Introduction: Inexpensive Doggie Ramp

Picture of Inexpensive Doggie Ramp


Pet ramps are expensive! I looked at the cost of these things and thought that $100.00 to $180.00 was too much to pay so I thought that I'd design my own with common items found at Home Depot. My intention was to be able to use the ramp to get our Shar-Pei, Buster (otherwise known as "Boo") in and out of our pickup truck so that he could have some relief from his tennis elbow and not have to deal with the constant impact on his joints. My dog is a darned good tennis player BTW.

So my wife and I walked the aisles of Home Depot looking for parts and pieces that we could use to make a ramp for our dog, We found six foot closet shelves that went for ten bucks each and bought two of them to interlace, zip-tie and use as the ramp structure itself. We also purchased a six foot by two foot piece of outdoor carpet for the main anti-slip surfacing for the ramp assembly. By the way, if you want the carpeting to completely cover the assembly, then you will need to purchase a piece that's about two feet-eight inches wide.

Additionally, you can also make the ramp wider by about four inches by simply spreading the wire shelves apart and zip tying them at that wider point.

Step 1:

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We also bought the rubber end covers for the exposed wire rod ends. These slip on covers serve to protect our hardwood floors and the fabrics of our pickup truck seats.

We simply used an awe and poked holes in the carpet at about every fourth spacing in the wire itself and zip-tied the carpet to the ramp wire rods. Eventually, the ramp was completely wrapped and all of the zip-ties were cut off and their edges rolled to be in positions so as to not be a cutting danger to anyone handling the ramp. Those zip ties can slice you open if you are not careful, so make sure you position those cut ends so as to be completely safe for you and your pet.

Step 2:

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As you can see from the photos, Boo took right to the ramp quite easily. There was absolutely no training required. All totaled, this ramp cost us less that $32.00 including the carpet, the two closet shelves, the rubber shelf end plugs and the zip-ties. Overall, this project was simple and took about an hour to construct. So if you have a need for a car or a bed ramp for your dog, give this one a go and save yourself a ton of money!

Take note of the "Batman" logo on my dogs chest... that will give you a hint as to the nature of his night-time activities... no wonder he comes home sore after a night of fighting crime in the neighborhood.

Goo and Lou


elsmason made it! (author)2017-12-02

I have been searching and shopping for a ramp! My husband and I just assembled this in about 20 min for under $20. (We had some supplies on hand) This is great for our two older dachshunds! One took to it instantly, especially with a trail of treats to follow. The other one is more hesitant. Any ideas how to help him be more confident and try it out?

MrBrownDog (author)elsmason2017-12-04

Your second dog will catch on soon enough. It’s like teaching them to use a doggie door. They learn by example. Your idea of using a trail of treats will eventually work! I’m glad it turned out well and at such a killer price, what dog can complain?

Kimberlygarn made it! (author)2017-09-02

My mom needed this for her aging min pin. We "sewed" 2 wood flooring planks for stability with the plastic ties as in placing them as close to the planks as possible. She feels the steps because she's blind. Also used two rubber carpets from Lowes. About $4 each. Also tacked it down with clips to our two step stairs.

MrBrownDog (author)Kimberlygarn 2017-12-04

It sure looks functional! Hope your dog likes it. So far, everyone is gappy with their build results.

ThomasR220 (author)2017-07-22


Just wanted to complement you on great idea. My wife and I RV so we have always been looking for a simple design and you hit in on the head. Made a few mods to handle our situation (bracket on top to lean on RV steps and piece of kids pool noodle on bottom to keep the bottom end off ground. Saw some comments about cost being high, we got the shelving at habitat for humanity @ 1$ per foot and rug was a left over piece from Lowes.

lrunge (author)ThomasR2202017-08-20

Good for you! You made some darn good advancements on my design. I'm going to expect to see you at the swap meet selling the heck out of these things!

paigan72 (author)2017-08-14

I have an almost 14 year old Siberian Husky. It's difficult watching him stumble on things he used to be able to bounce on. I am on disability, which means a very limited income. There's no way I could afford the dog ramps they sell. This invention of yours is amazing and literally means the world to me and my furbaby. I can't thank you enough for creating and sharing it, but I'll try. Thank you SO much. My boyfriend and I will be making one asap. Thank you again!

lrunge (author)paigan722017-08-20

Take your time and make sure you take a lighter to the clipped off Zip Ties so they dont cut you later in down the road.

I'm glad it will help your dog. They tend to suffer and cant say so. Doing everything tou can is a good thing!


ccomo55 (author)2017-07-20

Hi! Thank you for creating such an inexpensive but sturdy ramp for pet owners. I was wondering Lou if there was a way in which the ramp could run along side of a queen bed. My dog has recently become blind. He loves to sleep on the bed with me but is too scared to get on or off of the bed. I don't have the space in my bedroom to have the ramp stick out perpendicular to the bed. I need it to be parallel with it so that the ramp fits in my room which is small. Do you have any ideas or suggestions to help me? Thanks in advance! : )

MrBrownDog (author)ccomo552017-07-21

Tou're more than welcome!

MrBrownDog (author)ccomo552017-07-21

Try propping it up with a stool, box or something similar, then use bungy cords to tie it between the box spring and the mattress.

The other way is to slip a piece of plywood between the box spring and the mattress about half the length of the ramp and poitionbit so the ramp come up to the same height as the bed top. Zip tie and bungy cord it in place...

pmartinez13 made it! (author)2015-05-12

This worked out great. I measured the depth of my car and cut the ramp appropriately so that I could slide it into my car (5'). I have an older lab who's back end doesn't always work and can't jump anymore. As long as he doesn't run up it (which causes one foot to miss the ramp) he goes up it just fine and it holds his weight. It's lightweight and very portable. Thanks!

lrunge (author)pmartinez132015-05-12

I'm so happy for you and your dog!

A lot of dogs get hip dysplasia as they get older due to their joints wearing out or by their owners doing things such as having their dogs pull them around on their skateboards, bicycles, etc.

In either case, our dogs feel pain after a while,,, yet they always are happy to see us. This ramp design is just a little positive payback for a life of giving joy to us all.


pmartinez13 (author)lrunge2015-05-12

Thankfully I never exposed my dog to that to prevent that from happening. Basic arthritis and nerve degeneration from being 16 has caught up with him. Thanks again for sharing. It's been very helpful.

MrBrownDog (author)pmartinez132017-07-21

I'm glad tou like it!

MrBrownDog (author)pmartinez132017-07-21

My dog is in the same boat... no running allowed.

JenniferN104 (author)pmartinez132017-03-17

Where'd you buy your carpet?

MrBrownDog (author)JenniferN1042017-07-21

Home depot remanent!

marian424 (author)2017-07-01

OK, this is genius. And Boo is adorable. I recently took in a dog who is so overweight that I will be building this while we get her to a better weight. Thank you for this Instructable, you have made it so easy!

qwho1 (author)2017-06-19

I need a ramp about 8' long, for 16 year old cat to hopefully be able to climb easier than 6 steep steps that lead to loft in my tiny house.

each step is 11"-12" high, last one is 17") and 8" deep and she is a tiny cat and cannot get up or down them by herself. will that be too steep? still seems worth a try, with the right carpet, so it is not slick on her way down.

may just try a 6"-7" wide board, 8' long, and prop at bottom step (against kitchen pantry) and see if she can navigate it. maybe try non slip tape first, before I carpet it, in case she cannot go up it either

lrunge (author)qwho12017-06-21

Use some good indoor outdoor carpet and if you want to make the ramp lighter, just remove every other wire??Ronniel

qwho1 (author)lrunge2017-06-21


my entire 'staircase' is only about 24' wide, so I cannot use something more than 7" or 8" wide, so that I can still navigate the stairs...will try just a board with a nubby carpet, but not so nubby she gets her claws stuck in it

MichelleH201 (author)2016-08-01

Has anyone made this foldable? Reducing the width of one of the halves to nest inside of the other half for storage? Then... how to quick connect the two halves on the spot for use as ramp? Maybe some sort of a clamp system?

lrunge (author)MichelleH2012017-06-21

Cool idea... I'd probably cut the ramp in half and fix hinges similar to the folding motorcycle ramps that are out there.

JenniferN104 (author)2017-03-17

Can you buy carpet at Home Depot, too? I can't wait to make this for my dachshund.

lrunge (author)JenniferN1042017-06-21

Yup.. look in the aisle with remanents first.

CrazyCase (author)2017-06-20

My dogs needed to get up a 3ft ledge on their way to the new doggie door we installed. I couldn't believe that everything I needed was right here in our home. I am quite pleased how well our ramp turned out. Thank you for sharing.

lrunge (author)CrazyCase2017-06-21

Man, they look great. They sure do help with sore joints and the like. Good job with these ramps!

SusanK112 (author)2016-09-27

Used shelves and stuff around great with our dachshunds!

JonnyLeonard (author)2016-07-19

How heavy of a dog will this support?

MrBrownDog (author)JonnyLeonard2016-07-21

My dog weighs 70 pounds and another dog whose owner made a ramp weighs 167 pounds... I would hate to have his food bill!

MrBrownDog (author)JonnyLeonard2016-07-21

The shelving is designed to hold a heck of a lot of weight. As an architect, we know that it is possible to load shelving at 250 pounds per shelf per square foot,which is a lot. Then when you double up the wire shelving, you shouldn't have a problem... unless of course you're loading horses...

SandraM96 (author)2016-03-18

Hi Guys, I have a 15 1/2 old Maltese/Poodle cross 181/2 lbs. He is suffering with arthritis and is still using a lot of stairs but with difficulty. I can not retrain him to use the front door for his bedtime pee. Your stairs are ingenious, do you think this method could be used to cover the stairs from standard height deck? I know this is going to have to be a very long ramp. Hoping you might be able to give me your thoughts before I ask my son. Thanks kindly, Sandy

MrBrownDog (author)SandraM962016-07-21

Hook together mutiple shelving units with zip ties and make it as long as you need!

LeelaBell (author)SandraM962016-03-20

I just made one of these that is 4 feet long to reach an 21" couch, and it's pretty steep. How high is your deck? Our deck is 4 feet high, and we have an old wooden ramp that is 12' long, and it works ok. I read somewhere that you want the length to height ratio to be > 2.25 for it to not be "too steep". Our 4 foot ramp to 21 inch couch is 1:2.3, and the ramp to our deck is 1:3. I think the couch ramp will work for our spry young dachshund (which is who it's for), but our really old arthritic dog needs the longer and less steep ramp.

SandraM96 (author)LeelaBell2016-03-21

Thank you so much for your speedy reply. I will have to measure the deck but suspect it might be too high to ramp. My son is making a wooden ramp to run along the side of the bed (approx. 26" high) I think everything is going to be trial and error from here on in. The goal is to make him as comfortable as possible. My knees are getting bad but I have the option of knee replacement. Jokingly I asked the vet about new knees for Rocky but doesn't seem like an option so I will have to make whatever modifications I can for him. All I can do is enjoy every day I have with him and make him as comfortable as possible.
Thanks again, wish you the best, Sandy

Colettesweb (author)2016-03-27

Would this ramp bear the weight of a 175 pound Irish wolfhound? Would the ramp need to be reinforced somehow? We have a fairly steep set of stairs that Paddy is afraid to even attempt to go up or down.

MrBrownDog (author)Colettesweb2016-07-21

Oh, heck yeah! Doubled-up shelving Is extremely strong.... It is a very tough assembly.

NancyW63 (author)2016-04-02

This is perfect! I think I can, I think I can...thank you!

MrBrownDog (author)NancyW632016-07-21

Good for you and your pet!

Lulu-bell (author)2016-04-09

Would it be hard to make holes with an awe for a woman with bad hands? If so, do you think a glue gun or gorilla glue would hold the carpet to the racks or any other suggestions is greatly appreciated? also, my senior cat has bad arthritis and hip dysplasia. Would only one shelve be wide enough? Thank you for your help!

Dysplasia dysplasia

MrBrownDog (author)Lulu-bell2016-07-21

Use a hot melt glue gun and you'll be fine! Or draft a strapping young lad in the neighborhood to help you push the awl through the carpet for your zip ties.

Also, if you clip the zip ties off, you will leave a very sharp edge. Use a lighter to round off these hope this helps.


LeelaBell (author)2016-03-20

Can someone who has made one describe how they made the holes and then looped the zip ties through them? I used an awl to make small holes in the carpet and then fed the zip ties through, but it was very hard to line them up to go through both the front and back part of the carpet at the same time, so I ended up making multiple holes (up to 4) per zip tie, then feeding the ties through, and it as quite time-consuming, so I'm interested in finding a quicker and easier way to do that part. Any ideas?

NickyM8 made it! (author)2016-03-14

Thank you so much for this very beautiful and so cheap idea!

I bought couple of meters of shelve racks for my 2 Shih tzu (mine and my sister's) 4 ramps in total and 1 pack of zip ties. I paid 30 CAD in RONA and it's so worth it!

MrBrownDog (author)NickyM82016-03-14

Oh grand! those little guys are going to love it!


MireiaB (author)2015-10-12

Great and sensible idea!!! Could you give me an estimate of the weight of your ramp?

I'm trying to figure out a way to build a light enough cat ramp (it could be half the width of yours easily) that I can make it 8 meters long and have the strength to lift it from the floor. Maybe it's mission impossible, but my goal is to build a cheap, light, foldable, "carriable" cat ramp to use for rescuing cats stuck in high places (I'm a volunteer for an animal protection organisation).

I had thought of using laminated wood flooring, as it is rigid enough not to bend, and has good shape and measures (using rubber tubes as rungs or some thick rough carpeting) but even though it is light enough to carry (3 square meters are 15 kg aprox) it's still too heavy to lift from the ground up, unless I come up with another way to raise it, like pulleys or something haha. I also need to find a way to make it foldable and then to straighten it out somehow (like a folding ruler, for instance), or to carry it disassembled and then assemble it on site with some rigid fixture at the union of two laminates... Oh, well. I don't think I'm going to have this done anytime soon. XD

lrunge (author)MireiaB2015-11-11

Weight around 20 pounds!

I helped a cat rescue person by attaching lightweight carpet to a collapsible telescoping aluminum ladder for doing exactly what you do. Check it out.

MireiaB (author)lrunge2015-12-24

Thanks a lot for your answer. I would have thought an aluminum ladder was way too heavy for this kind of thing (or maybe they didn't make it THAT long?) but I will certainly look into this, it certainly is a sturdier structure than what I had in mind... Thanks again!

marmont1 (author)2015-09-01

have you created anyway that it can be used as a bed ramp that can be propped up securely?

lrunge (author)marmont12015-11-11

Use bungee cords to tie the ramp to the mattress. Put the rubber plugs on the ends of the ramp to keep it from scaring up your flooring...

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