Does your dog enjoy swimming from a boat? These dog boat ramps and ladders can make getting back into the boat much easier.
Getting back into a boat can be tricky though. While many dogs can pull themselves out of water, a lack of upper body strength can make this tiring. Scrabbling around on a slippery surface also puts your pup at risk of injury.
Dog boat ladders, ramps and stairs make it much easier for your dog to climb into a boat. They are especially useful if your pet is too heavy to lift or suffers from joint pain. In this article, we’ve listed five of the best options.
A portable ladder that fits most boats
My top pick for a dog boat ladder is the Paws Aboard. It can attach to most boarding ladders, making it a convenient choice for helping your pup after swimming. It’s also strong and foldable.
A trip on the lake or ocean can be a fun experience with your pet, but there are a host of dangers to avoid or minimise.
Aside from the essentials, such as a dog life jacket, sunscreen and plenty of fresh drinking water, a ramp is one of the best ways to make boating safer for your pet. Here are some of the benefits:
You may also want to consider a ramp for boarding from a dock. Jumping from a slippery surface onto a boat, or vice-versa, is a recipe for injury. There’s also a risk of your dog falling and getting trapped between the dock and boat. A simple extendable ramp can prevent this.
There are many dog ramps on the market, but most are designed for cars, SUVs and trucks. While these might be fine for dock boarding, they are not suitable for use in water.
Fortunately, several companies sell dog ramps and ladders designed specifically for boats.
Some of the most important considerations when choosing a dog ramp for boat trips include:
On a side note, your dog should always wear a canine life jacket when near water – even if you have a ramp installed.
Some dog breeds are naturally good swimmers, but others struggle in water. Even strong swimmers get tired much sooner than many dog owners realise. A life jacket could save your dog’s life, so never go boating without one.
Listed below are five of the best dog boat ladders and ramps. Make sure you read each review carefully to find the right option for your boat and pet.
The Paws Aboard Doggie Boat Ladder is great for helping your dog get back into a boat. It’s also foldable and can be attached to (almost) any boat ladder.
What does fitting “almost” any boat mean though? You need a boat ladder with at least three steps, otherwise the Paws Aboard can’t be properly secured. Also, if your ladder is more than 14″ wide, you’ll need to purchase an extension kit.
Attaching the ramp is a quick process. It’s also a durable design with a UV-resistant exterior, so it shouldn’t fade in the sun.
There are a few other downsides. While the installation process is simple, it can take some practice to get it right. You also need to detach the ramp whenever a human wants to use the regular ladder.
For most boats, however, the Paws Aboard Doggie Ladder is a decent choice.
If you just need a simple dog platform, the Great Day LP500 could be a good option.
It can be attached to almost any boarding ladder. Once attached, it provides a submerged surface for your dog to climb on when he’s finished swimming
Other features include gripping ridges for traction, an easy-to-install design, and a relatively big 20″ x 14″ platform. It’s also built with high-strength aluminium, making it one of the toughest dog ramps on the market.
While it might be tempting for humans to use the platform, be careful with the weight limit. It’s designed for canines, after all! I would also prefer slightly stronger straps – although they are durable enough for most dogs.
You should also keep in mind that the LP500 is a heavy aluminium platform. It will sink if you drop it, so make sure you attach the strap first.
If you don’t want to attach a ramp to your boarding ladder, the Beavertail Aluminium Folding Dog Ladder is one of the strongest and most convenient options.
The Beavertail has a stainless steel frame for the ultimate durability. While I don’t think it’s the most attractive ramp, it’s strong enough for most dogs.
It has an adjustable design, so it can latch onto most boat hulls. There are also rubber arms to reduce the chance of scratching.
A potential downside of this ladder is that the stainless steel frame doesn’t provide as much grip as other options. If your dog doesn’t seem to trust the surface, you may want to install a rubber cover for extra grip.
The Drifter Marine Boarding Ladder has a slightly different design to the other ramps and ladders on this list. Instead of a solid platform or steps, it has a waterproof mesh netting that provides plenty of grip. The mesh also allows water to pass through, so it isn’t moved as much by waves.
Other features of the Drifter Marine include adjustable hooks for attaching the ramp to most boat walls, rubber guards, and a strong aluminium frame. The platform and arms also both fold for storage.
A downside of this ramp is that it’s only suitable for dogs weighing up to 125lbs. This is to be expected, as the mesh platform is never going to match solid metal platforms, but means it’s unsuitable for the heaviest dog breeds.
It also isn’t suitable for pontoon boats or any boat with a thick outer wall. For smaller fishing boats, however, it’s a great choice.
The Avery Hunting Gear Ramp is a budget option if you don’t want to shell out for one of the others on this list.
It’s not the most attractive ramp, due to the brown fabric platform, but has small steps for extra grip and a folding design. It also has a tough frame that can withstand long-term use.
There are a few drawbacks though. It’s unlikely to work on most pontoon boats, as the rails need to be near the waterline. It’s also a shame that the “steps” aren’t as wide as the ramp, as this would make it easier for broad-shouldered dogs to climb.
Ramps or ladders that attach to boarding ladders are often the best for pontoon boats. For this reason, the Paws Aboard Doggie Boat Ladder and Great Day LP500 could both be good choices if they fit your boarding ladder.
Avoid ramps that need to be hooked over the side of a boat’s hull though. Pontoon boats are often too high for these to reach the water.
The Dog On Water Ramp is one of the few inflatable floating ramps on the market. It’s a decent choice, but the company only produces it in batches for each season. This means it’s not always available. If you need a floating dog ramp, however, it’s probably the best option.
A dog boat ramp can make getting out of water much easier for your pup. It can also protect your boat from canine claws and make boat trips a lot less tiring for your dog.
My top pick for a dog boat ladder is the Paws Aboard. It attaches to almost any boarding ladder and has a ridged design for your pet to climb.
Do you have any questions about choosing a dog boat ramp or ladder? Please let me know using the comments section below.