House Ramp

by Marianne


I need a way to get my dog up the stairs after she has come in from outside playing or doing her business. My house is built that you must go downstairs to go out in the backyard. She is 58 lbs and 5 years old.

My house has 13 stairs between the walkout basement to the upstairs.

Can a dog ramp of that length be built and should there be little slats of wood along it to help her grip?

Thanks, Marianne and Samantha (the dog)

Hello Marianne (and Samantha),

You can certainly build a dog ramp as long as you like. Ideally, the ramp would be placed so that it is supported by the stairs underneath.

If not, some type of supportive framework is required. This may be necessary in your situation since you are talking about 13 stairs, which are probably too steep for a ramp that will rest on the stairs only.

In that case, you have a couple of options. You will either need to build a very long ramp, supported at intervals, to get a more shallow grade, or build some type of zigzag or spiral frame on which to place the ramp platform.

For an example of a supported ramp, you can look at our DIY dog bed ramps. Instead of solid plywood for the framing, you could use 1x2s, 2x2s or 1x3s.

Another alternative would be to create some kind of solid platform that you could hoist up manually with a rope and winch - rather like an old fashioned well with a bucket. Of course, all these options depend on the amount of space available around the stairs, availability of someone with the skills, and your budget.

We do recommend that you have some type of slats for gripping if possible. If you look at our instructions for building a simple plywood ramp, you will see what I mean.

Other alternatives for gripping materials are waterproof paint or varnish with sand in it, or rubber matting (car mats from an old car or salvage yard may be cheaper than buying new materials.)

When constructing the frame and adding the plywood for the ramp, we recommend that you pre-drill holes before adding screws, and to add a little glue to each screw before final fastening for extra strength. Nails can also be used but they tend to pull out over time.

Please let us know whether this information was helpful - thank you, and all the best with your ramp project.


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Feb 25, 2015
Steepness of ramp
by: Vicki Gentiman

If your dog is having trouble with the steepness of the stairs you may need to watch for the steepness of a ramp. Are there any hills near you where you can judge what poochie can handle best? I have trouble with even the steepness of an ADA ramp, which is no more than a 1:12 angle...but I am a two footer.

Have you tried a sling? You walk along side of the dog and use the sling to just give a bit of support -- you are not carrying the full weight of the dog. You can make a sling from a blanket or sheet. Just put it under your dogs belly up against the hips. When the dog moves its back feet, you just give support by holding the sling straight above the dog. It gives security for the dog, as well as stops the jar on its back when it has to hop to go up.

Just a thought or two...

Best of luck to you!

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