Parents of big dogs know that their fur babies age quickly and start having problems jumping. Do yourself and your dog a favor by helping them get in and out of your vehicle with a good, heavy-duty pet ramp. With proper training, it can be one of the best investments you can make for your dogs' quality of life.
My good girl started having a hard time jumping up into the truck when she was around 10 years old. Lifting her into the backseat of my full-size truck was difficult and dangerous for both of us – a Newfoundland mix is no 5-pound Chihuahua! I knew I had to come up with another solution so she could continue enjoying that most coveted of doggie activities: a ride in the truck.
How Do I Know If the Pet Ramp Will Work for My Vehicle?
I began by looking at local pet stores for a sturdy ramp or steps. Some problems were immediately apparent. One is that the pet stores did not have the ramps or steps set up in a display so that I could visualize how exactly it would work for my vehicle or how the dog would use the product. The boxes typically had no pictures, just measurements, which didn’t help when imagining how the product would actually function. This was especially true when moving parts were involved.
The three most important specifications to take note of are:
- WIDTH: Measure the width of your door sill first thing! If the ramp is too wide, you won’t be able to fit it correctly and it will not be stable. This is not as important when using a rear hatch but always measure first.
- LENGTH: The taller your vehicle door sills from the ground, the longer the ramp will need to be in order to keep a slight enough angle for your dog to be able to climb it comfortably.
- WEIGHT RATING: This one is very important! Make sure you get a ramp that is rated for at LEAST 20% more than the weight of your dog. So, if your dog weights 100lbs, make sure the ramp is rated for at least 120lbs. Don’t take the chance of your dog falling.
Most Dog Ramps Aren't Really Heavy Duty Enough for Big Dogs
Another problem with shopping in pet stores is that the selections were limited, and by limited, I mean for small dogs only. For whatever reason, the pet stores seem to completely ignore big dogs when stocking their shelves. Maybe because the products take up so much space? All I know is that my loving girl seemed like a super-sized freak in a world of teacup poodles when I tried to find a product appropriate for her.
Local Stores Were Overpriced and Underrated, So I Looked Online
Realizing that pet stores just don’t cater to big dogs, I decided to take to the internet for my large cuddlemuffin’s needs. One thing I really like about shopping online is being able to read the product reviews… Dog ramp after dog ramp was quickly excluded after a few seconds of reading revealed that “my 50-pound dog broke the ramp” or “My 60-pound puppy bent it on the first try.” Many helpful reviewers also posted pictures of the ramps in use so I knew exactly how they might work (or might not work) with my dog/truck combination.
The Large Solvit Deluxe Telescoping Pet Ramp for the Win
Eventually I decided on the Solvit Deluxe Telescoping Pet Ramp (Large 39 – 72 inches long) after researching all the reviews and pictures online. Solvit does make an even bigger ramp (X-large 47 – 87 inches long) but I went with the smaller size because it could bear more weight – up to 400 pounds. This ramp is definitely strong enough to support my 100-pound Newfie! After using the product for a year, I can say the shorter length (and slightly narrower width) makes it easier to use as well because I rarely have over 7 feet of space available next to my truck for loading up the dog.
The ramp collapses to reduce the length and it stores easily on the floor in the back seat. Now that she is almost 12, a good ramp is more important than ever for helping her to get in the truck, and I am thrilled with how the Solvit Deluxe Telescoping Pet Ramp has performed!
Take the Time to Train Your Dog to Safely Use the Pet Ramp!
It’s very important to teach your dog to safely climb the ramp slowly, and have good control of them with a leash. I highly recommend first laying the ramp on the ground and training your dog to comfortably walk across it slowly to get used to the texture and length. My doggo wanted to run along the ramp at first and that can lead to slipping/getting a paw off the side instead of on the ramp.
Take the time to do it right the first time and both you and your dog will be extremely happy with your ramp purchase for years to come.