With the DIY ramp for your canine, you will also want to pay special attention to the steps’ height and depth. Most pet stairs have an elevation between 6.5 and 7.5 centimetres.
If your dog’s legs are long, he will be able to handle the taller steps more easily. Pet stairs are also usually between 10 and 12 centimetres in depth. Remember, a nervous pup will prefer measures with higher intensity.
For a ramp, you will need to decide how long of a ramp you need. Keep in mind that you want a gentle slope. An 18-degree incline easy, while a 25-degree slope is already a bit difficult.
The DIY Ramp to calculate the length
The DIY ramp to calculate the length of ramp you need, first measure how high the object is that you will use the ramp.
- If you would like an easy, 18-degree incline Multiply by 3.2
- For a comfortable, 20-degree slope Multiply by 2.9.
- Multiply by 2.7 for a 22-degree incline, appropriate for medium or large dogs.
- To determine the shortest ramp possible (with a 25-degree incline). Multiply by 2.3.
This resulting number is the length of the ramp that you will need—those mathematically curious. We have just multiplied the cosecant of the angle by the height of the triangle to find the hypotenuse. Who knew geometry would come in handy?
You will also want to double-check that you have enough floor space for your ramp. Working with small angles (between 18 and 25 degrees) and low (probably less than 2 feet), the floor space that the ramp use is slightly less, but approximately the same length as the slope itself.
For example, my couch is 18 inches (or 1½ feet) off the ground. If I want to give my toy Yorkie a nice, gentle incline of 18 degrees, my calculations are: 18 x 3.2 = 57.6
I will need a ramp at least 58 inches (or 4 feet 9 inches) long. I’ll also want to make sure that I have about 58 inches of free space in front of my couch to place the ramp.
Best Pet Ramps and Stairs
Now you know the basics of what to look for in pet ramps and stairs, here are a few of our favourites. We recommend five pet stairs, three pet DIY ramps, and 1 product that combines the best of both.
DIY Pet Ramp
1. This DIY dog ramp from Instructables is as simple and easy as it gets (and cheap too)! This ramp doesn’t require sawing, drilling, or any woodshop skill whatsoever. It’s just a matter of purchasing some cheap wire shelves, an outdoor carpet, and a little bit of MacGyver-ing magic.
Skill Level: Easy
Materials: Wire Shelving from Home Depot (+Rubber Ends) / Zip Ties / Outdoor Carpet
Tools Needed: Awe
2. Here’s another fairly simple DIY dog ramp from Fox & Brie. This was created for less than $40, and it looks fantastic! This is a great project for someone who has a few power tools lying around but isn’t a pro.
Skill Level: Medium
Materials: Wood / Outdoor Carpeting / Waterproof Paint
Tools Needed: Outdoor Carpet Glue / Power Screwdriver / Power Saw / Tape Measure / Paint Brush
If none of these options suits your needs (and you’re a little handy), you may want to make your ramp. That way, you will be able to make something that (literally) fits your precise situation. Follow the link above to find our article on DIY ramp for your canine.
3. This dog DIY ramp for your canine project comes from Irresistible Pets. This design is specifically for indoor use and is intended to help a dog get up onto a higher surface like a bed or couch.
Skill Level: Medium / Advanced
Materials: Wood / Plywood / Carpet
Tools Needed: Circular Saw / Power Drill / Sand Paper / Tape Measure / Carpet Tape
Advice About Helping Pets Adjust to Pet Stairs
Some dogs can be nervous about using pet ramps, and it’s important to let them slowly adjust to the new ramp or steps. Here’s how you can help your dog improve to doggy steps:
1. Start with the collapsed ramp (when applicable). Have your dog walk back and forth across the collapsed ramp on the floor, encouraging them with treats.
2. Use the dog steps or ramp with an object at a small height, like a low chair. Use treats to entice the dog to walk up and down the steps.
3. Extend the dog steps or ramp to full length and use it for the height you desire. Hopefully, by now, your dog is used to the steps or ramp enough not to be afraid. Don’t forget to continue using treats for a while and to offer lots of praise and encouragement!
Why Pet Stairs Are a Smart Choice
Many owners don’t realize that encouraging dogs to jump up and walk on their hind legs can have adverse arthritic effects as a dog’s age.
It’s essential always to encourage healthy joint activity, no matter what the age of your dog. It is why pet steps are a great idea, even if your dog can currently get around without them. Preventive measures pay off!
For other ways to help senior canines, check out our post detailing the best dog beds for old dogs.
Have you ever bought pet stairs or a pet ramp? Did you choose stairs or a ramp? What do you like and dislike about the product you purchased? Let us know in the comments below!