Save Your Pup's Joints with These Dog Ramps and Stairs
My Boston terrier, Ollie, turned 14 in June. He has a fun little quirk that he can't sleep well unless he's cuddled up next to me under a blanket—which means a lot of bed and couch time. Sadly for my pup, he has arthritis in his hips. He struggles to get up onto higher surfaces and can be in pain when he hops back down. To help him up, I bought a dog ramp.
Why Are Dog Ramps Important?
"From a vet's perspective, there's no upside to pet parents encouraging their pups to take Olympic-sized leaps from furniture; in fact, it's just asking for trouble," says Rebecca Greenstein, DVM, veterinary medical advisor for Rover. "I tell most small dog owners to train their dogs to wait for their humans to gently carry them down or, even better, invest in dog ramps all over the house."
It's pretty common to see injuries happening from dogs jumping on or off things, Greenstein says—things like broken bones, disc trauma in the back or neck, and concussive trauma.
"Dogs that have degenerative bone and joint disease such as osteoarthritis, dogs that are overweight, and geriatric dogs are further mechanically burdened with the ability to safely accomplish these everyday tasks," says Jerry Klein, DVM, the American Kennel Club's chief veterinary officer.
It's especially important that small dogs like long-bodied dachshunds and toy breeds have a way to get up and down safely and easily, as they're more likely to get intervertebral disc disease, which is similar to a slipped disk in their spine.
"My mini doxie used to launch himself off of furniture at every opportunity, which put him at risk for a number of injuries," Greenstein says. "In breeds like dachshunds, whose shock-absorbing discs are already predisposed to abnormal wear, the sudden force of landing from even a normal jump can be enough to cause bruising and swelling to the spinal cord itself. If the injury is significant enough, they can lose sensation and movement in the hind end, and even emergency surgery can't always guarantee return of function."
To keep your pup happy and healthy for as long as possible, invest in a dog ramp early to prevent any painful injuries. We've selected eight ramps that are safe, durable, and nonslip. Don't repeat my mistake: The first dog ramp I bought for Ollie wasn't the best quality, and he slid down once he took a step.
8 Best Dog Ramps for Pups of All Shapes and Sizes
Frisco Foldable Nonslip Cat & Dog Stairs
These steps may hold up to 120 pounds but are best for small to medium dogs. Your pup won't slip thanks to grips on the steps, and the stairs won't slip either with the included non-stick pads attached to the bottom. They fold up with the push of just two buttons, are lightweight, and can be stored in small spaces.
Shop Now: Frisco Foldable Nonslip Cat & Dog Stairs, $35; chewy.com
PetSafe Happy Ride Telescoping Dog Ramp
Don't be fooled by the light weight of this dog ramp—it's only 13 pounds. It can definitely handle your dog though (even those Great Danes!) with a weight rating of up to 400 pounds. The ramp length is adjustable to allow even those pups with the shortest strides to easily get in and out of the truck or car.
Shop Now: PetSafe Happy Ride Telescoping Dog Ramp, $110; petco.com
Topmart 3 Tiers Foam Dog Ramps/Steps
If your dog is like my elderly Boston and has trouble with short stairs and hard surfaces, this enhanced dog ramp is the best option. It's covered in corduroy and foam-based to alleviate impact on the joints, and the steps are deeper and wider than normal so your pet can put more thought into where they're stepping safely.
Shop Now: Topmart 3 Tiers Foam Dog Ramps/Steps, $90; amazon.com
PetSafe CozyUp Bed Ramp for Dogs and Cats
If your pet has trouble getting up on the bed or the couch, this carpeted ramp with two finishes to match your decor will help. The ramp is 25 inches tall and holds dogs up to 120 pounds. The carpet is heavy duty, too, so it'll keep their little paws firmly planted.
Shop Now: PetSafe CozyUp Bed Ramp for Dogs and Cats, $130; amazon.com
Merry Products Collapsible Cat & Dog Ramp
This aptly named product will keep your dog merry thanks to three different height levels based on your pet's weight. You'll be happy, too because it's easy to move (it has wheels!) and won't scuff up your floors. And when you're done with it, the dog ramp easily fold up and tucks away.
Shop Now: Merry Products Collapsible Cat & Dog Ramp, $92; chewy.com
Pet Gear Travel Lite Ramp with supertraX Surface
When your pet uses this bi-fold dog ramp, you'll know they can feel secure thanks to the supertraX surface. The more pressure your pup puts on it, the stronger the grip gets—a perfect option for any pets who've been out playing in mud or water and could slip.
Shop Now: Pet Gear Travel Lite Ramp with supertraX Surface, $70; amazon.com
Ordonez Doggy Boat Pet Stair
Love boating or the pool and want to share the fun with your dog? This is the ideal dog pool ramp and boat ramp. It's rust-proof, corrosion-proof, and has ribbed steps that give wet paws more traction. Don't worry about damage to your boat or pool, either—it attaches right to the human ladder with hooks and straps.
Shop Now: Ordonez Doggy Boat Pet Stair, $197; wayfair.com
Pet Gear Free-Standing Foldable Dog Car Steps
The great thing about these pet steps is that they're foldable and free-standing. Whether you need a ramp to get your dog in the car, into bed, on the couch, or somewhere else, these steps will come right along with you and hold their own. Plus, they support up to 350 pounds on softly carpeted extra-large platforms.
Shop Now: Pet Gear Free-Standing Foldable Dog Car Steps, $177; amazon.com