How to Decide Between Dog Ramps and Dog Stairs and Steps

So, you want to make the life of your dog much more convenient and reduce the risk of injury and harm; congratulations, you have come to the right place! However, many dog owners and dog lovers have no idea how to decide between dog stairs, dog ramps, or dog steps. Let’s get right to it!

Why Do Pet Owners Need Dog Stairs, Ramps or Steps?

If you are considering dog stairs, ramps, or steps than you are taking the right step to reducing the possible dangers of not having them. There a couple of reasons why pet owners decide they may need a pet ramp or stairs:

  • Small puppies or breed of dogs that cannot climb inside the car, ontop of the bed, or onto high areas.
  • To prevent stress on dog joints and hips.
  • Dogs with hip or back problems.
  • Senior or dogs with arthritics that may need assistance.

One of the primary reasons why a dog owner considers dog stairs or ramps is due to the potential harm of joint pain or back pain. Several studies suggest that jumping or climbing onto steep surfaces can critically harm an animals back, joint, or hip.

With this in mind, further research shows that dogs that are extremely active and spend a lot of time jumping onto high places and jumping back down may experience joint or hip pain in the later years of their life. This possibility can be reduced by incorporating dog stairs and ramps into the dog’s way of life.

The most common problem that dogs experience is the ability to jump into cars that are higher than normal such as SUV’s or Trucks. With this in mind, owners that may have difficult carrying their dog, bending over, etc. may benefit from a light weight dog stair or ramp that gives the dog easy accessibility inside the vehicle.

Dog Steps and Dog Stairs vs Dog Ramps: Which one is the best fit for you and your dog?

Before we get into the details of each one, we want to note that every case is different and it requires a bit of research to ensure the right fit for you dog. Let us discuss different factors so you can get a better idea of which dog stair or ramp is the best fit for your furry family.

Dog Steps and Dog Stairs: The Breakdown

The most common question people have is on the difference between dog steps and dog stairs. However, there is no real distinctive difference. The name is used interchangeably. With that said, pet stairs are the perfect companion to any family whose dog is familiar and comfortable climbing up stairs. However, it is not common that many dog’s due to their small frame cannot climb up or down stairs or, may have a fear of stairs. Therefore, before you buy steps or stairs it is important to see if your dog can climb human stairs. For a fan-favorite set of stairs you can check out:

Pet Studio Non Slip Pet Ramp Coverts Steps to Ramps

If your dog is not a fan of steps or stairs, than a ramp is obviously, the better choice, which we will discus later. For now, let’s talk about the two different sizes of pet stairs and the benefit of each.

Deciding On The Best Dog Step/Stair For You and Your Dog

Dog stairs and steps come in a variety of heights and sizes, however, they usually come in 2 to 4 steps. With this said, deciding on the best dog step or stair for your dog involves some careful observation. First, measure your dog and do your research on what other people are saying about a certain set of pet stairs for a particular size of dog.

Secondly, where will your dog be getting onto the most? The vehicle, the bed, etc. are all factors to take into consideration when purchasing a set of pet stairs or dog steps. Here are a couple of key components to look into when purchasing the best pet stairs or ramps.

  • Height of the dog steps
  • Depth
  • Width
  • Materials used
  • The bottom grip (to make sure your dog does not slide off)

It is important to note the size of regular steps that your dog may particularly be used to. For example, the height of individual outdoor or indoor steps ranges from 6.5 inches to 7.5 inches. With this in mind, the depth is also extremely important. If your dog is bigger, or wider in frame, a small depth of range may cause harm or overall, may be difficult to use. Each step has a depth of 10 to 12 inches. Another thing to take into consideration is the material of the dog step or dog stairs. Foam steps tend to be really useful and a fan-favorite among small dog breed owners. However, for a larger dog that weights above 75 pounds, foam steps may break and for certain, not inspire confidence in the dog.

Pros and Cons of Using Dog Steps and Stairs over Dog Ramps


  • Take up less space
  • Can be placed alongside a bed or chair
  • Can be placed in tight spaces
  • Use outside the home
  • Use for vehicles


  • May not be as reliable or sturdy
  • Not as good for dogs with joint pain or arthritis.
  • Ramps tend to cause more trust in the dogs abilities.

Dog Ramps: The Breakdown

Dog ramps may look somewhat weird and unusual, however, the benefit of them when it comes to larger dogs and elderly dogs is tremendous. For example, if your dog is older and happens to have arthritis or joint/hip, or back problems, then a dog stair or step is out of the picture. It is crucial take your dog’s health into consideration when buying or purchasing a dog stair or ramp. With this, many pet owners agree that dog ramps are much easier for dogs with these issues.

With this said, dog ramps are perfect for dogs that are afraid of steps, are used to living in a single-family home, or have not mastered dog stair climbing.

How To Select Your Dog Ramp

It goes without saying that the higher the reach, the longer the ramp needs to be. This also affects the incline and slope. Tall ramps are considered to be two feet or higher and the general size of ramps is about 1.5 feet. The width is also a crucial component, and typical ramps are between 1 and 1.5 feet with slopes of about 18 degrees, 22, or 26 degrees.

Dog Ramps Are Perfect For:

  • Dogs with arthritis
  • Dogs afraid of stairs
  • Dog with back pain
  • Long dogs (Dachshunds, etc.)
  • Dog’s with joint pain
  • Miniature or Small Dogs

The Benefits of Dog Ramps

  • Dog ramps can be stored anywhere because most ramps are folding or telescopic.
  • They are sturdy and reliable, building confidence in your dog and trust in the ramp.
  • Dog ramps are lightweight so essentially, you can build it easily and carry it anywhere. Unlike dog stairs, which are bulky and come in a frame you cannot take apart.
  • They have a grip style surface to ensure your dog does not slide or get hurt.
  • They have safety precautions such as non-skid feet and front and rear stabilizers.

Which Will You Chose?

Ultimately the choice is up to the dog owner which they feel is more adequate for their specific dog. However, it goes without saying that research is vital and known your dog’s habits and health is a must.  With this in mind, your dog can live a fulfilling and healthy life with the help of dog stairs and ramps. Don’t forget to take them for a drive in the car when they have accomplished their first dog step or ramp walk!