June 8, 2021

Best Car Ramps for Dogs to Get into Cars -
Vet-approved Choices in 2021

Vet-approved by Dr. Ivana Crnec, DVM

Constantly jumping in and out of a vehicle, even though it might not be that high of a jump, can wear on the joints over time. It can also cause all sorts of injuries right on the spot if done incorrectly. [1.]

By not using a ramp, you may cause problematic knee or hip problems for your pup in the long run. (Or hurt your own back lifting your dog!)

Especially if your dog already has arthritis or joint problems, the last thing you would want to do is to cause them any more strain or issues. The car ramp gives them the support they need to get in and out of the car easily and with the least amount of strain possible.

The simple solution of a ramp can help eliminate these issues and make taking the car ride to the dog park much more enjoyable.

Let’s get started.

golden sitting

Dog Car Ramps - Quick Guide

We have a more detailed guide coming up, but if you're in a hurry, here are the most important factors to consider when looking for the perfect dog ramp:

  • Length of the ramp for the perfect 18–20-degree incline
  • Width and weight limit to match your dog's size
  • Assembly and weight of the ramp for easy use
  • Slip-free surface to prevent accidents
  • Safety and durability

* We select and review all products independently; however, we may earn a small commission on purchases made through our links. Learn more.

Pro tip! Always remember that your dog will probably not like the idea of a ramp if it's not used to using one. However, it just takes a little training and some treats, and your dog will be climbing the ramp like a champ in no time.

5 Best Car Ramps for Dogs To Get Into Cars - Vet-Approved Choices in 2021

These dog ramps can help your dog climb safely inside your family van or head into his place at the back without jumping too high, avoiding too much strain on their joints, and if you help them up—avoiding too much strain on your back.

Let's have a look at the top 4 vet- and dog owner-approved ramps for your dog to get into the car!

Best dog ramp for SUV

Best Telescoping Dog Ramp & The Premium Choice:
PetSafe Happy Ride Extra Long Telescoping Dog Ramp

         Key features

  • Length 47-87 inches
  • Width 20 inches
  • Weight limit 300 lbs.
  • Ramp weight 18 lbs.
  • High-traction surface
  • Side rails
  • Handle on the side for carrying
  • Locks with a safety latch when stored

PetSafe Happy Ride Extra Long Telescoping Dog Ramp - Portable Pet Ramp - Great for Cars, Trucks and SUVs - Durable Aluminum Frame Supports up to 300 lb - Side Rails and High Traction Surface Design

Our review:

This extra-long telescoping dog ramp from PetSafe is perfect for SUVs because its adjustable length allows you to ensure a safe incline even in bigger cars with higher elevations. It’s highly popular, and dog owners, as well as their dogs, love its usability, safety and durability. See what dog owners say about this ramp.

The ramp is wide enough for your dog to feel safe when using it, and the side rails offer extra protection from slipping and falling. It also has four rubber feet that keep it stable when your dog is using the ramp.

The weight limit is 300 lbs., so it’s suitable for large breeds as well. Large and older dogs will also appreciate the 20-inch width, as it makes them feel safer when climbing the ramp.

The materials used in the ramp are plastic and aluminum, so it’s both lightweight and durable. The ramp itself weighs only 18 lbs., so it’s easy to move and carry around. There is even a handle on the side for easy lifting.

Pros

+ Adjustable length for different-size cars
+ The width gives large and older dogs a sense of security
+ Suitable for large dogs (weight limit 300 lbs.)
+ Lightweight and portable
+ Non-slip surface and guard rails for safety
+ Sturdy rubber feet to fold in place

Cons

- The slight bounce may distress very skittish dogs

Best Budget Choice:
Pet Gear Full Length Ramp

         Key features

  • Length 71 inches
  • Width 16 inches
  • Weight limit 200 lbs.
  • Ramp weight 15 lbs.
  • Rubber feet to keep it in place
  • Foldable for easy storage
  • Non-slip surface for safety
  • Handle for carrying

Pet Gear Tri-Fold Ramp, Supports up to 200lbs, 71 in. Long, Patented Compact Easy-Fold Design, Two Models to Choose from, Safety Tether Included

Our review:

This Pet Gear dog ramp is the best cost-conscious choice for SUVs. It is 71 inches long, so it’s suitable for giving your dog an easy incline even when used with big vehicles. Check the latest price here.

Unfortunately, it’s not adjustable, but it folds in three for easy storage.

The ramp has rubber feet, a tether cord that holds it in place, and a non-slip surface to provide safety. We would like to see side rails to offer more security, but it’s a good and sturdy ramp for a reasonable price. The weight limit is 200 lbs., so it will be perfect for most dogs.

The ramp itself is lightweight and easy to carry around since it folds in three and has a molded handle for carrying.

Pros

+ Good length for SUVs and other big cars
+ It comes with a tether cord to hold it in place
+ Easily folded for storage
+ Lightweight and easily portable
+ Slip-resistant surface for safety
+ Rubber feet keep the ramp in place

Cons

- No side rails
- Not as steady as some other ramps

Best Dog Ramps for Older Dogs

Top Choice:
Pet Gear Travel Lite Ramp with SupertraX Surface

         Key features

  • Length 71 inches
  • Width 19.5 inches
  • Weight limit 200 lbs.
  • Ramp weight 27 lbs.
  • SupertraX mat for security and comfort
  • Raised edges
  • Rubber grippers on the bottom
  • Folds in three for easy storage

Pet Gear Travel Lite Ramp with supertraX Surface for Maximum Traction, 4 Models to Choose from, 42-71 in. Long, Supports 150-200 lbs, Find The Best Fit for Your Pet, Black/Green

Our review:

This Pet Gear Tri-Fold ramp is ideal for older dogs. It is long enough that the incline doesn’t become too steep even when used with big vehicles. See what pet owners have to say about this ramp.

The material on the surface is SupertraX mat, which enables your senior dog to have secure footing. The surface feels secure because applying pressure to it by stepping on the mat provides a good grip and sense of safety. The mat is removable for easy cleaning, and the raised edges also provide safety from slipping or falling.

The width is 19.5 inches which is another safety factor for old dogs and make them feel more confident climbing the ramp.

The ramp has rubber grippers that keep it securely in place and a safety tether so you can fasten it to your car. The weight limit is 200 lbs., so it’s suitable for most large dogs too.

The ramp folds in three for compact storage and has a handle for easy carrying. At 27 lbs., it’s a bit heavier than other dog ramps of this size, which is understandable as the surface material is thicker.

Pros

+ Safe and reliable
+ Easy for older dogs to climb
+ Wide enough for bigger dogs too
+ SupertraX mat offers good traction
+ Long enough for a low incline
+ Suitable for small and large breeds
+ Stays securely in place
+ Easy to clean

Cons

- Somewhat heavy (because of surface material)

Best Dog Ramps for Large Dogs

Top Choice:
PetSTEP Original Folding Pet Ramp

         Key features

  • Length 70 inches
  • Width 17 inches
  • Weight limit 500 lbs.
  • Ramp weight 18.5 lbs.
  • Rubberized non-slip surface
  • Durable materials
  • Folds in half
  • Molded handles

Petstep GRAPHITE (66222)

Our review:

This PetSTEP Original Folding Pet Ramp can hold up to 500 lbs., so it's sturdy and secure even under the largest dog breeds. Still, the ramp itself is pretty lightweight at 18.5 lbs. for a big ramp like this. See the latest price here.

It is easy to fold out and place securely on the back or side of your car. Heavy-duty rubber grip on both ends keeps the ramp securely in place when it's being used. There is very little bounce when large dogs walk up and down the ramp, so it's a good choice for big canines trying a ramp for the first time.

Because it's 70 inches long, it allows for a mild slope for large breeds even if the back of the car is at a high level.

The rubberized and ridged surface is soft or paws, yet safe and prevents dogs from slipping and falling. Also, the material is very easy to keep clean, as you can just wash it with soap and rinse with water.

Pros

+ Paw-friendly surface material
+ Secure and prevents slipping
+ Easy to use and keep clean
+ Long enough for big vehicles
+ Stays in place securely
+ Lightweight and has handles for carrying
+ It folds in two for compact storage

Cons

- Very sturdy, and therefore pretty heavy as well
- On rare occasions, users have found the surface slippery

Best Doggie Ramps for Small Dogs

Top Choice:
PetSafe Happy Ride Folding Pet Ramp

         Key features

  • Length 62 inches
  • Width 16 inches
  • Weight limit 150 lbs.
  • Ramp weight 10 lbs.
  • Side rails for safety
  • High-traction surface
  • Rubber feet to hold the ramp in place
  • Fold in half and locks for compact storage
  • Made in the USA

PetSafe Happy Ride Folding Pet Ramp, 62 Inch, Portable Lightweight Dog and Cat Ramp, Great for Cars, Trucks and SUVs - Side Rails and High Traction Surface

Our review:

This PetSafe Happy Ride Folding Pet Ramp is a fantastic choice for small and medium-sized dogs. Since smaller dogs don’t need a heavy-duty ramp, there is no point in carrying one that is heavy and bulky. This ramp is very lightweight at only 10 lbs. while still supporting pets up to 150 lbs. in weight. Check what dog owners say about this ramp.

Because it’s lightweight, has handles, folds in half, and locks when folded, it’s portable and easy to carry around.

The high-traction surface ensures safety and doesn’t let your dog slip. In addition, the ramp has high side rails, which help your little pooch feel safe while climbing up or down.

To add to security, the rubber feet hold the ramp securely in place while in use.

Pros

+ Cost-friendly
+ Extremely lightweight for easy carrying
+ Side rails to make your pup feel safe
+ The four rubber feet keep the ramp securely in place
+ Easy to keep clean and hygienic
+ Replacement available for non-slip surface

Cons

- Not stable for larger dogs

Buyer's Guide –
What to Look for in a Dog Ramp for a Car?

To make an adequate and educated dog ramp choice, you need to consider several important factors and features. These are the main things you need to bear in mind when reviewing dog ramps for cars.

1. Types of dog ramps

There are different ramp models. In fact, there are two basic types – ramps and stairs. While stairs are more practical for home use because they cannot be folded and stored, ramps are better suited for cars.

Some dogs might prefer stairs over ramps simply because they are more used to climbing up and downstairs. However, the good news is you can teach your dog how to use a ramp.

2. Length, width, and weight

The length of the ramp you need is determined by your car. Higher cars and SUVs would need longer ramps. If using a shorter ramp on a high car, the angle of the ramp will be too steep, and your dog might not feel comfortable walking.

best ramp for dogs to get into car

The width of the ramp depends on your dog's size. Smaller dogs will do perfectly fine with narrower ramps, while larger dogs need wider designs.

The weight of the ramp is important in terms of portability. For frequent usage, it is more practical to choose a lightweight ramp.

3. Weight limit

Before making the purchase, weigh your dog and compare the number with the weight limit displayed on the product.

Every ramp has a different weight limit. Sometimes, even sturdy-looking ramps might not be designed for bigger loads. If the ramp breaks, your dog might get injured or scared of using ramps in the future.

If you have more than one dog, choose a ramp with a weight limit bigger than your highest-weighting dog.

4. Assembly 

There are three types of car ramps for dogs in terms of assembly – fixed, foldable, and telescopic. Each type has its pros and cons. Therefore, you need to choose the assembly type that fits your needs best.

Fixed ramps 

Fixed ramps are one-piece ramps. They do not fold and do not extend, making them a better option for home use than for cars and SUVs. When used at home, they are stable and durable.

Foldable ramps 

As the name explains, foldable ramps can be folded for easy storage and simply opened for use. They are space-friendly and easily portable. Usually, ramps like these are two or three times as long as their folded size once opened up.

Telescopic ramps 

Telescopic ramps are similar to foldable ramps in terms of storage and ease of transportation. Telescopic ramps feature several panels that slide and are connected with safety locks. Most telescopic ramps are simple to use – all you have to do is detach the locks and slide the panels.

5. Incline

The ideal incline for a dog ramp is 18 to 20 degrees. If the ramp has a lower incline, it will have to be longer so it can reach the car's height. The longer the ramp is, the heavier it will be.

On the other hand, if the ramp is too steep, more than the suggested 18-20 degrees, it can be dangerous for your dog.

Plus, many dogs are afraid of heights and, if feeling insecure, might refuse to use the ramp, thus defeating the purpose of buying a dog ramp in the first place.

ramp for dog

6. Traction

Your dog's paws need to grab on something while climbing up and down the ramp. If the surface is too slippery, your dog can accidentally injure itself. Alternatively, some dogs may even refuse to use the ramp altogether.

Look for a ramp featuring a rubberized climbing surface or surface covered with some sort of non-skid material

To avoid these issues, look for a ramp featuring a rubberized climbing surface or surface covered with some sort of non-skid material. The non-skid material should be well-attached to the ramp basis yet easily removable for cleaning purposes.

7. Safety 

Safety is one of the most important factors when choosing the best car ramp for your dog. First of all, the overall construction should be stable and sturdy. The clasps of the locking mechanism need to be made of an enduring material and must hold the ramp securely.

Secondly, the step angle should be gradual to prevent your dog from slipping. If the angle is not suited, your dog may refuse to use the ramp altogether. Another important feature is the non-slipping factor. The surface of the ramp must be covered with a non-slip material.

Finally, the bottom grip of the ramp should be non-slipping. That way, once you set the dog ramp, you will be sure it will stay in its place.

8. Durability

Since the car ramp will be used outdoors, it needs to be made of a material capable of withstanding different environmental factors, mainly sun, and water. Ideally, the car ramp should be corrosion and rust-free.

If the ramp becomes rusty or corroded, your dog can easily injure itself while using it. To avoid these, you will either have to replace the ramp or invest in a more expensive but high-quality model.

9. Portability 

In terms of portability, you need to consider three practical factors –

  • ease of assembly,
  • weight, and
  • side handles.

Ideally, the ramp needs to be easy to assemble and re-assemble, lightweight, and feature side handles for easy carrying.

10. Easy maintenance 

It goes without saying that you will need to keep the ramp clean. Your dog will be stepping on it, which means it can get really dirty really fast. Ideally, the car ramp will be water-resistant, and if featuring non-slip mats, they should be removable.

11. Price

Think about how much you need a ramp and how frequently you will be using it. If you need it every once in a while, you can get a cheaper model.

However, if you plan on using it daily or even weekly, it is advisable to invest in a more expensive ramp that can withstand prolonged and intense use.

The price usually determines the quality, so if you make a bigger investment at first, it will probably pay off in the long run.

Does Your Dog Need a Ramp to Get in and Out of the Car?

Basically, every dog and dog owner would benefit from using a car ramp. The list includes small dogs that cannot get in and out of cars on their own and big dogs that theoretically can but should not because of their high risk of developing joint issues later on.

Every dog and dog owner would benefit from using a car ramp.
- Dr. Ivana Crnec, DVM

Car ramps are also beneficial to dogs with specific health issues that lead to mobility limitations and hyperactive dogs that get overly excited and can easily injure themselves jumping into the car.

Finally, keep in mind that sometimes it might be you who needs a dog ramp. If you have a health issue that prevents you from lifting your pet, having a ramp is the easiest solution for getting your dog into the car.

How to Teach Your Dog to Use a Ramp

dog in car

Even the best ramp won't work if your dog refuses to use it. However, do not feel disappointed if your dog refuses to use the ramp the first few tries. Dogs are creatures of habits, and although inquisitive, they can be reluctant when it comes to new things.

It may take some time and patience, but you can teach your dog how to use the ramp.

For a successful teaching process, just follow these four steps:

1. Place the ramp on the ground, and use treats to lure your dog into stepping on the ramp. Repeat this step several times over the course of several days. Although the ramp is positioned flat, getting your dog to stay on it is considered great progress – the goal is to get your dog used to the ramp.

2. Once your dog gets the hang of stepping on the ramp, stand in front of your dog and give it the "come" command. This step needs several repetitions too.

3. When your dog feels comfortable stepping and walking across the ramp (even without your "come" command), you can start gradually increasing the ramp's incline. As mentioned, some dogs are afraid of heights, so this increase needs to be slow and gradual.

4. Do not elevate the ramp before your dog gets comfortable with using it. Think of the incline increase as a game with levels. You do not proceed to the next one until the current level is finished.

 

With these steps, your dog will learn how to use the car ramp in a couple of days. Once again, patience is vital. Using treats and positive reinforcement can speed up the learning process and are important for strengthening your mutual bond.

FAQ On Car Ramps For Dogs

Especially if you are a first-timer looking into getting a car ramp for your dog, you might have a few questions about the ramps, from specific measurements to types. Here are your FAQ answered:

Why Do I Need A Ramp For My Dog To Get Into The Car?

Well, you probably already know why because you are reading this and looking for a ramp. Nowadays it common to have an SUV or another high-built type of car. Smaller dogs might no even be able to jump up to get into the back of the cat or the back seat, and for larger dogs, the jump can be difficult and cause strain on their joints. Older dogs often experience pain when jumping, and you might not always be able to help them out by lifting them up or down.

Using a ramp for exiting and entering the car is safer for your dog and makes things easier for the owner. You don't have to lift your dog and get yourself dirty after a muddy play in the park. And with bigger and heavier dogs you might not even be able to pick them up.

With an easy-to-use ramp loading and unloading your pets from the vehicle is easier, quicker and safer. That's why.

How Do I Fold My Ramp?

Depending on the brand you get, what type of ramp you get, and its construction, to disassemble and fold it up for stowaway can differ. Some ramps fold in half. Others fold together three times, and there are others that stack up on top of one another.

You also have the option of getting a sliding/telescoping dog ramp with an internal sliding mechanism. They are simple to use and highly adjustable—you can lock the position when you've achieved optimal height.

Is It Easy To Move?

Whether you are transferring the ramp from one car to another, you should first check whether or not the ramp has wheels or a carrying handle so you can easily move it around. Be sure to choose a lightweight ramp to make transfers effortless.

What Is It Made Out Of?

The type of material is also an important feature to consider when making a choice between ramps.

PVC ramps are durable and long-lasting. They are also waterproof and easy to clean. Unfortunately, they aren't as durable as ones made out of metal, for example.

Metallic ramps are durable and more stable. But they are definitely heavier to transfer from one car to another or to move around. Plus, they rust much easier when left out in the rain.

What Are The Important Measurements?

Knowing ultimately which size to get for your dog is the most important. Here is our helpful guide:

Climber Slope (26 degrees): If you have a young and healthy dog with minimal joint issues, a steep incline won't be an issue.

Normal Slope (22 degrees): For the middle road, a 22-degree slope is perfect for dogs who have some minor issues or impairment or are simply getting older.

Easy Slope (18 degrees): This ramp is the target area for dogs who already have bone or joint problems like arthritis.

You need to measure the hight of the back of your car and figure out the length you need the ramp to be according to which type of incline you think is ideal for your dog.

If you have an another vehicle with a different height or you will be using the ramp in various situations, you should choose a telescoping ramp which can adjust to different heights.

Summing Up – Best Dog Ramp for Cars

Car ramps for dogs can be something you definitely need or something that will just make your life easier. If you have a big car like an SUV, it will protect your dog's back and joints from jumping up and down when entering and getting out of the car. Also, older dogs may need the ramp if they can't jump that high anymore, and you can't lift them.

In addition, the ideal car ramp will make life easier for both you and your dog. Just imagine that mud-covered furry friend of yours after playing in the park after rain. Wouldn't it be nicer to just let them climb in by themselves than lift that dirt-covered furball into your arms?

Just remember to choose a model that is practical and durable. It is also important that your dog feels comfortable and secure while using the ramp and that it's practical and convenient for the owner, too.

Matt Clayton

Matt Clayton

Chief Editor & Founder of PetHairPatrol

Matt is the founder of PetHairPatrol.com and has years of experience helping pet owners keep their homes clean. He's been featured in publications like Reader's Digest, Money, and BestLifeOnline. When this neat freak is not searching for better ways to get rid of pet hair, dander, and other messes pets leave behind, he's usually enjoying outdoors with his two (hairy) Goldens: Ben and Jerry. Read more.

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