gentle incline, especially if your dog has mobility problems. One of our outstanding foldable dog steps is the Premium 2-in-1 Convertible Dog Ramp & Dog Steps as it can be turned around to suit different heights depending on how it is being used – either as stairs or as a ramp. 

Your specific preference

Consider your personal preference when getting a dog ramp or step for your dog—for instance, factors such as price, color, ease of use, and ramp size. If you only have limited space in the house, you may prefer a dog step to a dog ramp, or you might go for a lighter more portable option that suits your needs as well as the dog’s needs. 

Aside from the convertible steps, the Height Adjustable Dog Ramp offers a great solution, and continues to be a bestseller. 

Conclusion

There are a lot of options available to our pets to help them with their mobility, and make both of our lives easier, and not all of these options are equal. By considering the various factors, hopefully you can narrow down your needs and find the perfect solution to ensure the healthy, happy life of your dog and minimise stress on you. Being able to rest assured your dog can get onto the couch or into the back of the car without causing either of you an injury means you can both enjoy life to the fullest, whether it’s cuddles on the couch, or runs on the beach. 

If you have any questions, or need any assistance deciding what might suit your needs, please do not hesitate to contact the team here at the Dog Ramp Co and we’d be happy to help.