A dog ramp makes it easier for your pet to get into a vehicle – especially if he has joint pain or mobility problems. Here are five of the best dog ramps for SUVs, cars, and trucks.
These conditions make it uncomfortable to jump into a car, truck or SUV. If you notice your dog hesitating, or showing signs of pain after a jump, he may need a helping hand.
It’s not always possible to lift a dog though – especially large breeds – which is why ramps are recommended. A ramp makes it much easier for your dog to get in or out of a car, while protecting his knees, shoulders and back.
Ramps aren’t just useful for dogs in pain though – they can also protect a younger pup’s joints.
Studies have shown that jumping from a car causes impact forces that are four times higher than walking, so repeated jumps could cause joint degeneration or aggravate hereditary conditions.
In other words, just because your dog can jump out of a car doesn’t mean it’s a good idea!
To help you choose a dog ramp for an SUV, car or truck, I’ve listed my top five picks below. But before we get to the top 5, what should you look for in a doggie ramp?
A strong telescoping ramp that's great for trucks, cars and SUVs
The PetSafe Solvit Deluxe is an extra-long telescoping pet ramp. It’s durable, has guide rails for extra security, and can be adjusted to fit a range of cars, SUVs and trucks.
There are seemingly hundreds of dog ramps for SUVs and cars. These range in price, quality and safety, so here’s an overview of what to look for in a ramp.
Safety is the most important factor when choosing a ramp.
All ramps have a maximum load, which typically ranges from 100lbs-300lbs. It’s vital to check a model can support your dog’s weight – especially if you have a large or giant breed. There’s nothing scarier (or potentially dangerous) for a nervous dog than a ramp collapsing!
A tether can also increase safety. This usually ties to the tailgate latch to provide backup if the ramp slips. You should also look for a ramp with anti skid rubber feet.
The size of a dog ramp is another important consideration.
The ramp needs to reach the trunk of your vehicle without being too steep. The longer the ramp, the shallower the incline.
As a general rule, don’t exceed an incline of 20 degrees. Anything more than this may be difficult for your dog to walk up.
Check the angle with a tape measure set to the length of a ramp to visualise the steepness when placed against your car. If you don’t think your dog will be comfortable, look for a longer ramp.
Width is also important. Unstable dogs with poor balance may prefer a wider platform, so look for a width of 18″-20″. Dogs that are more stable may be happy with a thinner design. Guide rails can also help your dog feel more secure.
Note: While most ramps are designed to reach the trunk of a car or SUV, many can also be used on side doors. You may need to buy a side door adaptor though.
Many ramps have folding designs for easier portability and storage. The most common are bi-fold (two segments), but there are plenty of tri-fold options too.
You can also buy telescopic dog ramps. These are often more versatile, as they can slide to a range of lengths rather than a fixed length.
Aside from a folding or telescopic design, check the weight of a ramp before you buy. You’ll need to move a car ramp a lot, so make sure it’s a weight you’re comfortable lifting.
Most ramps weigh 15-25lbs. There are lightweight options available – some are as light as 10lbs – but these are smaller and may not be suitable for heavy breeds. A carrying handle can also make a ramp more portable.
A ramp should provide plenty of grip for your dog’s paws. This is especially important for unstable dogs or in wet weather.
High traction rubber and carpeted thread are two of the best options. Some ramps are built with a surface similar to sandpaper, which increases grip but isn’t as durable.
Horizontal slats can also make a ramp easier to grip.
Ramps are better for cars than stairs – for most dogs, at least.
While it’s true that some dogs find stairs easier, they require your pet to have more balance. The design of stairs also makes them less stable than ramps, so they are only suitable for small dogs.
With that said, if your pet hates a ramp, folding dog steps might be an option to consider. Stairs are also great for using around the home.
It can take time for a dog to feel comfortable walking up a ramp. Be patient and use positive reinforcement to encourage your pet. I’ve written a brief guide to this in the “Frequently Asked Questions” section below.
Never force him onto a ramp, or you could create a lasting negative association that’s difficult to overcome.
Here are my five top dog ramps for an SUV, car or truck. Make sure you read each review carefully to find the best option for your pet.
One of the great features of the Solvit Deluxe is the sliding design. You can quickly set the length between 47-87 inches, so it’s perfect for everything from car side doors to taller vehicles. The 20″ width also provides plenty of room for your dog to walk up and down.
It’s also surprisingly lightweight for such a long ramp. At 18lbs, it’s lighter than many shorter ramps. The Solvit Deluxe also comes with rubber stability feet and a rough top material for extra traction.
A downside is the price. I think the Deluxe provides value for money, but it’s one of the most expensive ramps on this list. It also doesn’t have the best grip surface. A carpeted or rubber surface would be an improvement.
The PetSafe Solvit Deluxe is still one of the best dog ramps for SUVs, cars and trucks though – especially for big breeds.
The most interesting feature of the Pet Gear Tri-Fold is its reflective design. Many dogs struggle with poor vision as they get older – especially when it’s dark – so these reflectors can help guide your pet down.
Aside from its reflective design, the Pet Gear has rubber grippers, an anti-slip surface, and a relatively wide platform (19.5″). It’s also a tri-folding ramp, so it takes up less space when folded.
A drawback is the weight. At 27lbs, this is one of the heaviest I’ve seen. It’s also not the stiffest on the market, so it may bow in the middle when walked on by a big dog. This could be a problem for nervous or unstable pets.
On the plus side, it’s cheaper than many similar size alternatives.
One of the best features of the WeatherTech folding dog ramp is the rubber surface. This provides plenty of grip and, combined with the tall guide rails, help make a nervous dog feel secure.
Other features include rubber feet to prevent slipping, integrated carry handles, and a durable construction.
It’s not as big as some of the other ramps on this list though. While 67″ is fine for cars and most SUVs, it’s too short for tall trucks (the angle will be overly steep). It’s also not the widest option, which is something to keep in mind if your dog is unstable.
Despite the small size, the UltraLite has many of the features you would expect from a ramp. These include a bi-fold design, textured surface (although I would prefer rubber), four rubber feet, and guide rails for extra security.
It’s also very lightweight. At just 10lbs, it’s much easier to carry than alternatives.
There are some drawbacks to the lightweight design though. The UltraLite can only support dogs up to 150lbs, so it’s not suitable for the heaviest breeds (although 150lbs is more than enough for most dogs). It’s also only 62″ long, so it’ll be too steep when placed against a tall vehicle.
If you need a lighter car ramp, however, it’s one of the best around.
Tip: If the surface doesn’t provide enough grip, you may want to stick on some textured carpet with double-sided tape. This is a relatively cheap DIY fix that provides the convenience of a lightweight design with the best surface for traction.
While stairs are never going to be as strong as a ramp, this model has a metal frame and anti-slip rubber grippers to prevent slipping. There’s also a safety tether that you can attach to the tailgate latch.
The four steps have a depth of 7″. Each also has a non-slip surface for extra grip. The folding design allows you to use the stairs on vehicles of varying heights, but if stretched the steps aren’t completely horizontal.
A drawback is that the steps sink stood on. If your dog is already nervous about getting into the car, this might be enough to put him off using the stairs. It’s also not strong enough for big dog breeds, as the maximum weight is only 100lbs.
For small or medium dogs who prefer stairs, however, it could be a good alternative to a ramp.
Ramps can be frightening for a dog – especially if he’s suffering with joint pain, vision loss, or just hasn’t used one before.
For this reason, it’s important to follow a gradual process of positive reinforcement to teach your dog to trust his new car ramp. Be patient, as rushing your dog could cause him to become more fearful.
Safety Tip: If your dog is riding in the trunk, you should also make sure you get a crash-tested dog crate for his safety. Click here to read my guide.
Safety is vital. A weak ramp could cause serious injury, so be careful with homemade ramps.
If you still want to try a DIY ramp, Instructables has a decent guide. You’ll need two six-foot closet shelves, zip ties, rubber end covers, and six-foot two-inch outdoor carpet for grip. Be aware that this ramp doesn’t have a foldable design – although it’s a cheaper option than one of the ramps above.
Many dogs love swimming – but find it hard to pull themselves back into a boat. There are specialist dog boat ladders and ramps to help with this. You can also buy dog pool ramps for getting in and out of swimming pools.
Ramps can help your dog into and out of a vehicle without damaging his joints. This is beneficial for all dogs, but is even more important for older pups, those with joint pain, and pregnant dogs.
I hope this article has helped you choose the best dog ramp for your SUV, car or truck. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments section below.