3 Expert Tips To Choose Dog Ramps & Stairs 

Dog ramp or stairs can make a tremendous shift in your dog's quality of life. It can be heartbreaking - and sometimes a little inconvenient - when your dog simply can't get onto a bed or couch to snuggle with you.

Even worse can be those times at the end of every dog's life, when getting into a van for a trip to the dog park, requires uncomfortable or painful lifting. Dog stairs and ramps solve all of these issues, so we've put together this list of expert tips to help you make the best possible choice

What materials should the dog ramp or stairs be made from?

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.

High-density foam

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.

High Density Foam 4 Steps Pet Stairs in Burgundy
High Density Foam 4 Step Pet Stair
High Density Foam Long Pet Stair
Small Comfort Foam Pet Stairs
Grey 3 Step Foam Pet Stairs
Comfort Foam 3 Step Pet Stairs

Wood

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.

Wooden 4 Step Pet Stairs
Cherry Wood Pet Ramp
Traditional Style Wood Dog Stairs
Black and Cream Wood Pet Stair
Wood and Carpet 3 Step Dog Stairs
Wooden Foldable Dog Ramp

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.

Long Grey Carpet Pet Stairs
Carpet Dog Stairs in Cream
Large Carpet Dog Stairs in Grey and Cream
Cherry Wood and Carpet Dog Stair
Small White Carpet Dog Stairs

What features should I look for in a dog ramp?

There are a few core features that you should always consider when choosing a dog ramp or stairs. Here is our take on the ones that are non-negotiable.

Machine washable surface material

As much as we love our furry friends, we all have to admit that given enough time without a proper shower - they can smell pretty bad. Unsurprisingly, the same goes for the surface material of your pet ramp or stairs.

As adorable paws make their way up to the couch to cuddle you or into your vehicle for a trip to the park, they bring dirt, grime and anything else that wants to tag along with them. Eventually, this material builds up in your ramp's carpeting and smells worse than a very wet, very dirty dog.

Having a surface material that's easy to remove and clean is highly recommended. You'll save yourself the stress and awkward conversations by being able to keep your ramp or stairs clean.

Collapsible for easy storage

Pet ramps don't tend to be huge but being able to store them snugly is still a valuable feature. As convenient as a ramp can be - especially for aging or movement impaired pets - they can become annoying if you have to force them to fit into tight spaces.

If you have a few children, you probably already know just how valuable every bit of extra trunk space can be. Be sure to choose a pet ramp that can collapse in a way that makes it easy to store, without compromising trunk space for the rest of your family.

Washable Dog Ramp and Landing
Washable 2 Step Pet Stair in Grey
Washable Long Pet Ramp
Collapsible Outdoor Dog Ramp
Collapsible 4 Step Pet Stair
Adjustable Wood 4 Step Dog Stairs

Should I consider height adjustable dog ramps?

Unfortunately, dog ramps aren't one size fits all. A ramp that works perfectly for your bed or couch might not give your pets access to your family truck, which is why we recommend purchasing dog ramps with adjustable height.

Height adjustable dog ramps account for most situations that you'll encounter in your home. Try searching for options that have three or more easy to adjust height measurements, for maximum convenience.

Lily is a modern designer with great appreciation for sleek architecture, a love for art in its many forms, and a passion for sharing her experience with people. If you’re looking for advice on how to modernize your old-fashioned place or make your new restaurant a visual blast, she’s definitely the one to ask.