How to Make Stairs for Dogs

Written by kasandra rose
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How to Make Stairs for Dogs
Large and small breeds of dog can benefit from pet stairs. (Rottweiler image by Vito Kac from

As dogs get older, they sometimes can't jump up on the bed or onto a favourite chair or perch any longer. Rather than having to wait for their owners to lift them onto a bed, dog stairs allow the pet a measure of independence. Dog stairs are also useful following pet injuries, allowing the dog to avoid exerting itself.

A stair is composed of three parts, the steps themselves, the risers and the stringers. The stringers are the sides of the stairs that support the step. The riser is the height of the step. This project is a two-person job.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Yardstick
  • Marker
  • Plywood
  • Safety glasses
  • Circular saw
  • Hand saw
  • Two-by-two wood
  • Screws
  • Drill with Phillip's head bit
  • Carpet
  • Box cutter

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  1. 1

    Measure the height of the bed or landing and subtract six inches to determine the height of the stairs. Ensure that there is one foot of horizontal space available for each six inches of the stair height. So, if your bed is two feet high, the stairs will be 18 inches high and three feet long.

  2. 2

    Lay a piece of plywood on a flat surface to be used to create the two stringers. Measure, mark and cut a rectangle as long as your stairs and twice the height plus 12 inches using the circular saw. In this example ,that will be three feet long and 48 inches high.

  3. 3

    Measure six inches from a corner on the 42-inch side of the plywood rectangle and make a mark. Move to the diagonally opposite corner and measure six inches from that corner on the 42-inch side and make a mark.

  4. 4

    Draw a line between these two marks on the plywood and cut along the line. These are your rough-cut stringers; the stairs-shape will be cut out from the diagonal side.

  5. 5

    Cut out one foot by six inch triangles from the diagonal side of the stringer to finish shaping the stringer. Starting at the point where the diagonal side and the six inch side intersect, draw a one foot line parallel to the bottom of the stringer. Turn the yardstick 90 degrees and draw a six-inch line back to the diagonal edge. Cut the triangle using a hand saw. You have shaped the first step on your stair.

  6. 6

    Continue cutting triangles out of the diagonal of the riser until you reach the top. Start each one-foot stair from the endpoint of the previous six-inch cut. In this example you will cut three triangles because there are three steps.

  7. 7

    Cut two 12-inch long pieces of two-by-two for each step in the stair; in this example, you would cut six pieces. Screw one two-by-two on the inside of each stringer aligned with the top of the step for each step in the stair. Insert the screws through the plywood and into the two-by-twos.

  8. 8

    Cut two two-by-twos, each three inches shorter than the highest step. Align these two-by-twos with the vertical edge of the back of the stringers, on the inside of the stringer and flush with the ground. Screw the plywood to the two-by-twos.

  9. 9

    Cut two two-by-twos, four inches long. Attach them vertically to the front edge of the stringers on the inside.

  10. 10

    Cut one 12-inch-by-15-inch step from the plywood board for each step in your stair. Stand the stringers, insides together, and have an assistant hold them upright. Screw the steps into the two-by-two supports you installed earlier on both sides of the stringer.

  11. 11

    Cut a 6-inch-by-15-inch plywood board and screw it to the two-by-two riser supports at the front of the stair.

  12. 12

    Cut a piece of plywood to fit the back of the stairs. Screw the plywood to the two-by-two supports at the back of the stairs.

  13. 13

    Cut the carpeting to match the sides of the stairs using the box cutter. Cut out a piece of carpet to match the back of the stairs.

  14. 14

    Staple the carpet to the sides of the stairs every few inches all around the perimeter. Staple the carpet to the back of the stairs in the same way.

  15. 15

    Cut a piece of carpet 19 inches wide and 20 inches long. Staple the carpet up the bottom riser, over the bottom step and under the step.

  16. 16

    Fold the carpet over the edges, then fold the raw edges under and staple to the sides of the steps, giving the carpet a finished edge. Trim against the riser so the carpet fits neatly. Cut diagonally at the stair corner, and fold the edges under.

  17. 17

    Continue carpeting the stairs in this manner.

Tips and warnings

  • If you have a small dog the width and depth of each step can be reduced, reducing the overall size of the stairs.
  • Instead of carpeting, you can sand, prime and paint the stairs. If you use wood instead of plywood, you can instead sand and stain the stairs.
  • Consider adding protective feet to the stairs to prevent scratches on the floor.
  • High stairs should be secured against a wall so they don't tip.
  • Wear safety glasses when cutting.

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