Indoor and outdoor dog ramps help your dog avoid too much jumping and avoids joint and hip issues developing. However, what seems like a simple product is actually worth being chosen carefully to avoid wrong inclination and accidents.
Ramps for dogs simply offer an easy way for your dogs to go up and down your car, bed or sofa. It is much safer than jumping since your dogs can literally walk up and down, preventing on-the-spot injuries but also long-term complications such as joint pain and hip dysplasia due to landing on their paws.
Often, prospective buyers are confronted with a choice of three options:
- Dog Ramps — flat inclined ramp usually for older dogs that have some mobility problems like arthritis or hip dysplasia
- Dog Stairs — should have 4+ steps that are each rather short and are for small-breed dogs to help them get on beds and couches
- Dog Steps — should be 1 to 3 steps and would be for medium breeds that can’t get on the bed/couch by themselves
The problem with stairs and steps is that if your dog is already feeling a little discomfort, stairs won’t be of much help. Stair climbing is better than jumping but worse than walking up and down a ramp.
Choosing The Best Dog Ramp
To get started and before reading this article, you need two important pieces of information:
- The exact height of the truck, car, couch, sofa or deck you want your pet to reach
- The level of mobility impairment your dog is facing and how bad it is getting
Once you’ve got that in mind, you can decide which dog ramp to pick depending on the characteristics listed below.
This is a battle of sturdy plastic vs metallic ramps and both have their benefits and shortcomings.
Ramps made of PVC are durable, long-lasting and obviously waterproof which makes them a great choice for outdoor use. These plastic dog ramps are extremely easy to clean and disinfect since PVC isn’t a place bacterias like to call home. However, PVC ramps tend to be much less solid compared to their metallic counterpart therefore, they are a great choice for smaller dogs or very occasional uses.
Similarly, metallic dog ramps are usually heavier, more stable and definitely more durable. They do very well with frequent use and will handle small to giant dogs with no problem at all. However, you’ve got to be stronger to carry them around or leave them in the car. Plus, metallic ramps may rust with too much rain.
Most indoor ramps are made from wood and these are the top choice if exclusively left in your own home. They usually look the part with most interior designs!
Folding vs Telescopic
The internal sliding mechanism of telescoping dog ramps makes them easier to use out of the box. Simply detach the safety lock(s) and slide the bottom half out from under the top part. Lock the position and you’re all done.
Recently arrived on the market, bi-fold and tri-fold dog ramps can reach a much smaller size when packed. And once you unfold them fully, they reach a great length.
Finally, the main and major difference between the two is that folding pet ramps only have two sizes: folded and unfolded. Telescoping pet ramps often are adjustable which makes them more versatile.
Height, Length, and Slope
Perhaps the most important criteria are the triad of the height, length, and slope of your pet ramp. Once you know the height of the destination and how impaired your dog is, you can use our table below to determine the ramp length.
- Height — the distance between the floor/ground and the desired destination (ie. car boot, SUV…)
- Slope — the inclination the ramp will have where a larger angle means more effort to walk up
- Length — the distance between the ramp’s both ends
|Ramp Length||Max Height|
Easy Slope 18°
Normal Slope 22°
Climber Slope 26°
|36″ (3 Feet)|
|Pet Gear Travel Lite Half-Ramp|
|72″ (6 Feet)|
|Mr. Herzher’s Smart Ramp|
|84″ (7 Feet)|
|Solvit Deluxe XL Dog Ramp|
|96″ (8 Feet)|
|Rage Powersports Extra-Wide|
Climber Slope (26 degrees) — Younger and healthier dogs should definitely be able to enjoy a climber slope of a 26-degree angle. Many use such slopes preventively to avoid too much jumping action.
Normal Slope (22 degrees) — The moderate inclination of 24 degrees in the normal slope makes it great for dogs with minor mobility impairment or those getting older.
Easy Slope (18 degrees) — Highly recommended if your dog has bone or joint problems such as arthritis, or even achy muscles (ie. senior and disabled dogs, or those diagnosed with hip dysplasia for example.)
On top of the characteristics detailed above, a few extra features that can help you decide which ramp to buy for your dog.
Skid-Resistant & High-Traction Surface — If your dog has limited mobility, you want to make sure the ramp you get has offered a safe, sure footing. This is the case when they specify the use of a non-skid or non-slippery surface.
Reflective Markings — Mostly for safety reasons, you may want to pay a little premium sometimes to get reflective markings on your pet ramp. Especially if you are going to use it in traffic areas and at night.
Weight — Do not assume that the lightest the ramp, the better it is. Having a heavy ramp offers sturdiness for larger dogs but more than anything, it offers greater stability. Most ramps for dogs are free-standing so the weight does help to stabilize it on the ground.
Safety Latches — These are used to lock the sliding folding or telescoping pet ramp when packed but also when unpacking so it stays firmly in place. Most manufacturers don’t even mention them since they are usually present anyway.
Carry Handle — Depending on your own strength and size, you may need the help of a carry handle to transport your dog’s ramp in and out of the house or the trunk.
Top 5 Best Dog Ramps
The products below are not just ordered from the best down; instead, they are all great but they perform best in a particular area. Some are ramps for large dogs, others are ideal for smaller breeds, and so on.
Now the fun part: what is the best dog ramp? We’ve reviewed more websites than you have fingers, we’ve read more reviews than you have hairs. We’ve eventually come down to this shortlist of the best ramps for dogs in need of a little bit of assistance.
1. Solvit XL Telescopic
— Ramp For Large Dogs
The Solvit XL Telescopic Dog Ramp such a sturdy product that will not flex under repetitive use with a heavy dog. Extremely well-constructed telescoping dog ramp that suffers from the unavoidable consequence of being well built: it gets on the bulky side.
The price is extremely justified considering how it holds itself up in the long-run which is confirmed by several feedbacks on Amazon.
The length is 87″ unpacked and 47″ when stored while this model is 20″ wide which offers added safety and comfort for very large dogs. You can get a good angle on the ramp without needing to fully extend it so it’s rather versatile.
Rails all around the ramp are a nice touch to complement the non-skid surface so your dog keeps a stable grip on the ramp even if it walks up and down fast and agitated.
Overall, the Solvit XL Telescopic Dog Ramp is clearly the best choice for owners in need of a dog ramp designed for large dogs.
2. Pet Gear Bi-Fold Half Ramp
— Car Ramp For Small Dogs
Excellent for use in heights up to 20-inches, the Pet Gear Bi-Fold Half Ramp is made for lower decks. Indeed, it is too short to be used at the rear of a vehicle.
The top surface is made of a non-skid carpet while the bottom includes rubber grippers to keep the ramp steady. Cleaning-wise, the carpeting is removable so be hand-washed while the sturdy plastic naturally doesn’t attract bacterias.
Because of its compact size, this pet ramp does very well with mobility and travel. It folds with no hassle and even comes with a built-in handle to transport it anywhere with ease.
The very same model comes in a bunch of sizes and colors and you can definitely get a higher and longer model that will work extremely well with rear vehicle loading.
3. Pet Gear Pet Ramp
— Indoor Dog Ramp
Any indoor dog ramp has to normally look good and be free-standing. The Pet Gear Pet Ramp does just that and does it very well. For several years, Pet Gear has been building the most durable dog ramps.
This time, the ramp offers grippy rubber feet, removable ‘sure grip’ carpet so you can hand-wash it fast whenever needed. I would recommend it to anyone with a small or large dog. And funnily enough for an indoor dog ramp, it actually is high enough for a 4×4.
The Pet Gear Pet Ramp easily folds for storage and can carry dogs up to 200lbs (for instance, a large male Newfoundland weighs around 175lbs) so you should definitely be fine.
A welcome additional safety measure is the raised edges to help prevent slipping off the side. This is particularly useful with clumsy and goofy dogs, as well as agitated pets who like to rush up and down the ramp.
4. Mr. Herzher's Smart Ramp
— Best Ramp For Heavy Dogs
As a bestselling dog ramp, the Smart Ramp (yes, that’s its name!) is most definitely not deceiving: it has been designed with simplicity but sturdiness in mind. The raised side rails are rigid thanks to their properties similar to tough fiberglass. The tread surface is using a proprietary technology called Shur-Foot (read sure foot) to ensure the most perfect grip and comfort even with the largest dogs.
For years, the Smart Ramp was recommended for heavy-duty use cases such as those working with their dogs a lot, or for very unstable dogs who cannot use any flimsy pet ramp. Despite its great sturdiness, the Smart Ramp is not a heavyweight itself, only weighing 16 lbs.
Extending the ramp less, of course, inevitably makes it steeper so we recommend a full extension for weak and senior dogs. Other dogs who are in a sounder condition can most definitely handle the steep. In terms of width, from left bumper to right bumper it roughly measures 16.75″ in width. The inside width (the black tread) is just above 13″ wide.
5. Rage Powersports Extra-Wide Pet Ramp
— Best Ultrawide Dog Ramp
Perfect for giant dog breeds (Bernese Mountain, Great Danes, and the likes), this Rage Powersports Ultrawide Dog Ramp is built using heavy-duty, yet lightweight, materials. It accepts dogs weighing up to 250lbs (equivalent to 110kg); in other words, it can easily welcome two adult Bernese Mountains and a Chihuahua.
Easy storage is achieved by folding the ramp in half and packing it away; the ramp has a very useful carrying handle built-in. Also easy to clean thanks to its dirt-repelling surfaces, make sure you do not scrub the tread too much during cleaning. Indeed, the grip is amazing on this ramp and it would be a disaster to smoothen it too much. Use water and soap to rinse it regularly.
The customer service from Rage Powersports was congratulated in several reviews when the product was received damaged because of postal services. Always good when you know you can count on the manufacturer to help out and resend the product!
As you can see, buying the best dog ramp is simple once you know the height it has to reach and how good your dog’s mobility is. Then, it is a matter of preference between various materials, folding or telescoping, and obviously the length of the ramp. If your dog is aging, make sure you check out our below buying guides: