Stairs can be difficult for any dog to master, although small or elderly dogs can have an especially hard time climbing up and down. Dog ramps are one solution to help make it easier for your pet to navigate your home. You can purchase ramps at your local pet shop, or you can save a few quid and make a completely customised ramp at home for your canine companion.
Decide the width of the ramp based on the size of your dog. Small breeds, such as Chihuahuas and Pomeranians, will fit on a 30 cm (12 inch) wide ramp. Medium to large breeds such as Australian shepherds and Doberman Pinschers will be most comfortable on a 60 cm (24 inch) wide ramp.
Measure the appropriate width on the plywood sheet, and cut with a sharp saw to create an 2.4 m (8 foot) long base for the ramp. Use the saw to cut a corresponding piece from the 5 by 10 cm (2 by 4 inch) board. For example, if your ramp is 60 cm (24 inches) wide, measure and cut a 60 cm (24 inch) long piece from the board. This will serve as a foot for your ramp to keep it from moving as the dog walks on the ramp.
Spread a thin layer of carpet glue over the surface of the plywood, and cover the ramp with carpet. The carpet provides traction as the dog climbs the ramp, and the water-resistant nature of indoor/outdoor carpeting prevents the ramp from being ruined if the dog can't make it outside to relieve himself.
Fold the edges of the carpet over and staple them to the underside of the ramp to keep the carpet from shifting. Use short, 6 mm (1/4 inch) staples to keep the carpeting secure without poking through the ramp and injuring the dog.
Align the small wooden block along one short side of the ramp and attach it with screws driven through the wood at a 45-degree angle. This will keep the block firmly in place and anchor the ramp firmly against the bottom stair to keep it from shifting while the dog uses the newly constructed ramp.
Your dog may be reluctant to use the ramp, but encourage him to walk slowly beside you with his favourite treat. Reward the dog when he walks up the ramp without stopping.
Tips and warnings
- Your dog may be reluctant to use the ramp, but encourage him to walk slowly beside you with his favourite treat. Reward the dog when he walks up the ramp without stopping.