Building/Furniture Projects, Cruciate Ligaments are Breaky, Doggystyle DIY

DIY Dog Ramp

13 Comments 23 February 2014

I have a confession, you guys. For the past 6 months or so, my mattress and box spring have been on the floor.

I feel like a hobo or a college student. Let me tell you, nothing classes a place up like a bed tossed on the floor like it’s a flop house and a pretty antique bed frame leaned against the wall like it’s some sort of representational art. I hate it. I hate it so hard. So I bet you’re wondering why I leave it on the floor if it hate it so much?

This dog, you guys.

Felix, yooooouuuu light my liiiife.

Felix, yooooouuuu light up my liiiife.

Last summer, Felix jumped,  fell, and tore his achey breaky ACL.

At the time, it felt like the sky was falling, but now, after six months of strict conservative management, combined with physical therapy and supplementation, we’re finally coming out the other side. Felix is back to normal, actually, he may even be better than normal. There is a titch of stiffness in his knees when it snows 8″ and he has to bunny hop through it, but all in all, he’s doing GREAT.

I want to make sure it stays that way. With torn ligaments there is a high rate of of a second injury on the opposite knee. The theory is that while the hurt knee is healing, the other knee picks up the slack and is then susceptible to a tear as well. Wouldn’t that just be the worst? You finally get one all good and then the other one blows? ACK!

Dogs don’t understand they can get hurt again, they just understand they feel better now.

So, to help keep the stress off Felix’s bum knee and off his good knee, I need to keep him from jumping around a lot, which is difficult when your dog thinks they’re a woofing a kangaroo. Seriously you guys, does he have to jump all the time?! He’s giving me a heart attack. The physical therapist suggest a ramp for the bed and a short staircase for the couch to eliminate out two jumping “hot spots”. The only problem? My Nana’s antique bed is awkwardly high and I have a pillow top mattress. The average bed sits 18″ off the floor. MY BED is just under 27″. I couldn’t find a free standing ramp that was high enough and I sure wasn’t ready to screw a ramp into my bed frame, so I decided to DIY myself up the perfect ramp.

DIY DOG RAMP

I wanted something with carpet for traction and foldable, so that it could be stored under the bed, if desired and to make it easy to transport. The best part was that I (well, not me like personally, but my amazing G-pa) was able to scavenge the materials for this project from local building projects and leftovers from when they built the lake house, so it was less than $10. I know you guys don’t access to him, so I priced it out. To make a similar DIY Dog Ramp from 100% new materials, would be around $60-$70, depending on the type of wood you choose. You can download the sketch I worked from here.

We chose to use 1/2″ plywood and completely cover it in carpet, but you could also buy a nice piece of wood, stain/paint it and then use only a few carpet tiles to add treads to the surface.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2″ or 3/4″ Wood (for heavier dogs, I would use 3/4″) + 4 – 3″ x 3″ squares
  • Carpet to cover (1 piece: width of your wood x 2.25 by height of your ramp x 2.25 and one piece width of your wood x 2.5 by length of your wood x 2.5)
  • 1 – 10″ heavy duty piano hinge
  • 2 x 8″ gate hook & latch sets
  • Staple gun and LOTS of staples
  • 8 x 7/8″ screws
  • 12 x 1/4″ screws

 

STEP ONE: Measure the height and width your ramp will cover. Try to keep in mind that the ramp needs to be at a realistic slope for your dog and their abilities. My ramp is is 24″ tall, 64 1/2″ long and 12″ wide.  I would recommend making your ramp 1.5x the width of your dog or wider.

STEP TWO: Mark out where the hinges will go. I placed my hinges 3/4″ from the top of the long piece and right on the edge of the short piece, like this. (If you chose to use a 3/4″ wood, I might inset the hinge to 1″, instead of 3/4″)

IMG_9451 STEP THREE: Wrap wood with carpet, taking care to trim carpet around the place hinges will go. Use a woofload of staples to secure carpet in place and ensure it is pulled tight, wrapped tightly around corners and (if you’re a bit OCD, like I am) that the pattern is straight.

STEP FOUR: Screw on piano hinges. Now your ramp should be fairly sturdy and you can flip it over and look at it.

STEP FIVE: Measure 5″ down from the hinge and 2″ in from the edge on your height piece and screw on wood squares. (See placement here)I used one screw in each corner.

STEP SIX: Screw in the fixed end of the gate hook into each square, taking care not to over tighten. (If you over tighten them, they might poke through the other side.)

IMG_9470

STEP SEVEN: Determine the placement of the wood block on the longer piece and screw on. (This will depend on the exact length of your gate hooks, so your measurement may not be exactly the same as mine. Screw in the hook loops.

STEP EIGHT: Marvel at your own awesomeness, ’cause anyone who builds a ramp for their dog is indeed, awesome.

If I had a big or a heavy dog, I might consider adding a second vertical “bracer” piece in the centre of the the ramp in order to prevent any “flexing” when your dog walks on it. If you’re not concerned about being able to fold and store the ramp, you could also use metal bracer bars instead of gate hooks, for a sturdier ramp.

OK, you guys, does all this make sense? LOL, I swear WRITING about making this ramp was about 65 bazillion times harder than actually making the ramp. 

Alas, my bed is still on the ground. Even though I have this snazzy little ramp ready, I still have to teach fearful Felix to use it.

Right now, he think it will eat him if he outs more than two paws on it. Someone pass the cheese, I’m going to need it.

 

Have you ever build a ramp or stairs for your dog? How did you do it??

Your Comments

13 Comments so far

  1. This is definitely something J can create for us. I’m going to add it to my list for this summer.

    Sydney is doing really well with her cruciate recovery, but I want to still take care.

    Thanks for sharing. I really like to idea of making something that goes with our room decor AND works.

    • KolchakPuggle says:

      I’m so glad to hear Sydney is doing well! I totally agree that it’s just a “better safe than sorry” scenario. Fe could probably handle the couch without a step, but this high bed gives ME anxiety, so it’s worth it just so I quit panicking. LOL!

  2. Jodi says:

    That’s a great project, I like it because it’s portable. We got the two step thing for Sampson but will he use it? NO. Although there are times when he uses it to get off the bed, which I think is progress. But I’ve wondered if he wouldn’t use a ramp more.

    • KolchakPuggle says:

      I’m going to keep repeating this: I never said Fe will use it. LOL. I am having exactly the same amount of luck teaching Fe to use the ramp as I am teaching him to use the new steps. We’re using a lot of cheese and a luring technique along with a tongue click (the lazy man’s clicker), but Fe is a slow learner. (The adage about old dogs and new tricks was written about Felix, I know it.)

  3. beaglesbargains says:

    This is brilliant. I love that it is customizable and portable! I’ll definitely have to remember this is. Cheese can convince anyone to do something, so I think Felix will get it!

    • KolchakPuggle says:

      I love that I can lift/move it myself.(For those who haven’t met me, I’m a 5′ tall, if I stand up REALLY straight, so basically a Smurf) It was also exactly wide enough to fit in the back seat of my Mama’s car, though it made sitting back there difficult for the one unlucky human (aka me) how had to cram in with it.

      PS – cheese is like crack for Felix’s

  4. LOVE this idea! My dachshund would never use a ramp, but if I ever get another one, I’ll start out using a ramp like this. What a great idea!

    • KolchakPuggle says:

      LOL, well I never said Felix will USE it…we’re just starting the luring process. If Felix’s standard timeline for learning follows, we should have mastered this by 2017. I had to try though.

      Wait until you see the solution for the couch, it was even more stinking easier. (Since it was a short distance I did stairs…well, kinda)

  5. Emma says:

    Does it need pawrails to pass code inspection ;) That is pretty nifty! Mom has a high bed. Bailie jumped out once and Mom did not want that happening. Maybe she should make one of these? She wants me to come in bed to, so this would help!

    • KolchakPuggle says:

      Probably, but we like to live on the edge here. LOL! Depending on how tall your bed is and how far Bailie can comfortably manouever you might wait for next week when I share our PAINFULLY easy stairs. They’re 19 12″ tall.

  6. Tori Mistick says:

    Wow, that’s so awesome that you built that! I hope it all works out! I taught my puppy to do all the ramps and fun agility things, it just takes lots of treats and a little yanking.

    • KolchakPuggle says:

      LOL I love the “a little yanking”. I’ve been picking him up and putting him on it, then making him walk the rest of the way. Every time, I put him a little closer to the floor. He will walk up this thing yet!


Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tips On Making Your Home Comfortable For Your Senior Dog - Dogs, Cats and Pet Information – PuppyGlobe - 6 May, 2014

    […] getting up and down the stairs, into the car, and up onto furniture. You can make your own ramp (Kol’s Notes has a great how-to guide) or buy one. They come in a variety of sizes and prices, but can be well […]

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