Pet ramps are one of the most useful items for assisting a pet into a car, truck, boat or poolside. Some are also designed to help a pet climb onto furniture or up short stairs.
When choosing a ramp there are some key considerations and decisions involved such as animal size, ramp cost, storage space, and the intended use.
There are 3 general types of ramps
There are generally two types or car ramps:
Fixed/Folding – Solid and rigid ramp, sometimes with 1 or more folding points.
This style is usually used with a truck or van because of the additional storage space required.
Pros – Less expensive and has few, if any, moving parts.
Cons – Takes up more space and is awkward to handle by one person.
Telescoping – Compact, usually shrinking down to a much smaller size.
Pros – Easy to use by one person and takes up less storage space.
Cons – Typically more expensive.
Pool or Boat Ramp
There are a variety of ramps on the market and, in addition to allowing your pet recreational access to and from the water, they can be a pets’ lifesaver. I highly encourage all pet owners who have water access (pool or lake) to install one of these, it just may save your pets life! They come in 3 types:
Floating Water Ramps – These are designed for dogs to allow them to get out of the water onto a dock or swimming pool deck.
Pros – Easier on the pet because the climb is usually gradual.
Cons – More expensive and less durable.
Fixed ramp – These simply attached to the side of your pool and rest in the water. They allow your pooch (or other animals) to easily climb up and out of the water.
Pros – Less expensive and more durable, more resistant to weather so it can be left out when not in use.
Cons – Sometimes more difficult for your pet to use.
Ladder – There are a couple of boat/pool pet ladders on the market, but the ramps are generally easier for most pets to use.
Furniture Ramp or Steps
There are quite a few furniture ramps and ramps for stairs on the market, some are quite innovative. They fall into two types of pet furniture ramps:
Gradual Ramp – Provides a longer slope for your loved one to climb into bed, onto furniture or up stairs.
Pros – Great for stairs and anywhere space is available as it is easier on the pet.
Cons – Most take up more space than the step styles.
Steps – Provide a short set of steps for your pet to climb onto the bed or furniture.
Pros – Take up less space.
Cons – May not be appropriate for older animals that have physical ailments such as arthritis.
Also, there is at least one manufacturer that makes a combination ramp/steps that can easily be converted to both.
How To Choose?
When deciding on a pet ramp, look for these features:
Ease of handling – Small and lightweight will save you work.
Safety – The ramp must not slip when in use, make sure it has anti slip feet.
Traction – Make sure your pet won’t slip when using the ramp.
Storage – This depends on your situation, but remember that the ramp will most likely need to be stored when not in use.
Correct Size – With all types of ramps or steps, make sure that you order the correct size for your pet. Too small and it may be unstable with your pets weight, too large and it is additional cost, weight, and space requirements.
Small dogs or cats (under 20 lbs. or 9.1 kg.) – You can use any ramp and most steps, providing that the step height isn’t greater than the pets height.
Medium sized dogs or other pets (20 to 60 lbs. or 9.1 – 27.2 kg.) – Choose a ramp that is rated for at least 200 lbs. (90 kg.) and is at least 12 inches (30 cm.) wide. This will give a wide and sturdy path for your pet. Any standard height steps should work when helping your pet access furniture indoors.
Large sized dogs or other pets (over 60 lbs. or 27.2 kg.) – Choose a ramp that is rated for at least 400 lbs. (90 kg.) and is at least 17 inches (43 cm.) wide. This will give a wide and sturdy path for your pet. Any standard height steps should work when helping your pet access furniture indoors, however make sure that the step length isn’t too small for larger pets.
Sandy Scharmer has had pets (dogs and cats) for over 40 years.
He is currently lending his experience to writing articles to help people better understand some of the more confusing areas in these and other fields.