How to Choose the Right Dog Ramp for Your Dog

Choosing the Right Dog Ramp for Your Dog - 6 Factors to Consider

With such a wide variety of options on the market, choosing the best indoor dog ramp for your pup may not always feel straightforward or easy. 

As a pet parent, it’s only natural to want to evaluate different dog ramp designs so you can pick out the ramp that will truly create a safer living environment for your dog at home.

While checking the weight a ramp can hold is an essential starting point for choosing the right ramp for your dog, it’s also important to investigate whether the ramp’s features will make it easy and enjoyable for your dog to use.

Afterall, a dog ramp that is easy and enjoyable to use is more likely to be used consistently and play a bigger role in protecting your dog’s back and joints from jumping-related injuries. 

So if you find yourself wondering how to choose the correct indoor ramp for your small, medium, or large breed, here are 6 important factors to consider when picking out the right dog ramp for your pup.

1. Dog Ramp Length and Slope

One of the first dog ramp features you want to look at is the length of a ramp in comparison to the height of your couch or bed. Of course, it’s necessary to make sure that the dog ramp will fit in your space. However, it’s also crucial to acknowledge that a ramp that’s too short and steep will be too challenging for your dog to use and will continue to put strain on their back and joints. 

While a shorter ramp may be able to provide a more gradual incline to a lower hangout spot, such as a couch, a longer ramp is a better option for higher surfaces, such as tall beds. The additional length from a longer ramp will give your pup a lower and easier incline to navigate.

Low Incline Design Dog Ramp - DoggoRamps Large Bed Ramp

For Mo, finding a bed ramp with a gentle incline for her 2 small dogs was a necessity - especially since her 14-year-old pup has arthritis. After being introduced to the DoggoRamps Large Bed Ramp, which features a low-incline design, both her dogs learned how to use their ramp in no time. Mo shares that it's the "best thing [she] ever bought for [her] dogs"!

Should you want to provide your dog with an even gentler incline, it's also helpful to keep in mind that the top of a ramp doesn’t need to be set flush to the top of your couch or bed. It’s perfectly natural for the end of a ramp to be set a few inches lower so that your dog can take one small step up to or down from their hangout spot. Just take a look below:

DoggoRamps Dog Ramp Set Up Tip: Setting the dog ramp a couple of inches lower than the couch

2. Dog Ramp Width

When choosing the right pet ramp for your dog, it’s important to consider the ramp’s width as well. A ramp that is too narrow may make it difficult for a dog to maneuver their body - especially if they’re required to turn in order to get off or on their ramp. 

Overall, the platform on a dog ramp should be at least a few inches wider than the widest part of your dog (typically the shoulders or hips):

  • Small breeds, such as Miniature Dachshunds, Yorkies, and Chihuahuas, usually need a ramp that is a minimum of 11” wide.
  • Should a smaller ramp, such as the DoggoRamps Couch Ramp, be required to reach a lower hangout spot, larger breeds can do well with platforms that are 14”-17” wide as they will only need to take a couple of steps on their ramp to get to where they want to go.
  • On the other hand, if a larger dog will be using a ramp to reach a higher surface and will be required to turn their body when getting off or on, a wider platform will be a better fit.

Special consideration should also be given to smaller dogs with sturdy or long bodies, such as French Bulldogs and Corgis. Both breeds tend to need extra room to move or turn their bodies and will benefit from extra width on a dog ramp.

Corgi walking up the DoggoRamps Large Bed Ramp for Dogs to reach his bed

The additional width on the DoggoRamps Large Bed Ramp compared to the DoggoRamps Small Bed Ramp gives Corgis Doby and Blue ample room to maneuver their long bodies.  

Last but not least, should you have two or more smaller dogs that prefer doing things together, a wider platform will make it possible for more than one pup to use the ramp at the same time. 

8 Dachshunds and a Siamese Cat sharing the DoggoRamps Large Bed Ramp

The Weens (yunabugs) are all experts when it comes to sharing their DoggoRamps Large Bed Ramp.

3. Anti-Slip Grip Surfaces

Finding an indoor ramp with a durable non-slip surface is absolutely essential as the last thing any pet owner wants is to have their dog slip on a device that is supposed to help keep them safe.

Many different materials are currently used to provide dogs with better traction while using a ramp. It’s possible to find dog ramps with carpeted surfaces, ridges, artificial grass, rubber mats, and more.

At first glance, it may seem like all of these materials should improve traction on a ramp. However, on an incline, carpets tend to be too slick for the majority of dogs - even when ridges are added to stop any potential skids. Artificial turf, which is made up of a series of synthetic fibers attached to a backing, produces a similar result to carpeting.

By far, rubber mats provide the best traction on a ramp - especially those with a tactile pattern as the texture helps increase friction and grip.

A longhaired Dachshund with a non-slip dog ramp

After setting up his Dachshund's new couch ramp, this Doxie's paw-rent wrote: "the best part is the rubber-like ramp that gives my dog the grip he needs to confidently go up and down the ramp without sliding."

It’s also worthwhile to consider the thickness and quality of the material being used to cover the surface of your dog’s ramp as materials that are too thin can be quickly punctured and damaged by a dog’s nails. 

A cream-coated Dachshund stands on her DoggoRamps non-slip dog ramp

Lucy the Doxie gives us a closer look at the rubbery and textured anti-slip PAWGRIP which covers the surface of all DoggoRamps.

4. Choosing a Sturdy Dog Ramp

Similar to ramp surfaces, dog ramps themselves can be made from a variety of materials. Nowadays, you can find ramps made out of plastic, aluminum, softwood/pine, solid hardwood, and more.

However, it's important to keep in mind that even if a dog is below a ramp’s weight limit, depending on the material and the design, a ramp can still shift and wobble while being used. This type of situation is not ideal, as dogs are less likely to use devices that feel unstable or insecure. 

Out of all the various options, solid hardwood dog ramps provide the best sturdiness and stability for all dogs. Ramps made from this durable and strong material not only tend to feel like a proper piece of furniture, but can also be reliably used by dogs whether they’re walking on their ramp or applying a bit of extra force from a quicker step. 

Sturdy Dog Ramp - DoggoRamps Large Bed Ramp

After introducing her senior dog to the DoggoRamps Large Bed Ramp (crafted from solid hardwood), this pup's owner reported: "It is well built, sturdy, high quality and beautiful. My dog is 13 and I decided to buy this ramp to keep him from jumping from the bed. Now he likes to run up the ramp to go on the bed."

5. Additional Dog Ramp Safety Features

From experience, we know that many pet owners introduce their dogs to a ramp in order to help protect their backs and joints AND to have peace of mind that their pups can be safe at home. 

If your pup’s wellbeing is top-of-mind, it’s possible to find dog ramps with additional features that will encourage your dog to safely and consistently use their ramp:

Safety Rails

While there are many training exercises you can work through with your pup to help turn choosing their ramp into a consistent habit, if a ramp is intended to help your pup get to and from a higher surface, such as a tall bed, it could be beneficial to choose a ramp with safety rails.

Safety Rails help block off any potential jumping shortcuts and come in handy on larger and longer ramps where dogs have to take more than a few steps on their ramp.

American Bulldog walking down is bed ramp for large dogs with safety rails

Tazer's Hooman's favorite features on the DoggoRamps Large Bed Ramp are the removable and reversible safety rails. Paula wrote: "I love that it has a rail because looking at ramps from other places, they didn't have rails and I was afraid if he decided to jump, he would go over the side of the ramp and get hurt."

Anchor Rope Systems

If you’re looking for a compact and lightweight dog ramp, it’s worthwhile to also look into what features have been incorporated into the design to help stabilize the ramp.

For lower heights, a wider ramp crafted out of a strong, sturdy material, such as solid hardwood, will often do the trick. For lightweight ramps designed to reach taller surfaces, an additional anchor rope system (that secures the ramp to the bed) will provide extra security and stability. 

Two Corgis use their DoggoRamps Small Bed Ramp to reach their bed

Before coming across the DoggoRamps Small Bed Ramp, which is made from solid hardwood and includes an anchor rope system, Wesly and Brady's paw-rent hadn't yet found a ramp that was compact enough for their small bedroom but also tall enough for their bed. Christina shared: "We have a really high bedroom set - and have tried at least 6 different steps and ramps before getting DoggoRamps. Nothing seemed to fit the right height of our bed or was sturdy enough where it wouldn't fall over." Fortunately, the DoggoRamps Small Bed Ramp ended up being the perfect fit!

DoggoRamps Anchor Rope System for extra safety and stability

 The DoggoRamps Small Bed Ramp Anchor Rope System

6. Picking a Dog Ramp that Matches Your Lifestyle

One final factor you may want to consider before choosing an indoor ramp for your dog is how well the ramp will fit with your lifestyle. If you enjoy taking your pooch on adventures, you may want to opt for a dog ramp that is lightweight, foldable, and has multiple height settings so it can work with a wide range of couches and beds. Afterall, we’ve noticed that it’s becoming increasingly common for pet owners to take their dogs and ramps on holiday too!

A Dachshund walks down her bed ramp for dogs in an RV

When heading on an adventure, Daphne the Dachshund's bed ramp fits inside of an RV.

A Dachshund and a Chihuahua sit on a hotel bed with their portable dog ramp beside them,

Coco and Tinkerbelle use their DoggoRamps Couch Ramp to conveniently access their hotel room bed.

And if your pups are unable to tag along on your next getaway, their ramp can just as easily transported and set up at their sitter’s for the duration of their stay.

A Basset Hound lounges on the couch with his dog ramp in front of him.

Thanks to his couch ramp, there's no doubt that IVDD Survivor Rutherford the Basset is enjoying the best seat in the house! When he visits his sitter, his ramp folds up to go with him as well.

Here at DoggoRamps, we are proud to offer the highest-quality dog ramps on the market and have fully taken into consideration the 6 ramp design factors outlined in this guide.

All of our indoor ramps:

  • Are crafted out furniture-grade solid maple hardwood
  • Feature our soft yet rubbery anti-slip PAWGRIP for incredible traction
  • Can be adjusted for virtually all couches and beds
  • Fold flat for easy storage and transportation

Our bed ramps also have a long, low-incline design and removable safety rails to ensure that they're easy and safe for dogs to use when set up against a taller bed.

Canine Journal, a trusted pet resource, reviewed our ramps and included us in their list of the best dog ramps as well.

To find out which dog ramp would be the perfect fit for your pup and setup, check out:

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a space-efficient solution - especially if your dog doesn’t need a full-fledged ramp - make sure to take a look at the NEW DoggoRamps StepRamp, which supports up to 200lbs.

Happy Ramping!

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