6 Things You Need to Consider BEFORE Building a Dog Ramp

6 Things You Need to Consider Before Building a Dog Ramp - DoggoRamps - 2 French Bulldogs pose with their DoggoRamps Couch Ramp for Dogs

If you’ve been thinking about introducing your dog to an indoor pet ramp, we wouldn’t be surprised if you've found yourself debating between buying one or building a dog ramp yourself.

Nowadays, it’s possible to find a variety of both pre-built dog ramps and plans for making a ramp at home.

While building a dog ramp may seem like an inexpensive solution, there’s a lot more to building a ramp than meets the eye - especially if you want it to be safe for your dog to use.

Now - of course, as a dog ramp supplier, we can't deny we're a bit biased😋, but seriously... before you embark on the project of building a dog ramp, here are 6 important factors to consider about homemade versus premade dog ramps!

1. Quality, Durability, & Workability of the Material Used

When buying or making a dog ramp, safety should be a priority. There’s a fairly extensive list of materials that have been used to make both premade and DIY indoor dog ramps, such as foam, plywood, pine (a softwood), and more.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that many of these materials aren’t very strong or durable. For example:

  • Foam: as a lightweight material, foam can be flimsy and shift or sink under the force of a quicker step or a pup with a sturdier physique.
  • Plywood/Softwood: tends to dent and scratch easily and isn’t as hard-wearing or strong (especially when compared to a hardwood, such as Maple).

As an assistive device commonly used for dogs prone to back and joint issues, it’s important for a dog ramp to be crafted out of a material that will keep your dog safe and make the ramp easy to use.

softwood pine dog ramps versus hardwood dog ramps

Solid Hardwood (what all DoggoRamps are made out of) has proven to be the best material for a dog ramp as it is stronger and sturdier than any other alternative. When properly constructed, a solid hardwood dog ramp can:

  • Stay put whether being being used fast or slow
  • Support medium and big dogs
  • Be more resistant to wear and tear
  • Last for years to come

A Senior Golden Retriever sleeping on the bed with his dog ramp beside him

 When it came to getting a DoggoRamps Solid Hardwood Large Bed Ramp for her aging Golden Retreiver, Stan's owner shared:

"After looking at multiple options that were too small and flimsy, or too unstable, we finally purchased the Large [Bed Ramp]. The ramp is very well built, it’s stable and it matches the furniture very well."

Another pet owner and DoggoRamper wrote:

"It's very sturdy, nicely made in real wood. Not that plastic or foam stuff that wiggles around as my tiny yorkie tries to climb up to the bed or couch."

True furniture caliber wood is always hardwood and is harder to work with than softwood (pun intended). More time and effort is required when building with hardwood, and it's even necessary to predrill holes so the wood doesn't split. Hardwood is also more expensive - regardless of whether pieces are being sourced for a DIY project or it's been used for a premade product.

If you want to make sure that your pup has access to a durable and sturdy ramp that will withstand daily use, purchasing a premade solid hardwood dog ramp can save heaps effort and time.

2. Finding The Right Surface Material

A durable, anti-slip material on the surface of a dog ramp is a MUST. Ensuring that any ramp a dog uses provides them proper traction is non-negotiable as no pet owner wants to have their dog slip on a device that’s meant to help keep them safe. Finding a good anti-slip material for a dog ramp is also no easy task and can some take time to source.

Some of the materials that are commonly used for walking platforms on dog ramps include carpeting, artificial turf, ridges, rubber mats, and more. Out of all these options, you may find that carpeted surfaces tend to be the most popular.

However, it's important to know that when used on an incline, carpeting ends up being too slippery for most dogs. Artificial turf tends to be rather slick as well since it’s also made up of synthetic fibers attached to a backing. 

carpet dog ramp surface versus rubber pawgrip dog ramp

Rubber matting tends to provide better grip on a dog ramp, but here at DoggoRamps, we didn't want to settle for anything but the best. After a great deal of research and testing, we found our unique anti-slip PAWGRIP surface, (which is featured on all DoggoRamps). Our PAWGRIP is a soft yet rubbery material that’s been intentionally designed to provide incredible traction, and features a grid-like texture to help further increase grip.

Two Dachshunds walking up their DoggoRamps Small Bed Ramp for Dogs

These Doxies' owners originally built their own ramp before upgrading to the DoggoRamps Small Bed Ramp. When evaluating the materials used on the ramps, they explained that "the PAWGRIP surface is way better than the carpet we had & prevents sliding."

A different customer also shared:

DoggoRamps Ramp Grip/Traction Review

3. A Low-Incline Design that Actually Works with Your Space

Before choosing a dog ramp, it’s important to evaluate the design that's caught your eye and determine how it will physically fit in your space.

While a short ramp may seem convenient since it’s bound to take up less room, it can easily prove to be too steep and challenging for a dog to use. What’s more is that ramps with steep inclines will still cause dogs to put strain on their backs and joints (the very thing ramps are intended to relieve).

A Shih Tzu standing on her DoggoRamps Small Bed Ramp placed in front of the bed

After sustaining an injury from jumping off furniture, this Shih Tzu's owners decided it was time to get their senior pup a ramp. They shared:

"We are very thankful to find a solidly built product with a less steep incline to accommodate for smaller dogs." 

Ramps with a low-incline design, such as DoggoRamps, may be longer (DoggoRamps Bed Ramps are 64” long), but they are easier and safer for dogs to navigate.

Fortunately, DoggoRamps have also been intentionally designed and tested to work with a variety of room layouts and accommodate different orientations (as shown below). You don’t have to spend time coming up with a unique solution or worry about a longer dog ramp being an inconvenience in your space.

4 Possible DoggoRamps Bed Ramp Orientations

Even though the DoggoRamps Couch Ramp is smaller than the bed ramps, it can accommodate a variety of orientations as well:

DoggoRamps Couch Ramp for All Dogs - 4 Ramp Setup Options

4. Are You Going to End Up With a Dog Ramp That Has All The Features You Need?

Portability & Adjustability 

Whether it be a weekend getaway, a longer road trip, or a cottage vacation, many dog owners nowadays enjoy taking their four-legged family members on adventures. And when they can’t tag along, dog owners commonly opt to have their precious pups stay with a trustworthy family member or sitter. 

As pup parents ourselves, we know just how much of a priority it is for our pets to be safe wherever they go. Dog ramps that can be folded flat and adjusted for a variety of height settings can be easily transported and allow dogs to continue enjoying the benefits of using their ramps in virtually any home.

A Dachshund walks down her Dog Ramp placed inside of an RV

When heading on an adventure, Daphne's Small Bed Ramp is easily moved and set up inside of an RV.

A DoggoRamps Customer also shared:

DoggoRamps 5 Star Review - Portability

Figuring out the design and technical dimensions for a strong, collapsible, and adjustable dog ramp is a tricky and long process that requires a lot of testing (it took even us years). Luckily, DoggoRamps have it all worked out already, so you don't have to go through the hassle when choosing a premade ramp.

Extra Safety Features

Depending on the dog and the hangout spot a ramp is intended to help them reach, additional ramp safety features may be necessary. For example, railings along the side of a ramp leading down from a tall bed can help stop a dog from taking jumping shortcuts off their ramp.

This extra feature is especially helpful not only for dogs prone to back and joint issues, but also for miniature and toy breeds where the distance from the floor to a bed could be 2-4 times their height. That’s why DoggoRamps Bed Ramps (which can reach 37” or 35”) come with reversible and removable railings for extra safety. 

A large senior dog rests on his owner's bed with his DoggoRamps Large Bed Ramp in front of him

This larger breed's owner decided to introduce her dog to a ramp to help protect his joints in his senior years. When writing about her favorite DoggoRamps Large Bed Ramp features, this pup's paw-rent shared:

"I also like the side rails which will prevent him from jumping off the ramp and for safety."

Should your space require a slimmer dog ramp, it’s also important to have a means of securing the ramp to improve stability when in use. Our Small Bed Ramp, for example, includes an easy-to-use anchor rope system to help further stabilize the ramp and fully secure it to the bed.

A pug rests on her owner's bed with her DoggoRamps Bed Ramp for Small Dogs next to it

After testing out a variety of dog ramps and pet stairs over the years, Maddie's owners decided to try out the DoggoRamps Bed Ramp for Small Dogs. In their feedback, they called their DoggoRamp a "superior product" and when listing the features they love, they wrote:

"It has a rope that goes under the mattress and attaches to the other side of the bed so the ramp doesn’t move away from the bed as Maddie pushes off of it."

Adding extra features to a foldable and adjustable dog ramp involves a high level of craftsmanship, extra time, and precision in the build. Getting all the pieces to perfectly line up and fit together is no simple task. That’s why our ramps are made by fine furniture manufacturers with decades of experience. As a result, all DoggoRamps come fully assembled with all the necessary design elements and components to allow them to be safely and easily used by dogs of all ages and sizes.  

5. Matching a Ramp to Your Home

Over the years, we’ve noticed that when a dog ramp matches a dog owner’s aesthetic preferences, they’re more likely to keep the ramp out and in place. As a result, dogs gain consistent access to a ramp and the more they are able to use it, the more it becomes a long-term habit!

On top of being crafted from solid Maple hardwood, all DoggoRamps come in 5 finish options (3 for the StepRamp) to complement a pet owner's home and style. Countless DoggoRamps users have shared that our ramps feel like a proper piece of furniture and intentional part of their decor too.

dog ramps to match furniture

When comparing buying a dog ramp to making a homemade ramp, this DoggoRamper shared:

DoggoRamps 5-Star Review: Buying a Premade Dog Ramp vs. Building a Homemade Dog Ramp

Customizing the color of a ramp may seem pretty straightforward, but it still requires additional materials and work - especially if you want it to last or avoid discoloration. Before painting raw wood, it's typically necessary to sand it, seal any knots, apply a primer, and account for curing/drying time. Choosing a prebuilt ramp that's already available in your preferred finish over a DIY project can save heaps of time and planning.

A French Bulldog walking down his DoggoRamps dog ramp to get down from the couch
One of The Jax, Karl, and Kevin Show's favorite DoggoRamps features is the ramp's color & modern design. It makes the ramp a perfect match for their interior!

6. Getting Your Dog the Support They Need When They Need It Most

The majority of pet owners begin looking into a dog ramp for the wellbeing of their pup. When building a ramp, it can take time to source the right materials, tools, and help. It's also not uncommon for a handy friend or significant other take longer on a project than we'd like.

Buying a premade ramp means that you get the ramp right away and can provide your dog with a safe alternative to jumping sooner rather than weeks or months down the road.

Three American Bulldogs sleeping on a bed with their DoggoRamps Large Bed Ramp in front of them

With one aging pup and another recovering from knee surgery, these doggos' owners felt that it was time to introduce them to a dog ramp. With a quick delivery, easy setup, and portability, these paw-rents shared that their Large Bed Ramp "has saved the day!"

When deciding between a premade or DIY dog ramp, there are a handful of factors to keep in mind if you wish to provide your pup with an indoor ramp that will be secure and easy for them to use.

Sourcing the right materials, finding the best design for your pup and space, figuring out the correct measurements, and getting the appropriate tools can make building a ramp a time consuming and expensive process.

Afterall, we have years of experience in the field. Before being made available to the public, different ramp designs, materials, and features were rigorously tested in order to bring you high-quality ramps we have available today.

Whether you buy a dog ramp from us or somewhere else, choosing a premade ramp can easily and quickly offer your four-legged family member a safe, durable, and long-lasting alternative to jumping when they need it.  

Crusoe the Dachshund posting with his homemade dog ramps that served as inspiration for DoggoRamps

HOW THE DOGGORAMP CAME TO BE: DoggoRamps was started by Crusoe the Dachshund’s dad, Ryan, after the Wiener Dog Extraordinaire underwent emergency back surgery due to IVDD. Through trial and error and many iterations (see above) the original DoggoRamps Small Bed Ramp was finally designed. It was then evaluated by Crusoe over the course of a couple of years before being brought to the market.

To learn more about DoggoRamps, check out:

Happy Ramping!

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