At Canine Weekly, we regularly review the best products around for our canine friends, but we are also partial to learning how to build things for our dogs with our own hands. And this post focuses on DIY Dog Ramp, a complete guide to build your dog ramp.
Dog ramps can be very useful for senior dogs, dogs recovering from injury or illness, or for large breed puppies who want to avoid using stairs. However, as a specialty product, they can often be expensive – more so than is justified in many cases. This is why I have done my research to provide readers with lots of choices for building a DIY dog ramp – that doesn’t cost the earth.
I will explain the best materials and tools to use and include some handy tips to make the venture as straightforward as possible. I will also link to a few highly-rated dog ramps for those who simply don’t have the time or the inclination to do it themselves.
Benefits of Building Your own Dog Ramp
At Canine Weekly, we understand that the cost of dog ownership can be immense, and this is why we regularly feature budget-buy picks, DIY guides, and home remedy articles. Previous to now, I have looked at the best plans for DIY dog houses, and we’ve also shown the best ways to build a large dog house.
I have looked into commercial dog steps and stairs before, so if you don’t feel that building a dog ramp is something you could do, then you can head to that link to check out our favorite steps and stairs. For those who do feel that this venture is for them, then here are a few benefits of doing this yourself:
- It’s Cheaper
Building a dog ramp yourself can be as low-cost as you want it to be. You could even use leftover materials around the yard or garage or source some scrap wood from a timberyard. Buying a dog ramp is certainly going to set you back a lot more than the cost of the materials to make one yourself.
- It’s Bespoke
Even if you’re not the best DIYer in the world, you will likely have a picture in your mind of how you want your dog ramp to look. It may be the case that you have steps of a curved design or lower – or higher – than standard. It could also be that your vehicle is more of an off-grid motor that doesn’t have a standard trunk height.
Of you may have a home of beautiful architecture where a store-bought ramp would ruin the aesthetics. If you want a ramp for inside the house, then buying off the shelf may not be a perfect fit, but when you create a ramp yourself, it will look exactly how you want it to.
- Self Satisfaction
Now, this, you can’t put a price on. The feeling of constructing something from your own two hands is one of great self-satisfaction. You could be the talk of the neighborhood with your bespoke DIY dog ramp, and you never know if this could progress to a new hobby or even a business venture.
Does My Dog Really Need a Ramp?
It is sensible to be dubious about pet products that are advertised as necessities. Many of them simply aren’t. The pet product industry in the US is worth a staggering $99 billion! So many of these products will be gimmicks or clothing items that are just not needed – we spent $490 million on pet Halloween costumes in 2019, for example!
But, when it comes to dog ramps, these can be essential items, and here’s why:
- Senior Dogs
Older dogs struggle with activities they once never thought twice about. Senior dog’s limbs become much weaker, and they can have balance issues in addition. The dog may still attempt to jump onto or off a piece of furniture but misjudge this, which will lead to injury.
An older dog with a broken limb or hip can be a terribly distressing event that could even become a fatal event. A ramp will prevent this.
- Large Breeds
It is recommended for large breeds never to walk up, or downstairs, or to jump. Large breed dogs are highly prone to Hip Dysplasia, and large-sized breed puppies can heighten the likelihood of succumbing to this disease if they use stairs repeatedly from a young age.
Given the weight and size of a larger breed, lifting and carrying them may not be an option, so a ramp would be necessary.
- Smaller Breeds
Conversely, smaller breeds can also find stairs and jumps challenging, especially for breeds with long bodies and short legs, such as Corgis or Dachshunds. Your smaller dog wouldn’t have to struggle to get into the car or up on the couch if they had a ramp.
- Medical Conditions
If you have a dog with Osteoarthritis or Arthritis, then providing them with a ramp will make their life easier. A dog who has mobility issues may be in some degree of pain all day and all night.
He will soon learn that climbing stairs increases this pain, so start to avoid this and limit himself to a one-level area. Or, it could be that he ignores the pain in order to mix with the family and make his medical condition worse. A ramp will mean he can be with his loved ones without having to pay the price of pain for it.
My DIY Guide to Building a Dog Ramp
There are a few things to consider before attempting to build a DIY dog ramp. These are primarily the size and weight of your dog, the area the ramp will be used, and what materials you will need.
A dog ramp can be a pretty basic construction, using a simple piece of plywood, a sheet of leftover carpet (or carpet square, or sample, from a DIY store: these will be free or have minimal fees), and adhesive rubber feet. This basic model below costs just over $20 and will be perfectly adequate.
You may need to hire or buy some electric tools, such as a circular saw and a sander. But, most other tools you will likely have around the home, and include:
- Tape measure
- Chop saw
I have a basic tried and tested module for a very easy build. But, don’t worry, I have linked to some grander guides further down the page!
Step One: Measure and Cut the Wood
You can use any kind of wood you like, plywood is the cheapest, but there are sturdier options out there. Cut and measure the wood, so it will be the correct width to fit a door entry and long enough to remain relatively low to the floor.
The top leading edge should be sawed to around 25 degrees to result in a clean look and level finish once the wood is cut to size, sand to remove any sharp edges and splinters.
Top Tip: If you don’t have an electric sander and don’t wish to invest in one, sanding paper is fine.
Step Two: Measure and Cut the Threshold
The brass threshold will serve as the lip which anchors the ramp to the raised step and ensures that it remains in place. The edges of this will be razor-sharp once cut, so it is essential to sand them down well.
Step Three: Cut and Stick the Carpet
It is best to choose a carpet piece or tile that is highly durable; one that is stain and fade-resistant would be ideal. Cut the carpet to the measurements of your wooden plank, and then you can secure it in place with nails or carpet glue.
Many carpet tiles are self-adhesive, but I would always provide a bit more security just to be on the safe side. At this stage, you can also fix the rubber feet to the lower edges.
Step Four: Secure the Ramp
Put the ramp in position and secure it further by gluing or nailing down the brass threshold to the top of the stairs. If you want to use a ramp to enable a dog to get in and out of a vehicle, then follow these steps bar the final stage, and then you have a portable DIY dog ramp.
Fancy Something a Little Fancier? Check Out These DIY Dog Ramp Guides
Here are some of the best DIY dog ramp guides I have found on the web.
#1. This Old House
This Old House has provided a pretty straightforward DIY dog ramp guide for a ramp made from wood and carpet. It is a simple concept but requires an advanced skill level.
- Skill Level: Medium – Advanced
- Materials: Non- Slip Rug, Box Hinge Hardware, Wood – Plywood
- Tools Needed- Drill (and Drill Bit – 3/8-inch), Jigsaw, Adjustable Wrench, Putty Knife, Paintbrush, Screwdriver
#2. Instructables Living
Instructables Living has a straightforward guide to creating a low-cost portable DIY dog ramp – that requires little-to-no DIY skills! There is a great step-by-step guide with pictures and a downloadable PDF. All that is needed to purchase is some wire shelves.
- Skill Level: Basic
- Materials: Wire Shelves, Rubber Ends, Zip Ties, Carpet Piece
- Tools Needed: Awe
#3. Fox and Brie
For another budget-friendly DIY dog ramp, check out this guide by Fox and Brie. For less than 2-hours of your time and less than $40 of your money, this is a great project that results in a pretty attractive-looking dog ramp.
- Skill Level: Medium
- Materials: Wood, Carpet, Paint (Waterproof)
- Tools Needed: Power Saw, Electric Screwdriver, Carpet Glue, Tape Measure, Paint and Brush
#4. Irresistible Pets
For a dog ramp to help dogs get onto high furniture within the home, Irresistible Pets have created this guide to an indoor DIY dog ramp. There are easy-to-follow instructions, and the finished article looks stunning.
- Skill Level: Medium to Advanced
- Materials: Plywood, Wood, Carpet
- Tools Needed: Power Drill, Circular Saw, Sander or Sandpaper, Tape Measure, Carpet Glue.
#5. Family HandyMan
Here is a step-by-step guide and a video tutorial by Family HandyMan on how to build a dog ramp. This dog ramp is collapsible for easy storage and costs less than $50 to make.
- Skill Level: Advanced
- Materials: Wood; Lumber and Plywood, Carpet, Continuous Hinge, Stables, Nuts, Screws and Washers.
- Tools Needed: Drill, Jigsaw, Miter Saw, Clamps, Staple Gun, Wrench.
Building a DIY dog ramp can be a very simple and very worthwhile project. It can certainly save a large sum of money and provide a better quality of life for your dog. We want to help our dogs with mobility issues in every way we can, whether it be with supplements, specialized food, or a DIY ramp!
Forrest is a lover of dogs, the wild outdoors, deep mysterious conversations… and coffee. He is the owner of several websites, including Canine Weekly. He resides in Austin, Texas.