Dog Pool Ramp

The Best Dog Pool Ramp 101

Katelyn Son
By Katelyn Son
Medically reviewed by Ivana Crnec, DVM
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See our advertising disclosure.

What are Dog Pool Ramps?

What-are-Dog-Pool-Ramps

A dog pool ramp is a platform designed to help dogs get in and out of swimming pools. The ramps are usually made from a wide range of materials, but the most common are plastic or rubber.

Pool ramps are just as great for dog owners as they are for dogs. They save you the trouble of having to lift your dog up and down surfaces they can’t reach. The dog pool ramp is an excellent pet product and will make your lives much easier. 

Do Dogs Need Pool Ramps?

Yes, dogs need pool ramps. Unlike humans, dogs can’t jump in and out of a pool as they please. Dogs that are unfamiliar with being in water are sometimes afraid of pools, and having a ramp to ease them in can help with that fear. 

When ready to get out of a pool, humans can either use the pool ladder or pull themselves out, but most dogs are not capable of either. Steps on pool ladders are built too far apart for dogs to use. 

This is especially a problem for breeds with short legs like Corgis. The stainless steel surface of pool ladders is also sometimes too slippery for dog paws to grip onto. Pulling yourself out of the pool requires great upper body strength that most dogs (and humans) don’t have.

With a pool ramp, your furry friend is able to get in and out of the water without a problem. The ramps are made to allow good grip and usually require absolutely no strength to get onto.

Are Stairs or Ramps Better for Dogs?

Dog stairs are an alternative to pool ramps, but they are only a viable option for strong, agile dogs. Puppies, senior dogs, and dogs with mobility issues may not easily be able to use stairs and pool steps to get in and out of the pool. 

Unlike the dog pool ramp, pet stairs and dog pool ladders add stress to dogs’ joints as they walk on them. For this reason, dogs with joint problems like arthritis are better off using a ramp. 

If the height of the stairs isn’t adjustable, it can also be a problem for puppies and short-legged dogs, especially when going up. 

In short, a ramp is a better option because it can work for all types of dogs. If you choose to go with stairs, ensure that your dog’s legs are able to use them without any added stress. 

Can Dogs Use Pool Ladders?

No, they can’t, or at least they shouldn’t. Pool ladders are designed to cater to humans, not dogs. The steps of the boarding ladders are placed too far apart for dogs’ legs, especially short-legged breeds like Corgis, Dachshunds, and Bulldogs

Secondly, pool stairs are often smooth and slippery and require extra grip strength to use. Dogs don’t have the grip of a human being, particularly not after a demanding activity like swimming

What are the Benefits of a Pool Ramp for Dogs?

What-are-the-Benefits-of-a-Pool-Ramp-for-Dogs

Safety when going in and out of the pool is the main benefit of pool ramps. You and your dog cannot enjoy a great day by the pool unless safety is ensured. 

Here is a more detailed review of the benefits of dog pool ramps: 

  • Helps with pool training. Dogs that are just learning to swim can find great benefit in using a ramp as it allows them to get into the pool without having to jump in. 
  • Allows your dog to leave the pool when they want to. Hot pool days are more fun if your dog can get in and out of the water as they please. There are a number of reasons a dog might want to leave the pool temporarily like taking a break, picking a toy, or having to go. Whatever the reason, having a pool ramp saves you the trouble of having to get up to put her in and out of the pool every time she needs it. 
  • Allows access to above-ground pools. Pools built above the ground level are hard for dogs to access without help from you or a ramp. You can attach a pool ramp to your above-ground pool to allow your dog easy access to the pool no matter how high it might be.
  • Prevents injuries and accidents. In the event that your dog slips into the pool in your absence, a pool ramp can help her get out without injury or, worst-case scenario, drowning. 
  • Access to other high surfaces. Some pool ramps are multipurpose and can be used for other places like cars, beds, boats, or outdoor shades. Carrying your dog, especially if she is heavy, up and down regularly, can have long-lasting effects on the health of your back and joints. 

How to Choose the Best Dog Pool Ramp

As with any other pet product, when choosing a dog pool ramp, you need to consider several factors. Here are the main considerations for pool ramps for dogs:  

  • Material. A good dog swimming pool ramp should be made from a strong material that is both water and UV-resistant. Plastic ramps are the most popular since the material is able to withstand long periods of water contact. 
  • Non-slip surface. A dog water ramp will almost always be wet when in use. For this reason, it must allow good grip and provide high traction to prevent tripping and slipping off. For your pet’s safety, opt for a ramp with a textured rubber surface for extra grip. 
  • Weight capacity. Some ramps are built for only small dogs and should not be used for large dogs. Check the weight limit of the ramp before purchasing to ensure that it can handle your dog. Not only will a small ramp be more likely to break if used wrongly, but it will also greatly compromise pool safety. 
  • Pool type. Some ramps are built to fit specific types of pools. For example, some might be for only above-ground pools, while others might require a very wide pool deck or patio. Before choosing a ramp, please read the installation instructions to ensure that it suits your specific pool. 
  • Assembly. It is very likely that your doggy won’t use your ramp daily, meaning that you will have to put it away and set it up only when you need it. It is best to choose a ramp that doesn’t require skill and many tools to set up and put away. Also, check if the ramp comes with bolts, nuts, nylon ropes, etc. 
  • Size and weight. As we mentioned above, you will most likely need to store your ramp when not in use. A compact foldable ramp allows easy storage without compromising your space. If possible, get a ramp with a carrying handle for when you need to move it from one place to another. 
  • Other intended uses. The type of ramp you get also depends on the other tasks you might need to perform. For example, pet owners who own boats might need something that can attach to a boat ladder to act like a dog boat ramp.

How do I Make a Pool Ramp for My Dog?

How-do-I-Make-a-Pool-Ramp-for-My-Dog

For a number of reasons, you might choose to build your own dog pool ramp at home. For example, buying a new ramp might not be in your budget currently, you might want a customized look for your dog, or you just have faith in your ability to build. 

Whatever your reason is, it is very possible to build a functional DIY dog pool ramp.

How To Build a Dog Pool Ramp

The first step in making a dog pool ramp is choosing the material. Wooden planks and rubber mats are the most accessible materials, but as you already know, wood doesn’t handle well around water. 

In addition to the rubber mats, you will also need pool noodles to keep your ramp afloat. Finally, you will need a couple of long, strong zip ties. All materials should be easy to get at your local store or Amazon. 

In summary, you will need three materials to build your DIY dog pool ramp:

  • Rubber mats that are slip-proof
  • Pool noodles
  • Zip ties

Directions

  • If the mats are too big for your pooch, cut off some width to what is most suitable. 
  • Using the zip ties, join the mats to form a long rectangle.
  • Along the length of the joined mats, attach the pool noodles using more zip ties. 
  • Finally, attach the pool ramp to your pool ladder or side of the pool. 
  • When using the ramp for the first time, watch closely and see how it handles when your dog steps on it. Your dog should be able to use it to get in and out of the pool without any help.

To see what the finished ramp should look like, watch this video of a dog happily enjoying her new pool ramp. 

Building your own ramp has the advantage of being more affordable than buying an already built one. However, it can end up costing more in the long run as it will most likely not last as long. 

A DIY ramp isn’t as durable as a factory-built one due to the differences in materials used. In addition to the added expense, a poorly built ramp can also put your dog in danger if it were to malfunction while she is trying to get out of the pool. 

These ramps are also not very well-suited for big dogs, especially if they have destructive behavior. Larger dogs require well-built ramps to ensure maximum safety at the pool.