Caring for Your Large Dog: Should Your Big Breed Use a Dog Ramp?

Caring for Large Dogs: Should Your Big Breed Use a Dog Ramp?

While dog ramps tend to be popular among pet owners with smaller dogs, all dogs can benefit from using indoor ramps - including big breeds.

With their larger bodies and longer legs, it’s easy to believe that jumping on and off furniture won’t have major repercussions for big dogs - especially if they’re young and active.

However, with many larger breeds being prone to serious joint problems, such as hip dysplasia, using indoor ramps can not only help prevent jumping-related injuries, but can also help reduce the chances or severity of future joint problems.

So if you’ve been thinking about introducing your bigger pup to an indoor ramp, here are 5 BIG reasons why dog ramps are a MUST for large dogs.

1. Reducing Stress on Your Big Dog’s Joints

Even though many big breeds may appear to leap on and off couches and beds without difficulty, the impact experienced from regularly jumping off furniture still places unnecessary strain on their joints. Big dogs also weigh significantly more than smaller pups and bearing all that weight when landing on a floor (or even when jumping up) puts extra stress on their bodies too.

This is less than ideal for big breeds as many are susceptible to developing serious and debilitating joint issues. For example, German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Bernese Mountain Dogs, and Great Danes are prone to hip dysplasia. Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Rottweilers are also predisposed to elbow dysplasia. These conditions can cause dogs to suffer from pain, decreased mobility, and lameness, and can lead to further joint degeneration along with arthritis - especially when left untreated. 

Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

 Hip Dysplasia in dogs occurs when the hip joint does not develop or fit properly. As a result, the ball and socket that make up the joint rub, grind, and deteriorate over time.

Despite the fact that many of these joint conditions are a result of genetics and can’t necessarily be prevented, using dog ramps can help larger breeds decrease the amount of wear-and-tear their joints experience, help stop them from exacerbating existing joint conditions through jumping, and allow them to enjoy a safer home environment. (It’s also important to note that in comparison to pet stairs, a full-fledged dog ramp is the only solution that is impact-free).

A German Shepherd with her Bed Ramp for Big Dogs

Since German Shepherds are known for facing hip issues, Serafina's owner decided to introduce her pup to a bed ramp at a young age. Her paw-rent shared:

"This is a small investment in the long run when you see the ROI in her health, my health and overall independence she has in her home."

Moreover, if your big breed already requires help on and off furniture, lifting a large pup often requires specific steps and technique. Improper lifting can still strain a dog’s joints. Fortunately, using a ramp can eliminate the risk.  

A Labrador Retriever with his DoggoRamps Large Bed Ramp for Dogs

 When 11-year-old Bentley (@browndogbentley11) started experiencing hip problems, his owners knew it was time to get their Labrador a ramp. They're happy to report that their pup can now join the rest of the family on the bed without pain.

2. Preventing Injury

Accidents happen and a dog of any size can sustain an injury, such as a strain or sprain, from jumping. In many cases, jumping off furniture poses a higher risk of injury as well. That’s because jumping off furniture often requires a dog to quickly adjust to different surfaces, such as transferring from a soft cushion to hard flooring. Many types of flooring are also slippery for dogs, forcing their muscles and limbs to put in extra effort in order to remain on all fours after landing. 

Teaching your dog how to use an indoor ramp can significantly reduce the amount of jumping they have to do on a daily basis and decrease their chances of experiencing a jumping-related injury.

An Australian Shepherd with their Dog Ramp for Big Breeds

Maya's hoomans were concerned that the Australian Shepherd would injure herself when jumping off their bed and were relieved to find a safe alternative for her in the form of the DoggoRamps Large Bed Ramp. 

3. Creating a More Comfortable and Convenient Home Environment for Your Dog

As paw-rents ourselves, we know that dog owners want nothing more than to have their pups lead happy and comfortable lives. Ramps not only create a safer environment for big dogs at home, but they provide them with a more convenient one as well. Jumping up and down requires more effort in comparison to walking - even for a young and active pup. Using a ramp with a gentle incline, such as a DoggoRamp, is less physically demanding for a dog, reduces strain on their joints, and makes enjoying their favorite places a great deal easier. 

For larger dogs that may already be experiencing mobility issues and trouble jumping, dog ramps can allow them to continue enjoying freedom and independence at home too.

A Big Dog with their Large Bed Ramp for Dogs

As he got older, Buster started having difficulty reaching his owners' bed. His paw-rents shared that prior to being introduced to his bed ramp, it had been a while since their dog had been able to access it. Now, he has regained the freedom to come and go as he pleases.

4. Protecting YOUR Back, Joints, and Mind

If you’re the owner of a bigger pup that you need to assist on and off furniture, repetitive lifting can also put a lot of strain on your joints, muscles, and back. As well, it can increase your chances of experiencing an injury, such as a strain or sprain. Introducing your pup to a ramp is a safer option for both you and your dog.

A Bloodhound with their Dog Ramp for Big Breeds

After undergoing knee surgery for a CCL tear, this Bloodhound's hooman chose to introduce her to the DoggoRamps Large Bed Ramp. Her owner shared:

"She no longer needs Mom's help and goes up and down the ramp with ease, saving her joints and my back."

Training your dog how to use an indoor ramp can give you peace of mind too. Once your pup has gotten the hang of consistently choosing and using their ramp, you will no longer have to worry about your dog sustaining an injury from jumping on or off furniture whether you're at home or out.

An American Bulldog rests on the bed with his dog ramp for large dogs next to him

Before DoggoRamps, Julian would use pet steps to get up and down from his paw-rents' bed. When he experienced an accident falling off, his owners decided that it was time to upgrade to a dog ramp. They wrote that, "The relief we both feel with this ramp is indescribable."

5. Planning for the Future

With many big breeds being prone to joint problems, introducing a younger pup to a ramp can not only reduce the amount of stress they place on their joints over time, but it can also help prepare a dog to enjoy a higher quality of life in their senior years.

While a dog of any size can learn how to use a dog ramp at any age, (you can explore our expert-developed ramp training guides here), teaching an older dog already facing mobility issues can require more patience, persistence, and time. Starting sooner will allow your dog to already know how to confidently use a ramp when they may need it most. 

A German Shepherd sits on a bed with his dog ramp for big breeds next to him

At the age of 5, Rammus the German Shepherd started showing signs of hip and knee trouble. His paw-rents didn't hesitate with introducing him to the DoggoRamps Large Bed Ramp. Rammus now gets to enjoy the bed without pain, loves running up and down it, and will know how to use ramp for the rest of his life.

The Best Dog Ramps for Big Dogs

Prior to DoggoRamps, big and giant breeds were overlooked for far too long. That’s why we created our Large Bed Ramp, and intentionally designed a strong, sturdy Couch Ramp and StepRamp.

These ramp models have the necessary features needed by big breeds:

Solid Hardwood for Extra Sturdiness

All DoggoRamps are made from furniture-grade, solid hardwood and weigh between 15lbs (the Couch Ramp and StepRamp) to 46lbs (the Large Bed Ramp).

This makes DoggoRamps stronger and sturdier than softwood or foam alternatives, and provides larger dogs with stability and support they require from a dog ramp. Using solid hardwood also allows our ramps to be more durable, and makes them feel like a proper, high-quality piece of furniture in your home too!

A Big Dog sits on the bed with his dog ramp in front of him

When sharing some of her favorite DoggoRamps features, this big pup's owner wrote:

"It is well-built, sturdy, high-quality and beautiful."

Anti-Slip PAWGRIP for Incredible Traction

Every dog requires a ramp with good traction. However, proper grip is particularly important for dogs prone to or experiencing joint problems as accidental slips can cause them to stretch their joints past a comfortable range of motion. This can lead to injury and pain. 

To prevent slips, DoggoRamps feature a unique anti-slip PAWGRIP surface. Our PAWGRIP is a soft, rubbery material that provides incredible grip and is significantly better than carpet. It also includes a tactile pattern to further improve traction.

Low-Incline Design

All of our full-fledged dog ramps, such as the Couch Ramp and Large Bed Ramp, have a low-incline design. This means that our ramps aren’t steep and provide big dogs with a gentler slope to navigate. With a low-incline, DoggoRamps are easier and safer for dogs to use, and don’t require large breeds to take big strides or climb, which would still strain their joints.

Safety Rails and Extra-Wide Platforms on Taller Ramps

As the name suggests, our Couch Ramp was created to help dogs reach lower pieces of furniture, such as sofas. On the other hand, the Large Bed Ramp can help big dogs get up and down from higher indoor surfaces, such as tall beds (it can reach a maximum height of 35”). Consequently, it has a significantly longer walking platform (64”) so that it can still provide dogs with a gentle incline.

In most cases, a large dog will need to take a handful of steps on their bed ramp when using it. As a result, our Large Bed Ramp includes reversible and removable safety rails to help guide pups up and down the full length of their ramp and help prevent them from taking any jumping shortcuts. To make sure that bigger pups can also comfortably navigate and enjoy using a bed ramp without feeling too cramped, our Large Bed Ramp features an extra-wide walking platform (18”). 

A happy Golden Retriever rests on the bed with his dog ramp for tall beds next to him

When sharing her thoughts about the DoggoRamps Large Bed Ramp, Romeo's paw-rent explained:

"Exactly what we were hoping. Worth every dollar. Extremely well built. Excellent grip under the paws. Perfect width for a large 10-year-old Golden Retriever. My bed is very high, he cannot get up or down by himself and it strained my back to lift him. We are both very happy with our new DoggoRamp!"

There’s no doubt that dog ramps create a safer and more comfortable home environment for big dogs.

Using well-designed indoor ramps can help large breeds prone to joint issues reduce the amount of strain they put on their joints, protect your joints, help prevent jumping-related injuries, and more!

To learn more about choosing the perfect dog ramp for your big pup, check out:

Happy Ramping!

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