Buying Guide for Dog Ramps
Last Updated April 2019
No matter how active your dog may be, at some point in his or her life, it will need some assistance with moving around. This is why it is important to learn how to pick the right dog ramp to buy for our dogs.
What Is a Dog Ramp?
A dog ramp is used to help facilitate movement to and from an elevated position. For example, your dog may need help getting into the back of an SUV or pickup truck. At home, your dog may need help getting up on your bed, sofa, couch or stairs. The whole point of a dog ramp is to help the dog get from point A to point B, and stay as comfortable as possible.
Dog ramps are particularly helpful for dogs who have conditions such as canine arthritis, hip dysplasia, and osteoarthritis, for example. When a dog has to jump off of an elevated platform, undue pressure placed on the joints can further increase the chances of the dog getting cartilage and articular damage. This is why a dog ramp is so important to dogs with these conditions.
This goes the same for dogs that are ill. When a dog is sick, their energy levels drop, and they may not feel like moving around at all. The bones of senior dogs tend to be particularly fragile. On the opposite end of the spectrum, puppies don’t have the strength to jump onto high places.
Considerations When Selecting a Dog Ramp
Selecting the right ramp for your dog is a relatively easy task. Here are a few things to consider when selecting the right dog ramp.
The ramp’s purpose
There are different types of ramps that may be categorized by their purpose. Some are intended to allow specific access to different places in your home, such as those who give access to beds, couches or sofas. There are also ramps that are specifically designed to cover several flights of stairs. Of course, there are also ramps that are designed specifically for vehicles.
Fixed, folding or telescopic?
If a ramp is folding or telescopic, this is great because they can easily be stored away when they are not needed. Telescopic ramps are nice because the length can be extended by simply sliding one panel over the other. Although folding sounds nice, there is more work involved. The only drawback of a telescoping ramp is that it is usually more expensive.
The lightest ramps out there may weigh up to 1.6 pounds, where the heaviest is around 18 pounds. The weight of the ramp is fairly important, because you wouldn’t want to strain yourself, trying to help out your dog. Striking a balance between portability, strength, and durability is key.
The structural soundness of the ramp can be found in its weight. Ramps that are heavier tend to have a more solid construction. With that being said, just because a ramp is lightweight, this doesn’t mean that it is structurally inadequate. Wood ramps tend to be pricey, and is subject to the effects of the weather.
Steel or metal seems to be very heavy. Aluminum can make it light. Vinyl ramps are durable, yet lightweight. However, the best way to judge a ramp’s sturdiness is its maximum weight rating.
Safety is an obvious consideration when it comes to purchasing the right dog ramp. The platform should be nice and stable. This means that you have to look for small details. One example includes having rubber stabilizers at both ends of the ramp. If the ramp is folding, then you need to be sure it has a locking mechanism that locks the sliding panel into place. Side railings, guard rails and reflective strips are also helpful.
Have you ever tried moving up or down a ramp yourself? You may feel like you are losing grip on your feet. If there is no traction underneath our feet, there is a more likely chance for a fall. The same goes for dogs. As they are climbing up and down an incline, their paws must feel secure on the surface. There should be some texture on the ramp to make the dog feel secure.
The length of the ramp can have a bearing on the incline of the ramp. A longer ramp provides a gentler slope or incline. Ideally, the incline of the ramp shouldn’t be more than 25%. Dogs that are sick or have joint problems will need more effort to trek a steeper incline.
In addition to this, the ramp’s length will also affect the amount of space that you have at home. Should the ramp be for indoor use, you should consider how much available space is going to be on the landing floor.
Dog Ramp Safety Tips
A dog ramp must be as safe as it is effective. Here are some safety tips for using a dog ramp.
Train Your Dog
If your dog doesn’t know how to walk up and down the ramp, there is more of a risk of a fall or injury. This is why it is a good idea to train your dog on how to use the ramp, so that he can walk the ramp with confidence.
On stable ground
Make sure that the ground where the ramp will be placed is both firm and level. This helps to make sure that it won’t move around when you are using it.
Your dog may be tempted to jump off of the elevated platform instead of walking up or down the ramp. This is why training is so important. However it is equally important that you supervise your dog so that your dog knows you will always be there for him or her.