Many dogs love a car ride. Windows open, nose to the wind, the pleasure of a road trip is second to none for some of our canine companions.
But every time our dogs jump in and out of a car, especially SUV types, they put an enormous amount of pressure on their joints.
No matter how strong our dogs are, as they age these repetitive actions take a toll on the muscles, joints and bones.
In fact, as dogs get older many of them suffer joint problems. And they are often so severe that it restricts their ability to get in and out of a vehicle or even to walk.
But there’s no reason to stop enjoying time out on the road with your dog, even if they do have physical limitations. Ramps or steps designed to help our dogs get in and out of a car comfortably make it easy to continue to share life’s adventures.
Types of dog ramps and steps
Generally, dog ramps come in one of three designs;
- Fold up
Also, depending on your dog’s mobility it’s also possible to get steps that are fixed or telescopic.
Although there are many options on the market, choosing the right ramp or set of steps for you and your dog need not be difficult.
Things to consider when selecting dog ramps for cars
There are two essential pieces of information that you need before you begin your search to ensure that you get a suitable ramp.
The first is the height of your car. Ramps and steps extend to different lengths, and this affects the resulting slope of the ramp. If you have a high car and short ramp the slope will be steep and may affect your dog’s ability to climb it.
The second piece of information you need to know is the weight of your dog. If you have a small dog, you can get away without knowing it, but it’s essential if you have a large dog.
Ramps and steps are designed to support different weights. If you overload the ramp, it may collapse and cause your dog an injury.
Also, dog ramps do have some ‘bounce’ as dogs walk on them. So if you have a large dog look for a ramp that supports more weight. This will help minimise the movement because many dogs dislike it.
Although not essential, considering both your and your dog’s mobility is also a good thing to think about. Ramps can be bulky and heavy so if your mobility or strength isn’t the best look for a lightweight option.
We’ve picked out some of the best dog ramps for cars and thrown in a couple of steps too.
However, whatever size dog you’ve got and no matter what car you drive we’ve got you covered.
Dog ramps for cars Summary
If you want a quick pick, our top choice is the PetStep but for more detailed information, read on.
- Slip-resistant surface provides sure footing
- Easy fold for compact storage
- Built in molded handle for portability
This is a great ramp for larger dogs. It’s extra wide and can handle dogs up to two hundred pounds. As it’s tri-fold it’s compact and comes with an anti-slip surface, carry handle and extends to seventy-one inches.
- Ideal for larger dogs
- Skid-resistant surface
- Compact when folded
- Heavy at twenty-seven pounds
- Anti-slip surface is like sandpaper and rips easily
- Tricky to unfold
- Unique soft non-slip rubberized walking surface. Superior Traction in wet or dry conditions. No sandpaper or carpet making it soft on paws
- Universal non-slip grip fits all vehicles and edges. Holds any size dog
- Folds in half for easy storage and portability (molded ergonomic handles on both sides)- opens and closes in seconds (no hardware required)
This fold-up ramp from Petstep has a rubberised coating that provides superior traction in both wet and dry conditions.
It’s light but sturdy and is perfect for bigger dogs as it’s sturdy enough to support up to five hundred pounds.
- The non-slip surface is gentle on paws
- Fits all vehicles
- Folds in half for easy storage
- Easy to clean
- Light, only eighteen pounds
- Side support strap available for side doors
- Short which makes the incline quite steep
- Easy to trap fingers when folding
- Bulky and takes up a lot of room in the car when folded
These steps are a great alternative to a ramp. The ascent/descent angle is low so takes pressure off your dog’s joints.
Although Pet loader light is designed for cars, SUVs, vans, trucks, trailers or campers, they do provide alternative models, for side entry vehicles – Pet Loader mini and Pet Loader Ultralight.
- Shallow ascent and descent
- Available in four and five step versions
- Easily folded
- Sturdy and stable
- Non-slip carpet surface
- Somewhat narrow, some dogs may find it difficult to navigate
- Heavy when folded, around thrity pounds
- Steps are still harder on joints than a ramp
- DURABLE HANDY PET RAMP: Perfect ramp for pets (dog, cat, puppy) who need extra help climbing into the car, sofa, bed, couch, small stairs or ledges.
- DECORATIVE & STURDY: Built with a simple design offering a soft accent to any room. The ramp is also sturdy enough to hold up to 175 lbs.
- PAW-FRIENDLY GRIP CARPET: Crafted with an indoor/outdoor durable, paw-friendly grip carpet for added traction and comfort. The grip carpet is designed to keep your pet from slipping when on the ramp
This is a great ramp for minivans where a longer ramp just doesn’t fit. Sturdy adjustable and with a non-slip surface this small pet ramp folds for easy sorage and is lighter than a full ramp.
Perfect for elevations up to sixteen inches it only weighs eight pounds but is robust enough to support dogs up to one hundred and seventy-five pounds.
- Adjustable to three heights
- Folds flat for easy storage
- Non-slip surfacePerfect for short climbs inside and outside the house
- Relatively steep incline
- Does not sit flush – there’s a small gap that could cause issues especially for small dogs
- When used on the lowest setting the legs extend beyond the ramp causing a trip hazzard
- LIGHTWEIGHT: The Deluxe Telescoping Pet Ramp weighs 13 lb. making it easy to pick up and transport ; Can be used fully-extended for pick-up/SUV or grooming table
- DURABLE: The Deluxe Telescoping Pet Ramp can hold over 400 lb. giving even the largest dog a safe and comfortable walking surface
- TRACTION: The high traction walking surface provides a textured surface to help prevent slips, similar to truck beds and skate boards; perfect for older pets or pets with mobility issues
A great solution from Solvit this telescopic pet ramp is versatile and convenient. Wide at twenty inches with a high traction walking surface.
This Telescopic ramp is ideal for high elevations as it extends to eighty-seven inches. Weighing only eighteen pounds its’ never the less capable of supporting up to three hundred pounds in weight.
- Highly adjustable to provide a shallow incline
- Side door adapter available
- Wide non-slip walking surface
- Difficult to store in a small car
- Non-slip surface tears easily
- An instant, multi-use step that provides dogs and people better access to your SUV
- Install once--step twists under car/truck for storage, with no need to install and remove for each use
- Fits 1.25-inch and 2-inch hitch receivers and allows for 6 inches of height adjustment
If your dog is mobile but just needs a hand to make it into the back of your vehicle, then the Twistep is a great option.
Stored under the bumper when not in use it’s perfect for less able-bodied owners as there’s no lifting a ramp in and out of the car.
Holding up to four hundred pounds it’s a good choice for large more mobile dogs.
- Easy to use, no folding or lifting
- Non-slip surface
- Easy to install
- Tucks away when not in use
- Not suitable for all vehicles
- Locking pin is a weak point in the design
- Not as gentle on a dog’s joints as a ramp
- Easy fold for compact storage
- Rubberized bottom grippers for secure placement
- Raised edges help prevent slipping off the side
Our second choice from Pet Gear is a free-standing ramp. Freestanding ramps are a perfect option for larger dogs as they offer more stability than other options.
This ramp is wide with a non-slip surface that provides traction for paws as your dog walks up and down. As it’s free-standing, the height is fixed at twenty-three inches so measure the height of your vehicle carefully.
- Sturdy and stable
- Slip-resistane surface. A carpeted version is also available
- Folds easily and compacy
- Extra-wide allowing dogs to feel safe on the ramp
- The non-slip surface rips easily
- LOW-STRESS RAMP - This dog car ramp is designed to be a low-stress entry point for your pets, no matter their age or physical condition. Specifically recommended for pets suffering from old-age,...
- DURABLE LIGHTWEIGHT DESIGN - This lightweight 10-pound pet ramp with durable plastic construction enables you to transport and store with ease. The Kurgo Wander Ramp folds in half for space-saving...
- NON-SLIP SURFACE - The gentle incline and non-slip surface of dog ramp for car make it easy for your dog to enter any vehicle.
With a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects and a weight capacity of two hundred pounds, this is a good compact dog ramp from Kurgo,
Easy to open and close with a non-slip surface, it’s lightweight enough to use with one hand but sturdy enough to support dogs up to two hundred pounds.
- Lightweight at only ten pounds
- Easy to use and manoeuvre
- Narrow and steep
- Sandpaper non-slip surface is gritty and some dogs dislike it
- Doesn’t fold completely flat – so awkward to store
- EASIER FOR YOUR PETS: Getting in and out of a vehicle can become very difficult for a pet as it ages, which is why the Gen7Pets Natural-Step Ramp is so important. When a dog is going up a hill, the...
- COMFORTABLE FEEL: The Natural-Step Ramp with Poly-Grass allows the dog to get a grip and feel secure while walking up a soft surface that will not scratch its paw pads. The grass is also soft to the...
- LIGHTWEIGHT AND EASY: The Natural-Step Ramp is lightweight, easy to open and fold and offers one of the widest walking paths for a 72" long ramp making it easy for your pet to use. The soft...
This ramp from Gen7Pets is compact, easily portable and offers one of the widest walking paths for a ramp of its length.
The non-slip surface is soft on paws and provides excellent traction. Not only that but the artificial grass provides your car with a level of protection from scratches when it’s not in use.
Easy to open and close with an automatic locking catch to prevent the ramp from opening when not in use. This ramp is an excellent choice for dogs up to two hundred and fifty pounds.
- Folds flat for easy storage
- Soft on paws and provides a good non-slip surface
- Too narrow for larger dogs
- Only good for dogs up to two hundred and fifty pounds
Dog ramps for cars conclusion
A car ramp is a wise purchase, especially if you drive an SUV. The earlier in your dog’s life you invest in a ramp or set of steps the more you are protecting their joints from unnecessary strain.
As our dog’s age and develop life-altering conditions, like arthritis their ability to enjoy the great outdoors becomes limited.
But with easy access to the back of a car, there’s absolutely no reason you can’t still enjoy a road trip together and get out and explore.
Last update on 2018-09-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API