Our family loves to take our dog, Lilly, out on adventures. But getting her into the car isn’t always an easy task since she struggles due to blindness and old age. But even for younger pups, getting into a vehicle can be a challenge, particularly for smaller breeds. Not to mention that having your dog jump in and out of a vehicle can put unnecessary stress on their joints which could lead to health problems later in life.
However, there is a very easy solution to this problem and that’s the use of a dog ramp. These accessories are widely available and come in a range of sizes and designs. I can’t stress enough the importance of finding the best dog ramp for your car that meets your pets needs so looking at the various features before you buy is a must.
Of course, if you’ve never purchased a dog ramp before, you might not be sure what to look for; that’s where my complete guide to buying dog ramps for cars will become your new best friend. I’ve teamed up with student vet, Jason, to create this in depth guide on everything you need to know about car dog ramps.
Best Pet Ramps at a Glance
In a hurry? If so, below are my top picks for the best pet ramps selected by the most popular feature.
Last update on 2023-11-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
What Is A Dog Safety Ramp And Why Do I Need One?
A dog ramp is exactly what you might imagine it to be; a ramp for dogs and it’s often used to help them get into vehicles. However, these ramps can be used for other things such as training, on boats and smaller ones can even be purchased for use around the house.
The ramps designed for getting in and out of the car are typically made from metal and are incredibly durable. However, there are some plastic options on the market as well.
In any case, the dog ramp bridges the gap between two surfaces of varying heights, making it easier for the dog to gain access.
You may wonder whether a dog ramp is going to be useful for your pet. If you have a dog with joint problems then they’re a wonderful investment as these dogs may find it painful and difficult to get into the vehicle without a ramp. What’s more, jumping or taking a big step up could put further strain on their already delicate joints.
Dogs with short legs would also benefit from a ramp for the simple reason that they’ll find it hard to climb up. What’s more, allowing your dog to repeatedly jump up and down could result in health conditions like a hernia, arthritis and hip dysplasia, among others.
These ramps are particularly important if you have a higher vehicle such as a truck or SUV which would be otherwise difficult for the dog to access.
Dog Steps For Cars – A Better Choice Than Ramps?
One of the things that a lot of people get confused about is the difference between dog ramps and dog steps for cars. I’ve actually seen a few people calling ramps, steps and vice versa which can lead to even more confusion.
So, let’s settle this once and for all; you can purchase steps or a ramp but it really depends on your dog as to which is most appropriate.
Ramps are ideal for dogs with joint problems as it limits how far they need to lift their feet which could put strain on their shoulders. They’re also ideal for dogs with smaller legs, like dachshunds, for example, who may find mounting each step a little challenging.
The excellent range of dog steps for cars out there, such as these convenient folding steps, are perfect for any other pooch. What’s more, with their compact design, they’re so easy to pop in the boot when you’re travelling and they won’t take up too much space.
Things To Consider When Buying A Dog Ramp
If you’ve decided that a dog ramp is right for your pet, I’d urge you not to just go out and buy the first one you see. There are different features that will work better for certain pets and their owners so it’s worth comparing models. If you’re not 100% certain on what to look for, don’t worry; I’ve put together some helpful advice to make choosing a breeze!
Which Type Of Dog Ramp Do You Need?
There are three main types of dog ramp to choose from; folding, telescopic and permanent. Which you choose will depend on how much space you have to store the ramp, your budget and the type of dog breed you have.
For example, while a telescopic ramp is incredibly easy to operate and doesn’t take up much space when they are compacted, they’re not as strong as other types. This means that they may not be suitable for very large breeds as there’s a chance they may buckle under the weight.
On the other hand, a folding ramp is much stronger and is very compact. But the issue with these ramps is that they can be heavy and tricky to put up. Plus, once one hinge goes, the entire ramp is rendered useless. That said, if you’re looking for an affordable option, this is going to be your best bet.
Finally, there are permanent or semi permanent ramps which are, as you would expect, fitted to the vehicle using bolts. One of the biggest benefits of these ramps is that they’re affordable as well as being incredibly strong. However, they’re not ideal if you’re after something space saving.
Another really important thing to consider when choosing your dog ramp is the material it is made from. Usually you’ll find that your choices are either plastic or aluminium. Naturally, the latter is going to provide you with more strength and durability which usually means that these ramps come with a higher weight capacity and are therefore suitable for larger breeds.
However, there are some high end plastic ramps that are surprisingly robust but I’d always recommend checking the weight limit and reading individual reviews to find out more about the strength. For small breeds, you might get away with a budget plastic ramp but it really depends on how often you want to use it. If it’s something you’ll use every day, it might be worth investing in something a little more high quality.
In any case, both of these materials are lightweight so you’ll find that the ramps aren’t too much of a challenge to unload and fold away.
Dog Ramp Size
You’ll find that dog ramps come in a range of sizes and which you choose will be impacted by two things; the size of your dog and the size of your vehicle.
One of the most important things to consider is that the ramp needs to be large enough to accommodate your pet without them being so confined that there’s a risk of them slipping off the edge. However, you also need to make sure that the ramp will fit into your vehicle.
How To Use A Dog Safety Ramp Video
The video below show a telescopic pet ramp in action as well how to train your dog to safely use one.
Training Your Pet to Use Pet Steps, Ramps and Stairs
I have a complete guide and video to help guide you to training your pet to safely use your new pet steps or ramps.
Pet Ramp FAQs
How can I get my dog to use the ramp?
Some dogs may be a little nervous about using the ramp and that’s normal. However, you can train your dog to use the ramp through verbal encouragement and the use of treats and praise. That said, you need to keep in mind that it could take some time, so you’ll need to exercise patience.
Where can I use a dog ramp?
Depending on the size of the dog ramp, there are many places you can use it. Getting in and out of your car or van is one thing but these ramps are also often used to bridge the gap between the dock and a boat. Many owners will also use them around the home to allow the dog to gain access to things like the sofa or bed. Provided that the ramp can be used safely, there’s no reason it can’t be used in several different places.
Can I make a DIY dog ramp?
If you’d like a project for the weekend, then there’s no reason you cannot make your own dog ramp. This may be a more affordable option, especially if you already have the materials at home. That said, I would encourage you to consider how durable and strong you can make the ramp as it’ll likely not be as safe as a manufactured dog ramp. However, if it’s just going to be for occasional use, then it might be OK.
How much are dog ramps for cars?
The price of a dog ramp can vary greatly. I’ve seen some out there for less than £50 while others might be three times this much. However, I would never recommend going for a cheap product just to save a few pounds because there’s a chance that the ramp may not be as robust and supportive. The safety of your dog should come first, and you cannot put a price on this.
How steep should a dog ramp be?
Generally speaking, you want your dog ramp to be somewhere between 18 and 26 degrees. Any steeper and this could pose a safety hazard. Remember to check the length of the ramp in comparison to the height of the obstacle and this will help you figure out the best option for you.
For more than a decade I have been working with and reviewing a wide variety of household products, including pet related mobility products. My many years' of experience writing articles and creating helpful videos for various blogs and publications, have allowed me to recognise the benefits and shortfalls of a wide range of products and tools; providing me with the ability to not only identify what makes a good purchase, but also to help you choose a suitable product for your exact needs and requirements.