How to Build a DIY Dog Ramp

Dog on DIY dog ramp
Ирина Мещерякова / Getty Images
Overview
  • Working Time: 2 - 4 hrs
  • Total Time: 1 - 2 days
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Estimated Cost: $50 to $100

So you love hanging out with your dog on your bed, but the height is a problem. While this surface (or any other elevated surface, such as a sofa or bench) may be easy for you to reach, it's a climb for your canine friend. It can even be insurmountable for older dogs or for dogs with medical conditions like hip dysplasia.

Instead of lifting your dog up and down, build a DIY dog ramp for the bed or couch. This ramp uses lumber and hardware easily found at any home center.

Its four-stage peg system stand adjusts the ramp for different levels such as the bed or a sofa. The ramp starts at floor level and inclines to bed level. It can be folded down flat when not in use.

Safety Considerations

While dog ramps are tempting for children to play on, they aren't strong or stable enough to support people. To keep the ramp safe for your dog, make sure that it will not slide on the floor. The ramp will support dogs as heavy as 150 pounds, though lighter dogs will put less strain on the ramp and be safer.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Electric miter saw or circular saw
  • Cordless drill
  • Set of drill bits
  • Wood glue
  • Speed Square
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Stapler
  • Sandpaper
  • Utility knife
  • Jigsaw

Materials

  • 7 one-by-twos
  • 3 one-by-threes
  • 1/2-inch sanded plywood, 4-foot by 8-foot
  • 3/8-inch by 2-inch bolts with washers and nuts
  • 3/4-inch dowel
  • Carpet remnant

Instructions

  1. Cut Wood

    • 2 one-by-twos at 40 inches each
    • 2 one-by-twos at 20 inches each
    • 2 one-by-twos at 12 inches each
    • 1 one-by-two at 24 inches
    • 2 one-by-threes at 41 inches each
    • 1 one-by-three at 25 1/2 inches
    • 1 piece of plywood at 40 inches long by 25 1/2 inches wide
    • 1 dowel at 24 inches
  2. Dry-Fit Floor Base

    The base that rests on the floor is made of three one-by-twos. Lay the two 40-inch one-by-twos parallel and about 24 inches away from each other. Lay the 24-inch piece of one-by-two at the end, between the two long pieces, to form a U-shape.

  3. Construct Floor Base

    First dab with wood glue, then use screws to attach the two 40-inch pieces of one-by-two to the 24-inch piece. Pre-drill holes to avoid splitting the wood. Keep the pieces square by checking with the Speed Square or a carpenter's square.

    Tip

    Counter-sink the holes either by using a slightly larger drill bit or with a counter-sink bit. This will allow the screw heads to lie flush with the wood surface.

  4. Attach Plywood to Floor Base

    Attach the 40-inch by 25 1/2-inch piece of plywood to the bottom of the three-sided base. The plywood should fit the space exactly. Before screwing the one-by-two base to the plywood, check one final time for squareness, as the plywood will help hold the boards in shape.

  5. Dry-Fit Ramp Base

    The ramp is constructed much like the base, except with one-by-threes. Use the two 41-inch one-by-threes as side pieces. Run the one 25 1/2-inch one-by-three across the top, between the two long pieces.

  6. Build Ramp Base

    Use wood glue and pre-drill holes in order to create the U-shaped ramp base. Use screws and counter-sink the screw heads. Keep the boards in square with the Speed Square.

  7. Attach Ramp Base to Floor Base

    Lay the ramp base over the floor base. The floor base should nest inside the ramp base. At each of the two loose ends, drill a hole 1/2 inch in diameter. Drill through both boards. Fit the 3/8-inch by 2-inch bolts through the holes, using washers and nuts. This creates a hinge for the ramp base to incline off of the floor base. Separate the two bases for now.

  8. Add Adjustment Blocks

    Use the jigsaw to create a line of half-circles in each of the two 20-inch one-by-twos. Create four of these circles, spacing them 4 inches from each other. Then, attach these one-by-twos (with the open half-circles upward) to the inside of the floor base.

  9. Build Stand

    Drill a 3/4-inch diameter hole 1/2 inch from the end of one of the 12-inch one-by-twos. Lay the other one-by-two underneath to create a duplicate. Slide the 3/4-inch dowel through each board to form a U-shape, with 3/4 inch of the dowel extending from each of the one-by-twos.

    Tip

    If the dowel does not fit, try widening the hole slightly. The dowel should fit tightly. If the dowel is loose, cut and drill new 12-inch one-by-twos and start over.

  10. Attach Stand

    With the tape measure and pencil, mark 25 inches up the ramp (starting at the hinge). Drill 1/2-inch holes in the ramp base and the two loose ends of the stand. The stand's two loose legs should be facing upward, with the dowel connector on the bottom. Attach the stand to the ramp base by placing 3/8-inch bolts through these holes. The stand is now hinged and should swing freely. Re-attach the floor base and the ramp base.

  11. Install Ramp Floor

    Lay the ramp upside-down on top of the remainder of the 1/2-inch plywood. With the pencil, mark off your desired size for the ramp floor.

    For a flush appearance, mark the ramp floor to the exact size of the ramp base. To disguise the sides of the ramp base, extend the marks by about 1/2 inch. Cut on the lines.

    Carefully sand the edges of the plywood to smooth down splintery areas.

  12. Add Carpeting

    Use a utility knife to cut the carpeting on the back of the carpeting. Staple carpeting to the top of the ramp.