Best Dog Ramps for Cars in 2019

Is Fido not as spry as he used to be?

When it comes to larger dogs it can often be a real pain to ensure that they’re able to get in and out of the car when it comes time for a trek together. Thankfully, if you do some looking you can often find that the best dog ramps for cars are quite easy to find.

Of course, you’re also going to need to find one which is the perfect fit for your car and animal. That can take some work, but at the end of the day, it’s hard to ignore the advantages.

Let’s take a look at what makes a dog ramp better than the rest and then we’ll dive into our favorites so that you can see which is the best for you.

The 5 Top-Rated Dog Steps for Cars

Editor’s PicksBrandRating
Overall Best Dog Step for CarsPet Loader4.9
Best Dog Step for Pickup TrucksHeininger Dog Steps4.8
Best Dog Ramp for CarsGen7Pets Natural Ramp4.6
Best Car Ramp for Larger DogsPetstep Folding Ramp4.5
Best Telescope Dog Ramp for Those With Multiple VehiclesPetSafe Solvit Deluxe Telescoping Pet Ramp
4.4

Who Needs a Dog Ramp for Their Car?

It’s an unfortunate truth that our beloved canine companions get older. When that happens their mobility goes down and they can have trouble getting into cars, trucks, and other vehicles.

And we think that sucks.

While dogs who are just beginning to have joint issues might make it after a couple of tries they’re going to be in pain. Older dogs may not be able to leap up at all.

That’s where finding a good dog ramp comes in handy. Most of them hook to the side of a car, the bed of a truck, or elsewhere in order to make sure that you can take your pet with you.

Indeed, you may want to make the investment no matter what the age of your dog if they’re over fifty pounds or so. Larger dogs tend to have joint problems anyways and frequently jumping in and out of a vehicle is only going to exasperate things for them in the long run.

Short legged breeds are also at risk for taking joint damage and should use a ramp throughout their lifetime.

Frankly, it’s just a lot easier for the human involved to get a ramp and it’s better for your dog in the long run as well.

What Do I Look for in a Dog Ramp?

Let’s face it, dog ramps are relatively simple.

As long as the weight rating is high enough for your pet and it’s long enough for the vehicle you’re working with you should be able to use it pretty well.

So, most of what we’re looking for here is convenience factors. When we were reviewing these we actually didn’t come across any that were so badly built as to be unsafe but it’s certainly possible that they’re out there if you go with some of the shadier pet supply manufacturers.

With that in mind, the following are what you need to look for:

  • Durability: While we didn’t come across any ramps that were actually unsafe there’s some definite advantages to making sure that you have a ramp which will last. This is most important for really large breeds, an eighty pound plus dog can put a surprising amount of stress on even a metal ramp over time. Particularly if they’re still young and boisterous.
  • Materials: Closely tied to durability, we recommend aluminum or heavy-duty plastic ramps for most pets. They’re low maintenance and lightweight. If your dog is in excess of 80lbs or so you may need something a bit heavier, however.
  • Non-Skid Surface: A ramp should have something to keep your dog from skidding, whether it’s a grippy material or even just textured metal. The grippier the better, as it can avoid accidents as well as making sure that your dog feels secure while they’re getting up and down the ramp.
  • Length: The length of the ramp is a pretty big deal. If you use too short of a ramp in order to let your dog get up into something higher, like the bed of a truck, then you’re going to end up with things being too steep. On the other hand, too long and it may not fit even when folded.
  • Storage Ability: This isn’t just important for saving space in the home, chances are that you’re going to want to use the ramp to let your dog down when you get to your destination. The length and width of a folded ramp can mean a huge difference in just how much you end up using it.
  • Width: Match the width to your dog. Smaller dogs may be able to get away with… well, smaller ramps. This will also save space in your vehicle when the time comes to put it away. A larger dog will need a wider ramp. Aging dogs with joint issues need something a little bit wider than you’d normally think, so make sure that you think ahead when you’re getting a ramp.

It’s a pretty simple selection process overall. Just get something high-quality which will fit in your vehicle and which you can fit into your budget.

Ramp Sizing

The size is probably the most important consideration. An improperly sized ramp… well, it’s just not going to work.

For most dogs, an 18 degree grade is the way to go. You can go up to a 26 degree angle if you’re working with a fit or smaller dog, however.

For truck beds, which often rise 30” to 36” above the ground you’ll want something around 70” to 90” for instance. That’s a lot of ramp, and in practice, many are going to be shorter than that.

Cars, on the other hand, will often have 18” or less of rise so you’ll only need 33” or so of ramp.

Make sure you calculate the incline before committing to a ramp. Online calculators can easily be found.

Ramps vs. Steps for Getting Your Dog in Your Ride

Both ramps and steps are available for those who are looking to get their pets into a vehicle easier. Some models even do both.

For older dogs, you’re going to want to go with ramps. Since they’re a more gradual incline you’ll be able to make sure that their joints are well taken care of when you let them get up and down.

For younger dogs, stairs are a good space saving measure. If your dog can walk the stairs at home then steps are often the way to go. They tend not to reach as high as ramps, however, but many folding sets are quite easy to store.

Which is the best for you is going to depend largely on the shape your dog is in.

The Best Dog Ramps and Steps for Cars

We field-tested several different ramps in order to bring you the best designs. At the end of the day, you’re going to be well served with any of the following options provided that they’re appropriately sized for your vehicle.

Best Overall Dog Steps for Cars

Pet Loader

The Pet Loader comes in three different models:

Model

Height

Weight

Side or Rear Loader?

Pet
Loader Ultra Light


14 ½”


21lbs-30lbs


Side

Pet
Loader Light


16”


24lbs


Rear

Pet
Loader XL


18”


29lbs


Rear

The Ultra Light is designed for smaller dogs and loading into a car. The Light and XL models are best for loading into the rear of an SUV or station wagon although they’re not quite high enough for a truck bed.

Since they’re steps, they’re all considerably easier to store than you’ll be able to find in a ramp. Many ramps only fold into two or three sections which means they take up more space in the vehicle.

The compact design, non-slip grip, and excellent hinges allow them to load and unload smoothly. Apart from the pricing and the fact that they’re not perfect for older dogs they’re some of the best around.

When it comes down to using them… well, they’re really hard to beat for any dog which can still climb stairs well.

4.8/5
Our Opinion:

If you’re looking for the most portable, overall best way for the majority of dogs to get in and out of a vehicle then you should take a serious look into the Pet Loader. There’s a model for everyone and they’re overall one of the best ways to get your dog in and out of a vehicle.

  • Big range of sizes available
  • Durable construction
  • Smooth unloading
  • Fold up quite small
  • Very expensive
  • Not suitable for dogs with serious joint issues

Best Dog Step for Pickup Trucks

Heininger Dog Steps

While it’s a little bit different overall, we fell like the Heininger Dog Step is perfect for those with an active dog and a high trunk bed. It consists of a single step which attaches easily to the trailer hitch of your truck.

When used correctly you’ll be able to halve the space which your dog will have to move in order to get into the trunk of your vehicle. That’s a lot of effort saved and a lot of impact over time.

It’s heavy-duty. We’d call it nearly indestructible, actually. It’s also got just about 6” of adjustable height.

If you’re willing to pay extra, you’ll find that the Twist Step variant is particularly cool. Rather than having to attach and unattach the step when you stop you’ll be able to twist it out of the way and make sure that you’re able to get down the road safely.

4.5/5
Our Opinion:

Overall? We’ve found that there’s really no substitute for the Heininger Dog Step for pickup trucks and SUVs. It’s not suitable for dogs with issues, but for healthy dogs it’s a doggone good way to go.

  • Easy to attach
  • Excellent Twist Step version available
  • Non-slip plastic for platform
  • Fully assembled right out of the box
  • Rather expensive for such a “simple” device
  • Not suitable for dogs with joint problems

Best Overall Dog Ramp for Cars

Gen7Pets Natural Ramp

We really like this one, and not just because of the unique, grassy non-skid material which covers it. The faux-grass material is actually really good, convincing more nervous dogs that the ramp is safe.

The whole ramp is actually 72” long. That makes it suitable for getting your dog into vehicles up to about 36” tall. Since it’s easily able to cover the bed of most non-lifted trucks that just adds to the value in our eyes.

The whole thing only weighs 17lbs as well, making it perfect for those who don’t want to lug around something heavy.

The biggest issue we ran into with it was a tendency to want to grab it in the middle to fold it up. A couple of close calls with fingers quickly cured us of that tendency, but we imagine it could do some serious damage if you weren’t careful.

Despite the serious weight capacity, we also found that it was a bit too narrow for really large dogs.

4.5/5
Our Opinion:

On the other hand, the poly-grass, light weight, and long length while folding up to only 36” long makes this one a standout option when you’re looking for a ramp. It’s a bit big for most cars, but for a truck or SUV it’s picture perfect.

  • Great for trucks and SUVs
  • Poly-grass for added doggy comfort
  • Super lightweight
  • High weight capacity
  • Rather narrow overall
  • Tendency to slam if not handled carefully

Best Ramp for Larger Dogs

Petstep Folding Ramp

If you’re looking for something which can handle any canine you can throw at it, then you’ll be pleased with the original PetStep. It’s 70” long and rated to hold a rather astonishing 500lbs.

What’s more… we believe them. This thing is sturdy. It also comes with a textured surface which allows for great grip for your dog.

The material that coats it is tough. It doesn’t scratch and we found that it was surprisingly easy to clean with just soap and water, altogether it adds up to a pretty great experience.

It’s also soft on paws. Some cheaper ramps use sandpaper or rough carpeting to hold their grip and that can add up to a bad experience for those dogs which have sensitive feet. It’s the little touches that make this one truly stand out.

Folded up it’s only 36” long and 5 ¼” high, making it easy to slip into the back of an SUV or the bed of a truck.

All of this comes at a bit of a cost in weight. It’s 18 ½” pounds, which means that it’s a bit heavier than our favorite ramp and it’s a bit short for the bed of some trucks.

4.5/5
Our Opinion:

The amazing durability, weight capacity, and construction of the PetStep make it one of the best options around for those who want to ease their dogs’ entry into the back of their vehicle.

  • Incredibly durable construction
  • Well-textured surface
  • Easy to clean
  • Folds quickly and easily
  • Rather heavy
  • Expensive

Best Dog Ramp for Those With Multiple Vehicles

PetSafe Solvit Deluxe Telescoping Pet Ramp

PetSafe has some of the best solutions around for many things. Their telescoping pet ramp is awesome allowing you to use it with multiple vehicles without having to purchase more than one ramp.

The two models which we looked at ranged from 39” to 72” and 47” to 87” respectively. That means the bigger model is the only one we found which was really suitable for lifted trucks. The smaller model is perfect for someone with an aged dog who needs to get into both a car and a regular pickup.

The surface is a grip-tape like material, similar to that used on skateboards. It’s just about perfect for some dogs but it can be a bit rough on those who don’t have some conditioning to their paws. It’s kind of just picking holes in things at that point, however.

It also has raised guides, allowing your dog to feel a bit more secure while they’re going up and down.

The biggest problem? These ramps don’t fold. Instead, they can be telescoped to their smallest available position. That makes them pretty much the hardest to transport of all of the ramps that we decided to showcase, but both should fit in the bed of a truck easily and the smaller one isn’t too hard to tuck away.

The brand actually has quite a few different models of ramp, so take a look if you don’t think that either of these suits you.

4.9/5
Our Opinion:

These durable folding dog ramps for cars are an excellent way to solve the issue of having multiple vehicles you want to take your dog in. Just be aware they don’t tuck away quite as tight as the majority of the ones on our list.

  • Suitable for multiple vehicles
  • Durable aluminum construction
  • Fairly lightweight
  • Easy to use
  • Not foldable, they store bigger than the rest on our list
  • Rather expensive

Training Your Dog to Use a Car Ramp

Not all dogs are going to take to your ramp immediately. Unfortunately, unless you’re willing to pick them up that’s going to mean you either need to train them to take the climb or you’ll have to leave them at home.

Thankfully, it’s not all that hard to put together a training regimen that will get even the most stubborn dog to get along well with their ramp.

Try the following, just remember to be patient like you would for any training:

  1. Lay the ramp flat on the ground to begin with. Lure your dog along the ramp with a treat.
  2. Using a couple of bricks or another solid surface continue to get your dog to use the ramp with positive reinforcement. Praise and treats.
  3. After they’ve become confident with the ramp at lower inclines, take them to the bed of the truck or into the car using the ramp.

As long as you work progressively even the most skittish dog should be able to be trained to use a ramp within a couple of days.

Remember that it’s positive reinforcement that you want to go with. As long as you keep trying your dog is bound to get it much sooner than you’d think.

Never Leave Your Dog At Home Again

Seniors and small dogs have it rough sometimes.

Invest in the best dog ramp or steps for cars. Your dog will thank you when the two of you never have to be apart again.

Even if your dog is young, a ramp or stairs can be worth a shot. Avoiding impact on their growing joints is one of the best ways to make sure that they’re spry and agile even into their old age.

So why not find the right one for you and your pet today? Your dog will thank you.

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