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Whether it's a senior dog or a young pup, getting into a car or SUV can be difficult for dogs. Few dogs I've known prefer to be picked up and loaded into a vehicle, especially larger canines. This is where a ramp comes in. They can make things easier for you and your furry traveling companion. To get you both on the road, I've rounded up the best dog ramps for cars and SUVs as well as tips to help you find the right one for you and your dog’s needs.
WeatherTech Folding Dog Ramp
Pet Gear Travel Lite Ramp
PetSafe Extra-Long Telescoping Ramp
If you’ve ever had a pooch who was particular about where he stepped, you might also know the difficulty of choosing the right dog ramp for your car or SUV. My beloved golden retriever, Simon, weighed in about 100 pounds. He was aware of his size and didn’t trust that all surfaces could carry his weight. When he lost a front leg to bone cancer, he lost the ability to hop into my truck for quick rides, but his weight was more than I wanted to lift several times a day. So, we tried several ramps. If they were flimsy or he didn’t feel supported, he would just jump off midway. That was usually a painful experience for both of us.
Along with personal experience, I weighed the reviews of many pet owners to see which ramps got the highest scores and which ones didn’t work out. I looked for repeating themes, positive and negative, and factored all of that in with my firsthand knowledge. If you have a ramp you really like, please add it in the comments and let us know what’s great about it.
Best Dog Ramps for Cars and SUVs: Reviews & Recommendations
Our Verdict on Dog Ramps for Cars and SUVs
Whether you have a larger dog or want to be sure that you have the most flexible length, our Best Overall selection, the WeatherTech Folding Dog Ramp, is a smart decision.
What To Consider When Buying The Best Dog Ramps for Cars and SUVs
Here's what you need to know before buying a dog ramp for cars and SUVs.
Types of Dog Ramps for Cars and SUVs
Fixed ramps come in one piece and don't fold down for storage. They are permanently fixed and therefore, not a great solution for cars and SUVs. Still, fixed ramps are an excellent option for home use, when your dog needs help climbing onto the furniture. They are meant for long-term use and are stable, durable, and easy to use.
As the name suggests, these ramps fold down for storage. They are more versatile and portable than fixed ramps. With them, you can save quite some space in the house or your vehicle. They are easier to transport and take with you on rides. Once folded, these ramps can fit most back seats and trunks. Some models even fold down two or three times.
These ramps are similar to foldable ones, which means they retract for easy transportation and storage. The only difference is the design. Telescopic ramps have panels that slide over one another and are extremely easy to use. They only require detaching the safety locks and sliding panels one under another.
Size and Shape
It's crucial to pick a dog ramp that is compatible with a particular vehicle model. It should be high and wide enough to fit perfectly on the car or SUV sidestep and truck bed. Compare the height of the vehicle with the height of the ramp. To avoid having an angle too steep, consider getting a longer ramp. Also, keep in mind that larger dogs need wider ramps than what small dogs need.
The best dog ramp should be strong enough to sustain the weight of your dog, especially when it comes to large breeds. You don't have to opt for the maximum weight, but you have to be sure that a ramp will support your dog. Heavier ramps are usually more stable and durable. It's still important to consider the portability of a particular ramp, though. The model should have a high weight capacity yet be light enough for easy transportation and storage.
Most ramps are made of plastic, metal, or wood. The plastic ones are lightweight and highly portable, but they can't sustain much weight. They are also less durable because plastic is more prone to damage. Metal ramps are heavier, sturdier, and offer more stability. They have a higher weight capacity and prove to be more durable, but they are less portable. Wooden ramps are the heaviest ones and more suitable for home use.
It's crucial to pick a dog ramp that is portable enough to meet your needs. The foldable and telescopic ramps are more convenient for those who'll be moving and using their ramps frequently. They take less storage space and offer user-friendly features for more convenience on the road. Fixed ramps are not that portable at all, but they are ideal for home purposes. They are heavier, more stable, and last longer.
- Durability. Consider how often you'll be using a dog ramp. If you only plan on using it occasionally, you can go for lighter and less expensive options. If you need one for frequent use for both indoors and outdoors, a heavier and more durable ramp might be a better solution.
- Surface. It's important to have a ramp with a non-slip surface so your dog can walk on it securely. Paws need something to grip on, or your dog won't be able to climb the ramp and might even injure itself. The surface should be rubberized or covered in carpeting or other skid-resistant materials.
- Safety Features. You might want to consider getting a few accessories to improve safety on the road. Reflective markings are one such item that increases visibility on the road, especially during night time. Safety latches are also convenient because they keep the ramp folded down. A carry handle on the ramp is a safety feature for the owner and allows for safe and easy ramp carrying.
Benefits of Dog Ramps for Cars and SUVs
- Helps dogs with health issues. Dog ramps are beneficial for breeds that have health issues such as arthritis and musculoskeletal pain. They reduce the stress on the joints and ease the pain of jumping in and out of the vehicle.
- Prevents injuries. Even if a dog doesn't have health issues yet, a ramp might be beneficial. Some breeds have an increased risk of joint problems, mainly Great Danes, Labradors, Golden Retrievers, and Bernese Mountain dogs. With dog car ramps, you can prevent these and other injuries.
- Increase in mobility. Senior dogs experience a decrease in their mobility due to health issues, which can limit their ability to jump. A dog ramp is handy in these situations, as well as for supporting small breed dogs who can't reach the bed of the vehicle.
- Easier transportation. With a dog ramp, you can take your dog anywhere with you. You don't have to pick up and lift your pet or leave it at home. Dog ramps mount on the side of the car or SUV or in the bed of the truck, and offer easy hands-free transportation.
Dog Ramps for Cars and SUVs Pricing
- $50-$70: Less expensive dog ramps are mostly shorter, narrower, and have less capacity. They are an excellent option for those with vehicles that sit lower and small-breed dog owners, but not perfect for those looking for heavy-duty ramps. $70 and up: For some extra cash, you can get super safe dog ramps designed for long-term use. At this price point, dog ramps are more secure and offer some extra features such as side handles, tri-folded design, and more.
- Always check to confirm that the ramp surface is conducive to aiding your dog’s grip. If necessary, you may need to add an additional surface cover to make it easier for your dog to walk on the ramp.
- Always use care when setting up or breaking down a dog ramp. Many of them are weighty or might have pinch points that can lead to injury.
- Keep in mind that you may need to buy a longer dog ramp if you find that steep inclines are more challenging for your dog.
You've got questions. The Drive has answers.
Q: Which dogs can benefit from a dog ramp?
A: A dog ramp can be ideal for a range of dogs including senior dogs and short-legged dogs such as dachshunds and corgis that might have mobility issues or struggle otherwise to easily climb into a car or SUV.
Q: What’s the benefit of a dog ramp over collapsable or adjustable stairs?
A: A dog ramp offers a smooth gradient from one level to another. You may find that a gentle slope is far easier for older dogs or those with shorter legs to climb as opposed to stairs which can still be too high for short-legged dogs.
Q: How do I determine the right ramp for my dog?
A: You’ll need to keep two factors in mind: the width and height of your car’s door and your dog’s weight. You want a ramp that’s sturdy enough to accommodate your dog’s weight but won’t put unnecessary pressure on your vehicle’s frame or scratch it. Also keep in mind that the right ramp is also one that you can easily assemble and store without struggling.
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