DIY Dog Ramp

DIY DOG RAMP

     

My 80 pound Rhodesian mix recently had reconstructive ACL surgery on both of her back legs, rendering her pretty useless for 6 months or so. She hates being picked up and I hate carrying her, so daily stair hauls was out of the question. As I was researching dog ramps online, I soon discovered that the only inexpensive options were either ugly or shoddy. So I drew up my own plans, used salvaged wood, and built my own ramp for less than $40. Good luck and happy building!

MATERIALS

  • Two 12″ x [Length] x 3/4″ planks
  • One 120″ beam, cut into 5 equal pieces–24″ long each
  • Six strips of wood casing–24″ long each
  • Indoor-outdoor carpeting, 24″ x [Length]
  • Twelve wood screws, 3/8 or 1/2″ long
  • Ten wood screws–2.5″ long
  • Waterproofing primer/paint
TOOLS NEEDED

  • Outdoor carpet glue
  • Power screwdriver
  • Power saw
  • Tape measure
  • Paint brush

ESTIMATED TIME: 1.5 hours

STEP 1

Measure the length from the top of the stairs to where you want the ramp to end and add 4″. The ramp I built is 76″ long, but feel free to adjust this to suit your needs. Be sure that the ramp will have a gentle incline, so your pet doesn’t have to struggle when using it.

STEP 2

Cut beam into 5 equal pieces. These will be used to connect the two pieces of plywood, as well as minimize ramp sagging.

     

STEP 3

Line up the cut beams in equal intervals. I used 11″ intervals, but you should adjust this to your personal ramp length.

Place one plank on the left half of the beams.

Screw into place with 2.5″ wood screws.

Repeat with right side.

STEP 4

Place wood casing in equal intervals along the top of the ramp. I used 8.5″ intervals.

Attach the casing with 1/2″ wood screws.

The wood casing will act as “speed bumps” for your pet, allowing him/her to maintain traction on the ramp.

STEP 5

Paint entire ramp with a mildew-resistent primer to weatherproof your ramp for outside use. I ended up using 3 coats, but you could get by with less.

Optional: After priming, you could paint your ramp a fun color to match your house.

STEP 6

Cut outdoor carpet to fit your casing intervals.

Spread glue onto the bottom of the carpet pieces and place them along the top of the ramp.

Be sure to allow proper dry time & follow all instructions that come with the glue.

It may take a few days for your pet to get used to the new ramp. Start off by guiding your him/her along the ramp while leashed, using treats or toys as an incentive. Good luck and happy building!

24 comments

  1. Thank you so much for keeping this post alive! Our 100 pound golden retriever is going in for TPLO surgery tomorrow so I know what we will be doing this afternoon — building a ramp based on your plans! We really appreciate it!

  2. I’m working on something similar as I have several elderly rescues who can’t navigate steps anymore. However, I have an almost 6 foot drop to handle. I found my ramp is going to be close to 32 feet long so as to not have too steep of an angle for them to walk up or down. And since I want them to be safe, I’ll be adding sand into the paint for traction and sides to prevent them from going over the edges. It will also have a platform 1/2 way down to allow for them to take a break if need be and allow a 90 degree turn so the ramp won’t be too far out into the yard.

  3. my back deck steps have a deeper incline do i just have to buy longer beams and planksand add more speed bumps im not to handy but sounds easy to make 1 hour and half it will probly take me dog year time lol

    1. Billy, I built an 8ft ramp that covered only two tall steps. If you need to extend it much beyond the measurements above, adding support legs of some sort might not be a bad idea. I also secured mine to the adjacent railing using zip ties for extra peace of mind (it would sometimes shift a bit before that).

      My dog couldn’t lift his legs much while going up an incline – if this might be the case for your dog, consider this: I skipped the ‘speed bumps’ and instead used the reverse side of the indoor/outdoor carpeting (the stuff sold by the foot – the back side is non-slip/rubbery). I also found that even when I tried to slowly walk him down the ramp on a leash, my large dog often wanted to jump off the sides (despite being very weak) and was prone to stumbling, so I purchased cedar fence pickets to act as sides and screwed them in along the edges of the ramp. Hope a few of these ideas help – good luck!

  4. I found this tutorial after building an outdoor ramp for my alaskan husky. I want to share a few tips that may be helpful to those building for a large unsteady dog:

    My big guy couldn’t handle anything even remotely uneven, and so rather than placing wood strips in intervals along the top surface, I simply flipped over the carpet and used the reverse side which had a great latex-like non-slip surface – so much less slippery than the ribbed carpet side (This is the indoor/outdoor runner type sold by the foot at big home improvement stores)! I also placed sides on mine because he had a high potential to fall/walk off the edges – this is easily done by attaching dog-eared cedar fence pickets to the side edges with screws (drill pilot holes or go very slowly so as not to crack your wood). I’m working on a blog tutorial for my ramp, and plan to link to your great guide as well! 🙂

  5. Wow I’ve been looking on the internet for ages for a ramp suitable for outside steps – most of them are aluminium and there aren’t a lot for stairs – and they’re expensive. This looks like just what I need. My little Maltese cross is 15 and very weak in his back legs and unsteady on his feet overall so doesn’t handle even the 3 stairs to outside well (he has fallen down them a few times). I can’t wait to get the materials. I will have fun making this. Thank you so much!!

  6. This looks even simple enough for me to build! I need a ramp for concrete steps. I’m worried that the ramp will not rest on the concrete. How would I secure it to my concrete steps? I’m actually thinking of going off the side of the concrete instead of down the steps. I would also like to put up some short side so that he doesn’t sip off the edge because he is a little wobbly. I don’t know what is wrong with my dog just yet but they told me vestibular syndrome plus he has lower back and hip problems on top of the wobblyness.

    1. My husband made a similar ramp for our dog over concrete steps and he nailed wood to the bottom cut to rest on the step. It provided that little bit of stability and it NEVER slipped. The adults and kids in our family used the ramp for years also with no problem. It was nice enough that my mom thought we did it for her : )

      Great design

  7. Very excited to find your plans, out girl is having some joint issues and it is getting harder for her to get up into the truck so I plan to adapt your design to build her a ramp to access the truck and avoid further injury to her hips and joints!!

  8. This is exactly what I’ve been scouring the internet looking for! Thank you for the plans/tutorial and pictures. I am thinking this is my next DIY weekend project. 🙂 I can’t decide what will be harder though, getting my dog to use it instead of the steps or keeping my 4 year old twins off of it! 😉

  9. Great ramp! I plan on copying this design. I realize that this is an older post, but if the ramp designer reads this, I would like to know:
    1) Did you attach the top of the ramp to the stairs somehow or is it heavy enough to just sit on the stairs without shifting?
    2) How do you get your dog to stay off the part of the stairs that the ramp does not cover?
    Thanks!

    1. Thanks, Annette! I’m sorry to hear that you need to build a ramp, but I’m happy that my plans can help.

      The ramp heavy enough to sit on its own, but with a little more overlap than I liked. I ended up nailing it into the top step to ensure that it wouldn’t become a tripping hazard.

      Since my dog had double ACL surgery, I actually had to carry her outside and hold her rear legs as she walked for the first week or so. After that I walked her down the ramp on a leash, blocking her from using the stairs. She was a little wary for the first 2-3 days, but after that she seemed comfortable with the idea. It took about a month for her to only want to use the ramp, and even today she continues to use the ramp without fail.

      Good luck & let me know if you have any other questions!

      1. Thank you so much for your reply! I have a 9 year old beagle who was recently diagnosed with Intervertebral Disc Disease. I am currently carrying him up and down the stairs as he is not allowed to jump or walk on stairs. The disease is degenerative so I need to make my home more handicap accessible for him for the rest of his life. There is also the possibility that the disease may progress to a point in which his hind end will be paralyzed and then he would need doggy wheels. I found many ramps all over the Internet, but yours looks most suitable for my home and large enough so that Bailey will be comfortable on it. The width will be good should he ever need doggy wheels.

        I really appreciate you posting your plans! I am glad the ramp worked well for your dog and I hope your dog is feeling better! Please know you have probably helped so many more dogs by posting. I know you are helping mine and for that I am truly grateful.

  10. Thank you for sharing this dog ramp design! I just built one this weekend from your plans and it turned out great!! I have a 12 yr old with hips that are going fast….I cant wait for her to start using this. Now on to training her to use it ! THANK YOU!

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