Material is probably the most important thing to consider when purchasing a new dog ramp or set of dog stairs. The base material will determine how long your stairs last and how well your pet's weight will be supported. Surface materials can help your pet go up or down but are also important to consider for maximizing your dog's comfort. Let's take a quick look at the best materials for your dog steps or ramp in our first expert tip.
Ideally, the frame or base material for your dog stairs should be made of something both lightweight and strong, so you'll have an easy time moving it around without compromising the safety of your pet. High-density foam fits both of these criteria, being the lightest weight base material for pet stairs while being able to bear the weight of pets up to 50 lbs. Of course, weight-bearing capacity is model specific and should always be verified prior to purchase.
While high-density foam is great for weight-bearing, it is not very scratch, bite or bump resistant. Dog stairs made from this material can wear down quickly, which can lead to rocking or collapsing stairs that risk your dog's health. Rocking stairs can be especially dangerous for elderly dogs who are having issues with stability, so be sure to replace your foam dog stairs regularly.
Wooden dog stairs have far more longevity than their foam counterparts, but can still fall victim to biting, scratching and water damage. If the finish on your wooden dog stairs becomes compromised, you run the risk of excess humidity encouraging rot, which can destabilize your stairs and lead to falls.
Despite their shortcomings, wooden dog stairs can be phenomenal choices for your décor. While most of them are made from manufactured wood, they often come finished in hardwood veneers that match well, with beige furniture or wooden flooring.
Microsuede and carpet
As far as surface material goes, microsuede or carpet work incredibly well for both pet ramps and pet stairs. Of the two materials, microsuede is softer, making it the more suitable material for pets with paws that become irritated. Unfortunately, however, microsuede is a bit harder to maintain than carpet precisely because it is softer.
Sheets of microsuede are normally very thin, so mud, dirt, fur and droppings all tend to be very visible, which means you'll need to be cleaning your microsuede surface material relatively often. While microsuede is machine washable, it can become frayed when washed often.
What carpet material lacks in comfort, it makes up for in durability. Because carpet material is significantly thicker than microsuede, you can count on it to retain its integrity through washing. It also holds up against scratching and biting far better than microsuede does, which makes it the ideal choice for particularly energetic dogs.