It is not uncommon for pets to have difficulty accessing high places, such as the bed, couch, car or other higher surface in and around your home. Millions of pets are injured every year attempting to jump up on or get up on higher surfaces, sometimes breaking a leg or severely injuring a tendon or joint. Senior pets often suffer from joint injuries or illnesses such as hip dysplasia, arthritis, torn ACL or other ailments, making jumping almost impossible for them. What’s more frustrating, is how heartbreaking it is to see an older dog or an injured dog attempt something he could once do, only to discover that he can no longer get on the surface he is attempting to get on.
Pet ramps designed specifically for pets can help your pet regain his confidence and bring him the joy of being on his beloved surface. Pet ramps are typically designed to be used at home or in a vehicle and come in a wide variety of styles and sizes. A ramp is a flat piece of plastic, metal or wood that extends from a higher surface down to a flat surface and is designed to make it easier for your pet to get from point A to point B.
A pet ramp can make life easier for your pet because they can provide an easier way for them to get where they want to go, or where you need them to go. This is especially true for larger dogs who may weigh too much for you to lift. A ramp can help give your older pet confidence and can cause less stress for smaller pets who often take a big jump to get off and on some surfaces.
How do you know if pet ramps are right for your pet?
Here are some specific things to factor when considering pet ramps:
Does your pet enjoy being on high surfaces he cannot reach on his own?
Many pets enjoy an outing in the car, but getting into and out of the car can be a challenge, especially for large dogs who may have an injury or arthritis, or for a smaller dog who may be anxious about jumping in and out of the car. A pet ramp can make it much easier and cause less stress for your pet.
Is your pet older?
Senior pets (large dogs over age 6 and small dogs and cats over age 7) may not be able to jump like they once did. Pet ramps can help them navigate higher places without worrying they may injure themselves.
Does your pet have an illness like arthritis, joint pain, or hip dysplasia?
Certain illnesses might make jumping up in and out of the car or on furniture painful for your pet. Pet ramps can make getting in and out of the car more comfortable for your pet.
Does your pet have an injury or are they recovering from surgery?
Surgery or an injury can take a lot out of your pet. Some surgeries or injuries can make jumping painful, difficult or even impossible, especially if your pet has a splint or cast on his leg. Pet ramps can make getting up on higher surfaces easier for your pet.
Do you have physical limitations that make helping your pet into the car challenging?
Some pet owners have physical limitations, whether due to age or illness that may cause them to have difficulties lifting a pet. For instance, if you have a bad back, or if your dog is a too heavy for you to lift, it may be hard for you to lift your pet into the car. Pet ramps can help ensure you won’t injure yourself whenever you want to take a ride with your pet.
Sometimes, it’s not about anything except pampering your furry friend. If your dog or cat enjoys being with you when you travel and if you think your pet would enjoy getting in and out of the car on his own, then a ramp may be ideal for you and your pet.
You should consult with your vet when considering ramps for your senior pet because every situation is different and what may be right for one pet, may not be right for another pet.
Which pet ramps to choose?
So, you’ve decided to invest in a pet ramp to help your pet get in and out of the car, or onto furniture. Which pet ramp is right for you? There are a wide variety of pet ramps: there are ramps that are folding or telescoping. Some are designed specifically for smaller pets, while others are designed for larger pets. Some are carpeted or have nonskid surfaces. Some are lightweight and easy to tote from the house to the car. Some are temporary and can fold out of the way; others are more permanent and can be kept in a fixed location. Here are some things to factor when considering which pet ramp is right for you.
How large is your pet (or will your pet get)?
When purchasing a pet ramp, size matters. You want to be sure you select a model that will accommodate your pet at full maturity. If you aren’t sure how big your pet will get, consult with your vet for an estimated size and weight.
How do you plan to use the ramp?
Will you be using the ramp to help your pet get on the bed or the couch? Or will you predominantly use the ramp when traveling? If it will be used more for the car, then a foldable, telescoping ramp may be better so it can fit in the car.
Will the pet ramp fit in your space?
Ramps come in different sizes, styles and heights. It’s a good idea to select a ramp that will not only fit the space where you plan to use it, but also fit the size of your pet. Consider how your pet would normally access the furniture or the car. For instance, if your pet accessed the bed at the foot of the bed, then that is where the ramp should go.
How to train your pet to use a ramp?
A pet ramp is designed to be similar to walking on flat ground, except it is inclined. Some dogs may be intimidated at first and will require some training, patience and praise to properly teach your pet to use the ramp. Remember, he may be accustomed to jumping on the furniture, so the ramp may initially be seen as an obstacle.
Some pets are afraid of ramps initially, but with proper training and guidance, and plenty of treats, your pet may learn to love his new way to access the furniture or the car. The best way to train a pet is to guide them up the ramp with a toy or a treat. Most dogs learn to use ramp pretty quickly, especially going up the ramp. Going down the ramp can take more time, patience and practice. The tendency will be for them to jump off the surface and completely bypass the ramp. Again, training and patience are key to teaching your dog the proper method for using the ramp, especially if they are accustomed to jumping.
Key features to look for:
When selecting a pet ramp, look for features that will not only benefit your pet, but you and your lifestyle as well. Ramps can coordinate with your home décor and some ramps might be easier on your pet’s joints than others.
Pet ramps are designed specifically for pets and they are not designed to be used by a person. Some are made of wood; others are made of plastic or metal. Some are lightweight and very easy to move from room to room; others are heavier or designed for cars or higher surfaces. Some are designed for small dogs and cats; others are made specifically for large dogs.
If you’d like to help your pet get where he wants to go more easily, then a pet ramp may be something to consider.
Content provided in collaboration with the Elderly Pet Organization and Engaging Pet Products – An Engaged Pet is a Happy Pet.
We do not endorse or promote any products or companies. You should always consult your vet to determine what is most appropriate for your senior pet.