Outdoor Dog Ramp

We all think of our dogs as young and healthy, no matter their age or physical abilities. We expect them to be able to jump into the backseat of our car, or onto the back landing, without breaking a sweat.

Time catches up with everyone, sadly – even our beloved dogs. And there may come a time when injury, age, hip dysplasia, arthritis or other issues simply won’t let them run, jump and leap the way they once did. That’s when it’s time to give them a gift they’ll really appreciate: an outdoor dog ramp. (Miniature and toy breeds may need a ramp just to get into the car, of course.)

Before buying a ramp it’s important to consider your dog’s weight and size, because his ramp must be sturdy enough to support him and wide enough to let him walk without danger of falling. Aluminum or other lightweight metal ramps normally support dogs weighing as much as 250 pounds. Plastic and PVC ramp manufacturers claim that their products can support 100-150 pounds, but they may pose a risk for large dogs and are a better choice for puppies, toy dogs or cats. Most outdoor dog ramps are about 16” in width, although some are 2-4 inches wider to accommodate pups with stability issues. The majority have no-slip, grit surfaces for traction.

The severity of the dog’s disability is also a key factor, because many who have difficulty walking need a long outdoor dog ramp that has a gentle slope. That also means determining how high the climb will be; a short, one-piece ramp (usually good for heights up to 18”) may be suitable for a passenger car, but will create a slope that’s much too steep when used to reach minivans or truck beds that are 22-40” high.

You can find many ramps with the 18° slope that’s ideal for most older or disabled dogs, and others with a 22° slope that’s acceptable for those with minor impairment. You may see ramps with slopes as steep as 26° or 28°, but those are primarily used for dog show training.

Longer outdoor dog ramps are usually between six and eight feet in length and come in two different styles, folding and telescoping. Folding metal outdoor dog ramps will be sturdier than telescoping models, but the latter are easier for humans to use and their adjustable length makes them simpler to open and close. However, either style will support just about any dog.

Jessica started out as an interior photographer, but her love of pretty settings took her to the field of interior design, where she can combine two of her greatest passions, creating and then capturing the beauty of homes.

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