Your large breed dog may jump in and out of your vehicle or RV easily with no problem right now, and the thought of a ramp may not be on your radar. But trust me, it’s heartbreaking to watch your aging dog begin to struggle to jump into the car.
If you’ve ever tried lifting a large dog into a vehicle or up RV steps, you know it can be awkward and unsafe for both you and your dog. You don’t want to leave your dog at home, and a ramp can add years to their ability to join you for outings.
Dog Ramps are an important accessory (and Vets recommend them!) to protect large dogs’ joints at any age. They can also make transporting a dog with illness or mobility issues so much more convenient!
Let’s examine large dog ramps and see how one can benefit your dog.
Dog Ramp Buying Guide
Large dog ramps come in so many varieties and models. If you know what you need, it’s easier to consider the choices.
To help you navigate the many possibilities for your dog, we’ve narrowed the search down to what we consider the best ramps for large dogs.
But first, let’s go through the most frequent considerations when making a ramp selection.
Features to consider:
Purpose of the ramp
Will you use the ramp in your house, yard, or on the go?
Ramp bases are constructed out of wood, plastic, or aluminum, and sturdiness can vary.
They come in a variety of surfaces and styles. Walking surfaces range from plush carpeting to gritty matting. Styles can be anything from a beautiful piece of furniture to a hard plastic model.
Knowing where you intend to use the ramp will simplify the decision of which is suitable.
Outside ramps are exposed to weather and can warp or crack if made of wood or plastic. Wood ramps may also require refinishing to protect the surface over time.
Plastic or aluminum is easier to clean, but can scratch surfaces if used inside.
How frequently will your dog use the ramp?
Durability counts if you intend to use the ramp regularly. Solidly constructed ramps with the proper weight capacity will last longer.
- Weight Limit:
- How big is your dog?
Most ramps for large breeds can handle up to 400 lbs. Keep in mind, the heavier the dog, the more flex will occur in the center of the ramp, especially if it’s not designed to accommodate your dog’s weight.
If the weight limit fits your dog as a youngster, but full-grown they will be larger, plan for their expected adult weight to prevent the ramp from breaking down under heavier use.
What style of ramp do you prefer?
Ramps offer versatility depending on why you need them.
There are fixed ramps, folded ramps and telescoping ramp styles. All of them offer numerous designs to fit your taste, as well as benefits galore to fit a large dog’s needs.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of each style:
These are compact and tuck into smaller places, like behind the seat in your vehicle or RV. Made with durable materials like plastic or aluminum, they fold in half for easy transport and storing.
They require folding and flipping to arrange where you need them to anchor securely, so may require more work to use.
Some are easily maneuvered and lightweight enough to make their use quick and convenient. But if you get a larger one, you could find this style awkward and risk scratches to your vehicle or furniture.
These ramps are one-solid piece. They’re suitable if you don’t need to move them often. For beds, furniture, or decks, they are sturdy and come in a variety of surfaces and styles to complement your taste.
There are some fixed ramps for large dogs designed for vehicle use, but they require a larger storage space and transporting them can be problematic. They also can be heavier and hard to move as well.
These ramps are the most versatile because the length is adjustable for different circumstances. I use mine to get my dogs into both our SUV and our RV when we travel.
Having the ability to adjust the length of the walking surface by sliding one end inside the other means I can get the incline correct for my dogs (We’ll talk about an incline in a minute).
Sturdiness and Durability:
Ramps come in plastic, wood, metal, and aluminum depending on their purpose. All of them are designed with protective edges and grips, but that won’t protect everything in all circumstances.
The heavier the ramp the more solid the construction. Strength, stability and sturdiness are the attributes of a quality ramp. This is where the “flex” comes in.
Depending on the length and weight limit of your ramp, you’ll find the center of the walking surface will have some flex or bounce to it. Some dogs don’t mind the flex at all, but mine took some time to get used to it.
If your ramp meets the weight capacity of your dog’s weight and is made with a solid construction, you’ll eliminate most excess flex.
- Check the construction
Examine your ramp for solid joint and fold construction. If you choose a telescoping model, check the condition and construction of where the panels slide into each other.
Look for grippy rubber stabilizers at the top and bottom ends of the ramp. They have anti-slip properties to stabilize the ramp on different surfaces. Your ramp should stay secure during use. There’s nothing worse than trying to load a leashed dog up a moving or unstable ramp.
- Secure Latches
Check the locking latches. If they don’t hold, the ramp could unfold or fold mid-walk. On telescoping ramps, the latches or secures where the panels slide together shouldn’t collapse or slide during use.
- Non-Slip surfaces
Walking surfaces range from artificial grass to sand-paper like substances. If your dog has tender pads, a course surface may be uncomfortable. Their paws have ridges and round edges. They need to grip the walking surface firmly to avoid injuries to tendons and ligaments.
The plastic surfaces are good but a few can be slippery when wet. Look for ramps that provide solid contact. Good traction allows your dog to control its speed better when using the ramp.
- Storage is also a consideration. Keep in mind you’ll be loading and unloading the ramp into your car or RV. Having one that’s too heavy for you could lead to a muscle or back strain.
- Side Rails
Dogs can slide or miss-step on ramps, especially if they’re nervous or just getting used to using one. Having side rails prevents their feet from sliding off the ramp and causing needless injuries.
- Reflective Tape
Dogs in their golden years, or with reduced eyesight, will benefit from reflective tape showing the boundaries of the ramp.
It’s also helpful in low-visibility weather conditions. Since dogs see different colors than we humans do, a bright reflective tape safely guides their steps when using the ramp
- Incline and Ramp Length
The length of your ramp along with the height of the platform or step determines the incline of the walking surface and the space needed to accommodate it.
If the incline is too steep, most dogs won’t attempt it. Dogs with sore joints or mobility problems will not be comfortable with inclines over 18-25%.
The length of the ramp also matters. The longer the length, the more flex you’ll experience in some ramps. Decide where you’ll be using the ramp and measure the height it needs to reach. Then look at how long the ramp can be to get the proper incline.
Here is a calculator to help you quickly figure out the incline and the length you need.
There’s much to consider when choosing the perfect ramp! To help you narrow the choices down, we’ve researched dozens of ramps for large dogs and here’s our favorites:
Teaching a Dog to use a ramp
If you’re wondering whether your dog will willingly accept the ramp, here is a video that explains how to teach your pooch to safely use a ramp.
5 Best Large Dog Ramps
This ramp works well if you and your dog are always on the go. This moderately priced ramp is made of plastic and easy to store or carry. The walking surface is artificial grass, making it soft for pooches who shy away from hard plastic or gritty surfaces.
Living in a climate with hot sun or rain could make this ramp harder to clean. You could see discoloration of the walking surface from scorching sunlight or trapped moisture in rainy climates. It’s lightweight, compact folding design makes it easy to maneuver and lift in and out of your vehicle and store in small places like RVs and cars.
This ramp locks automatically when folded, and the manufacturer has added rubber grips on both ends for a secure anchor on multiple surfaces. It also comes with a narrow width that’s big enough to make a large breed feel comfortable, but small enough to be used with cars, SUVs, and RVs.
- Dimensions 72” x 16”
- Weight capacity up to 250 lbs.
- Full-length rubber grippers on both ends for secure placement
- Lightweight at 17 lbs.
- Locks automatically when folded
Another good choice for pet parents on the go.
This ramp is in the higher range of moderately priced ramps and made of strong plastic and fiberglass material making it one of the more sturdy choices.
The walking surface has a unique ridged rubber surface giving it a stable grip in most weather conditions. It may become slippery when wet, so use precautions when in inclement weather.
For anchoring stability, each end has rubber grips to hold it steady on multiple surfaces during use. It’s also wide enough for a large dog’s comfort yet narrow enough to work well on most vehicles.
There are molded ergonomic handles on each side of this ramp. A concern would be if they become slippery when wet.
There are side rails to protect against miss-steps and slipping off the ramp.
For a versatile, heavy-duty, easy to maintain ramp, this one is a good choice. We also like the warranty and positive customer reviews.
- Weight capacity: 500 lbs.
- Dimensions: 70” x 17” extended and 36” x 17” when folded
- Weight of ramp: 18.5 lbs.
- Molded ergonomic handles on each end for stability and manueverability
This higher priced ramp is definitely sturdy, and comes in varying lengths. It’s wide construction means it can accommodate not just dogs, but wheelchairs and scooters as well. The double-welded construction makes it very stable, and the walking surface is covered with anti-slip, skid resistant tape.
The versatility of this ramp is appealing because it can double as a ramp for moving heavy items around your house, deck, or porch. It’s designed more for smaller inclines rather than vehicles with a height suggestion of 8” – 12”. So while it’s versatile in the home setting, it won’t work for dog parents on the go.
It folds up like a suitcase and comes with an easy-carry handle.
- Weight capacity: 400 lbs.
- Dimensions: 4’ x 30” extended and 48” x 16” when folded
- Weight of ramp: 20 lbs.
- Molded ergonomic handles on each end for stability and manueverability
This is a sturdy ramp at a moderate cost. It’s one of the telescoping ramps that sports a textured rigid plastic walking surface for better grip.
Made of lightweight aluminum and rigid plastic, it’s compact and easy to carry, with a one-hand opening. You won’t strain yourself moving it in and out of your vehicle between stops.
One popular feature on this ramp, besides it being telescoping, is the large rubber feet on both ends. This creates stable anchoring during use.
The only concern with this one is the length. At 62” fully extended, it will work fine for a car, SUV, or small RV, but the larger RVs have higher steps. The incline could be too steep for dogs with mobility issues.
Customer reviews are enthusiastic, making this a sturdy yet easy-to-handle choice.
- Weight capacity: 180 lbs.
- Three-panel telescoping design
- Dimensions: 62” x 13” extended and collapses down to 28”” x 17” with 4 ½” depth for easy storage
- Weight of ramp: 13 lbs.
- Rubber stabilizers on each end to anchor the pet ramp on multiple surfaces
This longer telescoping ramp has ultra-sturdy sturdy construction at an affordable price. It’s longer than the Titan ramp by 10 inches and collapses down to a compact 4” for easy storage.
Made of lightweight aluminum, there are only two sliding panels making this an easy ramp to carry and lift in and out of your vehicle between stops. It also comes with a carrying handle and a safety release latch.
The high-traction walking surface and safety side rails keep your dog from slipping or falling off during use.
- Weight capacity: 400 lbs.
- Two-panel telescoping design that’s easy to transport
- Dimensions: 39” – 72” x 17” extended and collapses down to 28”” x 17” with 4” depth for easy storage
- Weight of ramp: 13 lbs.
- Four rubber feet on each end anchor the pet ramp on multiple surfaces
And the winner of best large dog ramp is:
When I was looking for a ramp for my large 13-year old dogs, it had to provide multiple uses.
We travel in our RV and needed a ramp my dogs would feel comfortable using, compact and easy to store. I also wanted it to be light enough to be easy lifting in and out of our vehicles.
It also needed to be able to fit the passenger door of our SUV. My dogs love their car rides and we frequently travel without the RV. The dogs don’t like to be in the back but prefer the passenger seat. So the ramp needed to be narrow enough to be stable and fit the angle of the passenger door.
Flex was also an issue. A sturdy walking surface with little to no flex meant my dogs would actually use the ramp. Any wobble, and they would bail.
Frequent travel with the dogs also meant the ramp needed to anchor on multiple surfaces and be non-slip in different weather conditions. The older dogs have softer pads on their feet, so a gritty surface like sandpaper wasn’t a desired option.
We decided a telescoping ramp was our best option because it served different circumstances while meeting our construction and safety requirements.
After researching dozens of options for larger dogs, I chose the Happy Ride Telescoping Pet Ramp. It’s lightweight, sturdy design enables me to easily lift it in and out of the RV and the SUV. .
It’s sturdy construction and non-skid walking surface doesn’t scare my dogs even if they have a larger incline than normal. Being 10” longer than the Titan ramp meant this was rarely a problem.
The side rails will protect them from side-stepping or slipping off and the surface is designed to maintain a slip-proof surface in any weather condition.
I also liked the warranty and customer reviews of this ramp, making it a clear winner in my book!