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Best Pet Stairs & Ramps to Help Your Dog Around the House

Pet stairs and ramps are just the thing when your dog is having a tough time getting around.

While pet stairs are often a great help to older dogs, they’re also a smart option for ensuring that even young pets age gracefully, as canine stairs help avoid putting any unnecessary strain on joints that might deteriorate later with arthritis.

Even your puppy could benefit from pet steps or a ramp since his still-developing body is particularly susceptible to injury.

Today we’re detailing the best pet stairs and ramps for dogs, helping your canine friend get around easier and maintaining healthy joints. But first, we will look at what factors you might want to consider when buying a pet ramp or stairs, and which is better for your situation.

Pet Ramp vs. Pet Stairs

Whether you decide to opt for a pet ramp or pet stairs depends largely on the needs of you and your pet.

Many owners prefer pet stairs because they take up less space; this means they can fit even in small spaces and will not be cumbersome if left out in your bedroom or living room. Stairs are, additionally, usually easier to move around.

On the other hand, ramps are often sturdier than stairs. They’re also easier on the joints of arthritic dogs and are the best option for small breeds who may struggle even with small steps.

Consider also what your pup is able to adapt to. Dogs who have only ever lived in a single story home may not take to stairs easily. Getting up and down a set of stairs is not as intuitive as it may seem and makes many dogs nervous (so I learned after painstakingly bribing my sister’s shaking hound pup with treats to come down the front steps). Still, even using a ramp may take patient training.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Pet Ramp or Pet Stairs

Whether you are buying a pet ramp or pet stairs, you will want to pay attention to the following:

  • Material. Stairs are made out of many different materials, from something sturdy, like wood or metal, to foam. Foam stairs may be more comfortable for arthritic dogs, but make sure that they are able to sustain his weight. Ramps are also made from a variety of materials; if made from something slippery like metal, make sure it is surfaced in something that will prevent your dog from falling.
  • Grip. Steps or ramps that slide around on the floor are a safety hazard for your pooch. Especially if you will be using the product on a sleek floor, make sure that you buy something that has non-skid feet or non-skid material on the bottom.
  • Storage. Where do you need to use your ramp or stairs? Can you easily move it out of the way? You don’t want to get something clunky that you will feel like throwing out the window after a week.
  • Width. As a general rule of thumb, toy pups need about 12 inches of width, while large dogs need about 24. That said, if your pup is nervous about heights, you may want to get a ramp or stairs that are even wider. This will make him feel more secure as he makes his way up to the couch, bed, or car.

For stairs, you will also want to pay special attention to the height and depth of the steps. Most pet stairs have a height between 6.5 and 7.5 centimeters.

If your dog’s legs are long, he will more easily be able to handle the taller steps. Pet stairs are also usually between 10 and 12 centimeters in depth. Remember, a nervous pup will prefer steps with greater depth.

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 slope is considered easy, while a 25-degree slope is already a bit difficult.

To calculate the length of ramp you need, first measure the how high the object is that you will use the ramp with. Then…

  • Multiply by 3.2 if you would like an easy, 18-degree incline.
  • Multiply by 2.9 for a comfortable, 20-degree incline.
  • Multiply by 2.7 for a 22-degree incline, appropriate for medium or large dogs.
  • Multiply by 2.3 to determine the shortest ramp possible (with a 25-degree incline).

This resulting number is the length of the ramp that you will need. (For 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. Because we are working with small angles (between 18 and 25 degrees) and low heights (probably less than 2 feet), the floor space the ramp takes up with be slightly less than, but approximately the same as, the length of the ramp 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, these are my calculations:

18 x 3.2 = 57.6

I will need a ramp that is 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 available in front of my couch to place the ramp.

Best Pet Ramps and Stairs

Now that you know the basics of what to look for in pet ramps and stairs, here are a few of our favorites. We recommend 5 pet stairs, 3 pet ramps, and 1 product which combine the best of both.

Top Pet Stairs

1. Solvit PupSTEPS Pet Stairs

Description: The Solvit PupSTEPS stand out for being both sturdy and affordable. Weighing just 9 pounds, these steps are made of durable plastic that can hold up to 200 pounds.

They clear just over 2 feet, making these steps perfect for helping your pup get onto a high bed. There are 4 steps in total, each 7 inches deep, 16 inches wide, 6.25 inches tall, and covered by a thin carpet that will help your dog walk steadily up the steps.

The raised edges of the steps and the non-skid feet are a great feature, helping even nervous dogs feel secure. The back legs of the stairs fold in for easy storage.

This product is designed for medium and large dogs. If you need steps for your smaller pup, or just need something a little less tall, you could opt for the Solvit PupSTEPS Plus Pet Stairs, which stand 19.5 inches tall and are designed for a small or medium-sized dog.

PROS: Most pets learned how to use these steps very quickly and felt steady on them. Owners loved that these steps are easy to assemble and can be used in a variety of situations – from getting into bed to climbing into the back of a truck. They are the right height and the right price.

CONS: Some owners felt that the non-skid pads on the bottoms of the feet were not enough to keep these stairs in place on a slick floor. In this case, a carpet can be put under the steps for added stability. Other owners mentioned that the friction carpet only the top of the step, meaning their dog could still slip off the back of the step.

2. Crown Pet Products Carpeted Pet Steps with Storage

Description: The Crown Pet Products Pet Steps are a bit on the expensive side, but they may be the most stylish and functional option on the market.

The steps are handcrafted from hardwood that comes in two colors: mahogany or espresso. They stand 21 inches tall with 3 steps, each 18 inches wide, 9 inches deep, and 7 inches tall.

The top of each step is carpeted to give your pup some traction, and the bottom of the piece features non-skid pads to protect the floor.

The most unique feature of these steps is that they also act as a storage space; each step has hinges along the front side, allowing the step to open.

PROS: The main reason most people bought these stairs was for their attractiveness. All customers were satisfied on this front, and many were impressed that the piece was made of real wood. In addition, several owners appreciated that the steps are wider and deeper than many other options on the market, giving even larger dogs stability as they walk up and down. Most owners also seemed to have no difficulty putting the steps together.

CONS: A very small minority of customers received packages with some damaged parts. Other than that, the only issue with this product could be the high price tag.

3. Majestic Pet Portable Foam Pet Stairs

Description: For pups who need a little extra cushion for aching joints, these competitively-priced foam steps are a great option.

Designed for animals weighing up to 25 pounds, these steps are made of super thick, supportive foam. They have a washable polyester cover that zips on and off and comes in 5 patterned colors (black, gray, navy blue, red, teal, and yellow).

You can also choose between a 3-step and 4-step version of these steps. The 3-step model is 15 inches tall, and takes up about 18 inches of floor space; each step is 16 inches wide, 5 inches tall, and 6 inches deep.

The dimensions of each step of the 4-step model are the same; however, standing at 20 inches tall, it gives you a little extra height and also takes up a little extra floor space (24 inches). At 7.4 pounds, this is also a lightweight choice.

PROS: Most owners loved the stylish pattern of these steps. Additionally, owners who kept these steps in their bedroom appreciated that they couldn’t stub their toe in the night tripping on these soft, foam steps. Pets also seemed to like these steps, using them intuitively, without much or any training.

CONS: These steps easily slip on marble or wood floors, so placing it on top of a mat or placing a weight in front of the bottom step to prevent it from moving. Also, these steps are not made to support dogs that weigh over 25 pounds (check out our review of the Snoozer scalloped large pet ramp below if you want to use foam steps with your plus-sized pooch).

4. Pet Loader Collapsible Platform Steps

Description: These collapsible steps are pricey, but are ideal for owners on the go with limited storage space.

There are 3 models to choose between: the 3-step, 4-step, and 5-step. The 3 step model can be adjusted to stand between 16 and 20 inches tall and weighs 18 pounds; the 4-step version weighs 24 pounds with a height ranging from 20 to 30 inches; the 5-step is 29 to 40 inches tall and weighs 30 pounds.

All models are made of heavy-duty plastic, can sustain a 150-pound dog, and have carpeted platform steps that are 16 inches wide.

While each platform is 22 inches long, the steps are not 22 inches deep; remember, the height and depth of each step will change depending on the height of the steps (see the product website for a guide). Folded down, the steps are 23 inches wide, 22 inches long, and 5.5 (3-step), 7.5 (4-step), or 9.5 (5-step) inches tall.

PROS: These steps seem especially great for older large dogs who may struggle getting in and out of the car due to arthritis. Owners love that these steps are easy to use. Most owners also reported that this company has a very responsive and helpful customer service team. Pups love these steps because they do not shake and have shallow incline that makes them very easy to get up and down.

CONS: Some owners found that these steps were a little heavy. However, most owners felt that they were easy to manage. Other than that, the cost may be a limiting factor for some owners.

5. “Let Me Up” Colorful, Collapsible Pet Steps

Description: The “Let Me Up” Pet Steps stand out for being foldable, making them able to serve as either a bed or steps for your pet. This versatility makes them a great option for an owner on a budget.

As steps, the “Let Me Up” stands at 8 inches, just high enough to give your pup a little extra boost onto furniture. There are two steps, each 15 inches wide, and the steps take up 18.5 inches of floor space.

As a bed, the “Let Me Up” is 4 inches high, 15 inches wide, and 26 inches long.

The inside is composed of foam and the exterior is made from a comfortable, breathable fabric. You can choose from a variety of colors (green, blue, black, orange, pink, deep coffee, grey, camel, and rose red).

PROS: These steps are especially great for travel since they are lightweight and serve two important functions in one. Dogs with short legs will enjoy that these steps are relatively low (just 4 inches per step).

CONS: Some owners may feel that these steps do not go up high enough. However, if you need more height, it is possible to stack a folded “Let Me Up” onto a second “Let Me Up” laid out flat (12 inches in height).

Top Pet Ramps

1. Mr. Herzher’s Telescoping Pet Ramp

Description: The Mr. Herzher’s Telescoping Pet Ramp is a competitively priced compared to other ramps and offers a rigid, secure frame along with Shur-Foot tread to keep pets from slipping.

Made from fiberglass and plastic, this ramp weighs just 16 pounds, but can support up to 300 pounds. The length can be adjusted from 41 to 70 inches and it is 17 inches wide, making it an especially good option for large dogs.

The ramp has raised edges and features special treading so your dog can walk comfortably. Rubber ends on either side of the ramp ensure that it will stay in place and not damage any surface that supports it.

PROS: Most owners were very impressed with the quality of this ramp, noting that it is very sturdy and is especially great for getting your pooch in and out of the car. It also seems to hold up in many types of weather and over time. Many owners liked that the ramp could shrink down to 41 inches for easier storage (although you may still want to measure your car’s trunk to make sure it will fit). Most importantly, dogs got used to going up and down this ramp with ease.

CONS: Some owners mentioned that the ramp’s incline was a little too steep for their pup. Remember to use the formula provided at the beginning of this article to see if this ramp will be long enough for your needs. A couple of dogs didn’t like this ramp because of the rough, sandpaper-like surface.

2. Solvit Deluxe XL Telescoping Pet Ramp

Description: The Solvit Deluxe XL Telescoping Pet Ramp is a little more expensive, but stands out for being significantly longer and wider than other ramps on the market.

This ramp telescopes from 47 to 87 inches and is 20 inches wide. It can sustain up to 300 pounds, but weighs just 18 pounds.

You can also trust the sturdiness of this ramp since it is made of aluminum and plastic and has rubber feet to help it stay in place. It also features raised edges and a high-traction surface to help your dog feel secure as he walks up and down the ramp.

PROS: This ramp is extra long, so it is great for owners with a high truck bed or a pup who is nervous walking up steep inclines. It is also significantly wider than many other ramps, which is a benefit for large dogs. This product is good in many different types of weather, including snow. For owners who are unsure about how to use the ramp, this manufacturer includes a “How To” video tutorial that some owners found useful.

CONS: The surface of the ramp did not provide enough traction for many dogs. However, most owners did not find this to be a dealbreaker since it can be fixed by placing a towel over the top of it. Some owners were bothered that the ramp does not have a lock on it to keep the two pieces from sliding around while transporting it.

3. PetStep Folding Pet Ramp

Description: The reasonably priced PetStep Folding Pet Ramp stands out for its unique ridged rubber walking surface that is suitable for use not just on land, but also in water.

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It is 70 inches long, 18 inches wide, and can hold up to 500 pounds. Since it is lightweight compared to many ramps (just 18.6 pounds), easily folds in half, and has cut out handles on the sides, the ramp is very convenient to travel with.

It’s made of plastic and fiberglass, meaning it holds up in all types of weather and is very sturdy. The end of the ramp also provides great traction so that it does not slide around while your pet is on it, and the raised edges ensure that your pet will feel secure. Finally, the ramp comes with a 5-year warranty as an added bonus.

PROS: Many owners chose this ramp to use on their boat and were satisfied with their choice, commenting that the dog could easily use the ramp even when wet. Other owners were attracted to this ramp because it does not use a sandpaper-like surface to prevent slipping; most owners found that rubber surface of this ramp was effective and much easier on their pup’s paws. Some owners also found the folding design to be easier to use than ramps that telescope.

CONS: Some owners found this ramp to be a little bulky and complained that your fingers could get stuck between the two halves if not handled properly. A few owners mentioned that this product would ideally be a little wider to better accommodate large dogs.

The Best of Both

Snoozer Scalloped Large Pet Ramp

Description: The Snoozer Scalloped Pet Ramp combines some of the best features of ramps and stairs. Like stairs, it provides secure foot-holding, but, like a ramp, is creates a gentler slope for small dogs or dogs with joint pain.

This ramp is definitely not cheap, but Snoozer is a trusted brand that is well-known for using high-quality foam in their dog accessories.

The large Snoozer ramp is made of high-density polyurethane foam which supports up to 100 pounds. It’s 21 inches tall and the base is 28 inches long.

With a width of 21 inches, this ramp is also very wide, giving it extra stability and your pup extra confidence as he climbs up and down it.

The cover of the ramp is made of micro-suede and comes in 4 colors (black, buckskin, camel, and red). It can be zipped off and put through the washing machine. While we recommend the large ramp, it also comes in small and medium which may be sufficient for a smaller dog.

PROS: Several owners reported that the scalloped design worked especially well for dogs with short legs who often struggle with steps. Nervous dogs also benefited from the scalloped design, which provided a foothold without the scary steps, as well as the width, which makes this ramp feel more secure. The soft foam was able to support even larger dogs. Some owners liked that the foam material doesn’t make any noise and is also less cumbersome than wood or metal.

CONS: This ramp can be more difficult to store since it does not fold down. Some owners also noted that the cover sometimes slips a bit on the foam, making some pups feel insecure. Most owners felt that this product was expensive, but worth the investment.

DIY Pet Ramp

If none of these options suit your needs (and you’re a little handy), you may want to consider making your own 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 how to make a DIY Pet Ramp.

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 adjust 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 for the height you desire. Hopefully by now your dog is used to the steps or ramp enough to not 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 negative arthritic effects as dogs age.

It’s important to always encourage healthy joint activity, no matter what the age of your dog. This 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 as well as our post reviewing the best dog food for senior 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 bought? Let us know in the comments below!

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Last update on 2018-12-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the Author Meg Marrs

Meg Marrs is the Founder and Senior Editor at K9 of Mine. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! She loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

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