Are Ramps Better Than Stairs For Dogs?


Both pet stairs and dog ramps are a great way of getting your dog or cat onto your couch or bed quickly, easily, and as safely as possible. This article will cover the differences in impact stress reduction, size, features and the usage of both ramps and stairs for your pet’s needs.


Clearly one of the reasons we choose to get our pet a ramp or set of stairs is to reduce the wear and tear of daily jumping on and off of things such as beds, couches, and in and out of vehicles. Many of us may also have a small dog that cannot get where he or she needs to get, others may have an injured or recovering pet or even an elderly pet with joint pain or weakness due to age.

Whatever the situation maybe we want to get our beloved pet where they need to go quickly and safely so that they can enjoy the comforts of being where you are which is where they want to be. The two most popular choices in doing so (besides lifting them) are pet ramps and pet stairs. Choosing one of the other for your situation may be easier with a little knowledge about the two by looking at their advantages and disadvantages in relation to each other.  Let’s do a realistic comparison of the two below in different categories to see how they stack up to one another in everyday situations.

Impact Stress Reduction

Every time your dog or cat jumps on or off of something there is a certain amount of impact (landing) or tension (jumping) which produces a variable amount of stress on certain areas of your pet’s body. For instance, jumping would produce tension in the hip, back, and joints of the rear legs whereas landing is would impact the shoulder area and front leg joints first followed by the thud of the hindquarters hitting the floor. This is what I am referring to when I say “Impact Stress”.

The goal is to make the transition from the bed, couch, or vehicle as smooth and impact-free as possible on your pet while also enabling them to get where they are wanting to go as safely and easily as possible. Both pet stairs and pet ramps greatly reduce impact stress by shortening the distance between the high surface they need to get on or off of to the ground either gradually such as a ramp, or in intervals such is the case with pet stairs. With stairs, the impact stress is broken down into intervals such as 2, 3, 4, or as many steps as there are on the set of stairs they are using. So instead of one great big jolt on the body, there are a few light hops or steps (depending on the size of your dog) in getting up or going down. 

With a ramp, it is more like walking up a slight hill which is well… more like just walking. There is little or no hopping involved with a ramp and it is smooth near totally impact-free motion from start to finish in either direction. The bottom line is that either of the two is better than jumping on and off high surfaces but ramps have a distinct advantage over stairs in this category due to the fact they can basically just walk up to where they need to go and not have to hop or jump. Many of my customers with injured or old pets have said that their vets had recommended ramps over stairs and I would have to agree 100%.

Saving Space

Many of us have small rooms in our homes and because of this space becomes an issue when it comes to choosing a form of access for our pets’ needs. Although saving space is a good thing there are some things to take into consideration before getting a set of stairs that is 6 feet tall and only 3 feet long or a ramp 40″ tall and 3ft long. You can probably guess that I am exaggerating the size of the mentioned measurements but I need to make a point and that is that what you buy needs to be practical and useable by your pet and saving space is only good to a certain degree.

A ramp that is not long enough is too steep and a set of stairs that is not long enough does not have enough useable space on each step. With a ramp, you need plenty of lengths to make the slope as gradual as possible so that your pet is able to go up it. If you run a dog ramp such as one of our bed ramps alongside the bed or along the foot of the bed they do not stick out very far at all from the bed but are as wide as the bed. Running dog stairs up to the bed does not take up much width, but they do stick out from the bed with the back of the stairs against the bed.

Which takes up more space is all in how your look at it and how your room is laid out. The ramp obviously takes up the most area if you want to look at it in measurements, but it is against the bed and only sticks out however many inches the ramp is wide so it is mostly out of the way. The stairs take up the least amount of floor space but stick straight out from your bed 2ft +. As far as space-saving goes, it is all in how your room is laid out and one may fit better than the other for you for your situation.


Although there is no question that both ramps and stairs are WAY safer than letting your dog jump on and off tall beds you should also keep safety in mind when choosing between a dog ramp or a set of dog stairs. Safety is probably the biggest factor in choosing a dog ramp or set of dog stairs and it is important to note that there is indeed a difference in safety effectiveness between ramps and stairs. 

I would venture to say that either you have fallen downstairs at some point in your life or know someone who has. As routine as it is for you or I to go up or down a flight of stairs we still at times miss a step, catch a foot on a step while going up, or any number of things and lose our balance and fall or almost fall. Pets are no different and it is a fact that every year there are many pets that fall down people stairs such as in your home between stories and get injured. The next time you see your dog go –down– a flight of stairs watch the angle in which it puts their body and all the impact and weight it puts on the front legs and shoulders.

If an athletic healthy dog stumbles a little bit going down a set of stairs they would more than likely be able to correct themselves before taking a tumble. An old, injured or weak dog fresh out of surgery on the other hand is very likely to go face first into the ground in the same situation. When we as people use stairs our bodies stay in an upright position because we are on two legs, but as I mentioned above a dog or cat is at a steep angle with just about all their weight and balance on just two legs. There is a reason that we use ramps for disabled people and the elderly and that is that it is a smooth, stable transition from one height to another. As far as safety goes for your pet, the only thing that beats a ramp for safety is an elevator.


I hope I was able to outline some helpful advantages and disadvantages between dog ramps and dog stairs in my comparisons above so that you can make a better-educated decision as to what to provide your pet for their needs.

When choosing a product for your pet to use lookout for dog stairs and dog ramps that are too lightweight because they can slide, tip, and even be bumped while your pet is using them causing them to fall. If you set a pillow on the floor and hit it pretty hard with your foot as you would if you were to accidentally hit it, it will go sliding across the floor. A super lightweight pet ramp or set of pet stairs is no different. Choose something with some weight to it to not only hold it in place but to also counteract the movements of your pet making it difficult or near impossible for them to tip over or slide out from underneath them.

Go to the website to understand are ramps better then stairs for dogs.

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