Stairs can be challenging for some dogs. Whether they are scared puppies, senior dogs with hip dysplasia, or born with little legs, stairs can be a scary and, sometimes, risky challenge for our fur babies. What’s the solution? Taking the DIY approach and building a DIY dog ramp for outdoor stairs.
In the USA, stairs are hard to avoid, even if you live in a single-story home. Most houses will have a step or two leading into the home. Whenever you take your pup outside, they might need to go up and down a flight of stairs. Whether big or small, your dog might be terrified of stairs. And carrying them up and down every time is not a long-term option!
If you have a small, sick, or elderly dog, or maybe a nervous nelly, then building a dog ramp is a great way to help them easily get in and out of the house.
The location of your ramp determines your design options. Consider the number of steps, the staircase’s width, and the staircase’s angle. This will all play a role in determining your dog ramp design.
The number of steps will help you determine the length of your ramp.
The width of the staircase will determine how wide you can make the ramp. You’ll need to decide if you want it to cover the width of the staircase, ultimately transforming your stairs into a ramp. Or you will need to determine how much of the staircase you can afford to cover with the dog ramp. Keep in mind your dog’s needs as you plan this out.
The angle of the staircase will also play a role in determining the length. For example, using multiple short ramps works better than one long one if you are dealing with a multi-level porch.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes we tend to collect miscellaneous pieces of wood and various other building supplies. The materials end up stashed around your garage, and even though you would be happy to throw them away, your significant other insists they can be helpful someday.
Depending on what materials are stashed around your house, you might already have some, if not all, of the materials you need to build a dog ramp. Look for long, sturdy sheets of wood, old trim or 2×4, or even old fabric or carpet that can provide traction when your fur baby runs up the ramp.
What are you envisioning? Does the ramp need to be portable? Do you need to make sure it is firmly secured to the stairs? Do you want to convert the staircase to a ramp? Will it be visible to outsiders? If so, are you concerned about aesthetics?
These questions will help guide you to an appropriate dog ramp design for your home.
The size and weight of your dog will determine the type of materials you need to use. If your dog is heavy and large, the durability of your materials will be extra important.
Solid hardwood, like birch, maple, or oak wood, is considered the best material for building an outdoor dog ramp. The thicker the wood, the sturdier your ramp will be.
Your ramp will be exposed to all elements and needs to withstand them and remain strong for your doggo. Heavy rain or direct sun exposure can lead to wood rot and warping, weakening your dog ramp. If you have concerns, there are precautions you can take to reduce potential damage.
We suggest covering or treating the exposed wood with weatherproofing materials if you are concerned. You can coat it in polyurethane, varnish, or lacquer to protect the wood from weather damage.
Depending on where you live, the terrain also affects the materials you need. The base of your ramp must lay flat against the ground outside. If the ground isn’t level or stable, you must take extra measures to keep your dog’s ramp steady.
The whole point of building a dog ramp is to help your pup safely travel in and out of the house. This means building a ramp that is safe and comfortable for your dog to walk to run across is a necessity.
You will need to:
- Make sure the ramp is flush with the top step and the ground. Too much of a gap at the top or the bottom might cause your pup to trip.
- Check the stability of your dog ramp. Your dog will be running up and down it, and shaking or wobbling might make them fall or, at the very least, feel unsteady.
- Make the top of your dog’s ramp slip resistant. There are many ways you can do this. The most common is carpet or durable fabric. Grip tape used by skateboarders is another easy and affordable option.
When building an outdoor dog ramp, it’s important that you keep in mind not only your dog’s safety but also your own. Everyone who walks up and down the stairs in question will need to be able to do so safely.
You will need to make sure that the walking path is clear. People should be able to walk up and down the stairs easily without tripping or stubbing their toes on the ramp.
Your design will depend on your unique needs and preferences; however, the base design of all ramps is the same.
- You will need a long, flat surface that reaches from the surface of the top step to the ground.
- You can’t just lay the board over your stairs. You will need to find a way to secure the ramp in place. This might involve nailing or screwing it in place or building steady legs that add support and security.
- Small details like small railings, an anti-slip surface, and angle-cut edges are a few of the small safety details you can add to your dog ramp to ensure your pup is comfortable walking on it.
If you are nervous about making your doggy ramp, this DIY ramp is perfect. It is not the most beautiful ramp, but it’s quick and easy for anyone to make. Just follow the detailed build instructions. Remember that you might need to adjust the dimensions so that the ramp design fits your outdoor space and your dog’s needs.
This one is ideal for an easy, effective outdoor ramp for small dogs. It was designed to help Dachshunds, with their tiny legs and long bodies, move up and down stairs. You don’t need to be especially handy or have much DIY experience to build it. Just follow the instructions, and you should be fine.
This ramp is ideal for anyone with a more extended staircase or a medium to large dog. It can be modified to fit any stairs, but its stability sets it apart. The designer created an L-shaped ramp that allowed their German Shepard to move up and down their multi-level deck easily. It is a more complicated build, but if you are handy, then it shouldn’t take you more than an afternoon to complete.
Not all outdoor dog ramps need to be placed over stairs. This design is the perfect option for a basic yet sturdy doggy ramp. It does require a little skill, the designer has laid out easy-to-follow instructions, so you should be fine.
This dog ramp is a simple yet excellent option if you need a collapsible dog ramp to use outdoors in areas where there are no stairs and/or to help your dog get in and out of your car.
This dog ramp will require more skill, materials and time to make but the end product is a strong, durable collapsible ramp that can be for indoor and outdoor use where your dog needs help getting in and out of, or on and off of, a place that doesn’t have stairs. If you’ll be using this primarily outdoors, you can purchase a material to cover the ramp path that is specifically designed for exterior use, like astroturf rug.
This DIY dog ramp for outdoor stairs is slightly different because it is adjustable. Like the two previous collapsible dog ramps, you can adjust the materials used to make this an outdoor dog ramp (such as using pressure treated wood and astroturf material for the ramp path). While this will require a few more steps and is a bit more technical than some of the simpler dog ramp plans, the outcome is a sturdier, more versatile ramp!
1 – For Porch Steps
This simple wooden ramp with adjustable legs is perfect for porch steps.
If you have a medium to large dog, an aluminum ramp will provide the necessary stability without adding weight. This model claims to hold up to 300 pounds and weighs only 18 pounds.
3 – Collapsible Ramp
This ramp is long but is perfect for any size dog and easily folds up, so it can be used in multiple locations. You can even use it to help your fur baby get in and out of your car.
Building a DIY dog ramp for outdoor stairs is an easy and affordable solution if your dog struggles to walk up and down your outdoor steps. If you love DIYing, upgrade your dog’s grooming with our DIY dog grooming station or uplevel your home with these DIY dog crate cover ideas and DIY outdoor dog patio ideas too.
With some time and effort, you can build a safe and stable platform for your fur baby to use. Just ensure you follow our guide and the DIY plans above, and you shouldn’t have any issues.