When my beloved Albie was still with me, I realise a problem he had with tall areas when he was a puppy. My solution was to carry him everywhere, be it to the high bed or the SUV that I am driving. This lead to think about what happens to dog owners who have large dogs who couldn’t jump anymore or dogs with jolt problems. How do they get their dogs to reach the high areas? Turns out there is a product in the market that is commonly used to solve this problem. Dog ramps!
You might think that buying a dog ramp is just a pick up and go affair but it turns out that there is a lot to look for out. For example, the weight of the dog plays an important part what dog ramp to buy. The best dog ramp for a small dog is different from the best dog ramp for a large one.
I did a lot of research and came up with the following recommendations for my fellow dog owners:
Best swimming pool ramp for dogs
Believe me when I said there is no one single swimming pool ramp that is worth your money. I have read through all the Amazon reviews on poolside ramps for dogs but all of them sucked! Why? All of their material are made of slippery plastic that dogs cannot get a grip on. If your pet is drowning, rest assure that adding one of these swimming pool ramp ain’t gonna save its life!
So what is the best alternative? The only one that I think has a reasonable chance of working is this swimming pool steps for steps by Paws Aboard, which also makes excellent dog life jackets. These steps need to be drill into the sides of your swimming pool but because of that, they were rather stable.
One thing good about these steps, relative to the ramps, is their grip. Made of anti-slip materials, it provides a much needed support for dogs who fell into the water or need to get on to the land.
This particular model is for small dogs, preferably with short legs. I think this is a design flaw as the steps are too narrow for small dogs with normal length legs. Fortunately, you can remedy the flaw by buying two of these and laying them side by side. Doing so will increase the space that your dog can work with which makes it much easier for them.
There are 2 sizes associated with this swimming pool steps. The one shown above is the smaller version. There is a bigger version that is more suited for mid size dogs. The picture to the right can let you compare how these 2 sizes look relative to each other. The larger version is longer and wider so there is more room for the larger dogs to climb aboard.
The price of these steps make them quite attractive compared to full set of real stairs. Those will cost you probably in the range of a few hundreds while this Paws Aboard step is only about USD150+.
If you are concern about your dog falling in water and drowning, having these will help to alleviate your concerns.
Best dog ramp for SUV
Mr. Herzher’s smart dog ramp stands out from the rest when it comes to being the best dog ramp. The safety feature on this ramp is head and shoulders above the rest. If you are a dog lover, you will want your pet to be secure in their using of the ramp and this is what Mr Herzher’s product can provide. Specifically, these are what sold me as a believer:
- Sturdy: It wouldn’t wobble like those poorly made ones which can really frighten a dog and cause them not to use the dog ramps at all.
- Covered edges: The extra protection is a nice safety addition that dog owners will appreciate.
- Non slip surface: If you are looking for the best non slip dog ramp, this product is a strong candidate. The surface is like sandpaper and ensure your dog will not slip while it is on the ramp.
- Easy to carry: The side rails function as a handle so carrying it around becomes easy. It does not hurt that Mr Herzher’s smart ramp is light weight so you can haul it around with ease.
- No marring of car surface: The ramp has no sharp edges so there is nothing to scratch the car bumper.
- Can support 100 pounds dog: Even if your dog weighs 100 pounds, the ramp will be able to support it with ease. Don’t take this from me. There are many big dog owners who have given their reviews on Amazon saying this thing works.
- Space saving: This dog ramp can be retracted and be stored easily at the back of your car seat.
Overall, this is one of the best dog ramp in the market. Having said that, no product is ever perfect and here some flaws but they are not deal breakers:
- Can be be a bit longer: Eventually, I think safety is more important than the length so I voted Mr Herzher as the best dog ramp even there are other longer ramps in the market.
- Nothing I can think of: I really try to find another flaw but this product is so well made that there are hardly any negative reviews. For those that give it a 1 or 2 star ratings, it is always because the dog is too scared to use it. This can be overcome if you used the guide below.
Best indoor dog ramp for bed or couch
Mr Herzher’s smart ramp is great for used in areas with a bit of a height like an SUV or stairs. However, for smaller areas such as the living room or the bedroom, you might to consider getting an indoor dog ramp that is lighter and cheaper.
The top rated indoor dog ramp I can find Pet Studio’s Convertible dog ramp.
The Pet Studio dog ramp has a couple of really neat innovation that are not seen in other indoor dog ramps. My favorite has to be the ability to convert from steps to a ramp. For dogs who are having problems in their joints, the ramp will help them significantly when they are climbing onto your bed or sofa.
Another thing I like is its deep and wide stair threads. I don’t there is any other products other there with similar dimensions. Dogs will find it comfortable to climb these stairs, even if for an elderly arthritic dog.
For homes with limited space, this space saving dog ramp design allows you to easily fold it and store it under the bed or couch. I love it! It is perfect for my small apartment and doesn’t clutter the place.
Flaws? Well, not that I can read or see. Pet owners who bought it just love this product. I think you will too. If my Albie is still around, I will have gotten this for me. NO question asked.
Training your dog to use a ramp
One common complaint I saw on reviews and forums is that the dogs do not want to use the ramp. I don’t think that is the fault of the product. Rather, our dogs just need to be train on using it so that they can benefit from the usage. Here is a simple dog ramp training guide to help you get started. If you have more tips, please leave them in the comment for other dog owners
Step #1: Get your dog to use it on a flat surface
The easiest way to start is to lay the ramp on ground and train your dog to walk on it. Prepare some treat for them for they complete the walk. Do NOT allow them to jump off the side. Make that a big No No. If your dog jumped off, either refuse them a treat or scold them. Make sure they understand they must walk on the ramp ONLY.
Step #2: Raise the ramp by a little
Once your dog is comfortable walking on the ramp and staying on it, raise it by a small height. Again, prepare some treats if your dog is successfully.
Step #3: Do the real thing
If your dog is now no longer jumping off the ramp, prepare them for the real thing. Due to the height, the first time might present some problems. I suggest using a lease and gently guide him along. Also, the coming down will be the more scary thing so use some treats as well as the lease to walk it through the process. Do this a few times until your dog is 100% confident. Note that you still must ensure they will not jump off the ramp.
More tips on training your dog to use the dog ramp
Besides the 1-2-3 steps above, here are what other dog owners have suggested:
- Start them young. Do not wait until they have weak joints because they might not have the confidence to do it by then. If your dog has been using dog ramps since young, it should present no problem when they really need to use it.
- No forcing. Let your dogs take their time. Once they develop a hatred or fear the dog ramp, it will be impossible to make them use it again.
- Use its favorite chair as motivation. One trick I picked up from a clever dog owner was to use the ramp on the dog’s favorite chair. This usually can get them to use the ramp pretty fast and willingly.