Outdoor Dog Ramp
Our loveable lug Great Pyrenees is going on eight years old, and like most other giant breeds he is starting to slow down a little bit. We first noticed he wasn’t able to leap into the truck anymore so now Hubs hoists him in, then he hurt himself on the hardwood floors, and recently he slipped going up the two stairs to our patio. So when the Farmhouse Hens topic for July is outdoor projects, I knew exactly what we were going to make.
The Farmhouse Hens are a group of my favorite bloggers who collaborate each month on a given topic. It’s always enjoyable to see what the other Hens create based on the theme. You will find the link to their posts after mine.
This DIY dog ramp is built to lay against the existing stairs, so you don’t need to update and cut into existing stairs. They are really simple to make, I found some shortcuts for part of the measuring that would likely make a carpenter cringe.
Custom Measuring the Dog Ramp for Your Home
The Ramp Size
The best place to start is assessing your own stairs first, this will allow you to choose what materials you want. (My supply list is farther down in the post) For the ramp walkway decide how long you want the ramp to be (4 ft) the longer it is, the smaller the incline for the dog to climb up. This one is two feet wide because our boy is big and the two feet width fit between the existing stair brackets. I went outside with a measuring tape and a scrap board so I could visualize the incline and decided four feet was doable for him.
The upright legs of the ramp need to fit in the space allowed on your existing stairs. Evaluate how much space you have between the stair tread and the stair frame. We had enough room for a 1 by 2, but not a 2 by 4.
Next, you need to decide how long the ramp supports need to be. Check out the picture above to see what I am referring to, the completed ramp did a better job of illustrating what I mean, but to figure it out we took two lengths of 1 by 2 scrap lumber outside in the rain. Make sure the underside of the stairs are free of grass and debris, place the first one by two 1 by 2 into open space between the stairs, and lay second board along the stairs where the ramp will be. Hubs held it in place and I marked it with a pencil where the height of the upright needed to be, along the angle of ramp itself. The actual incline is 25 degrees but it was much easier to just mark it.
Distance from Edge to Upright
Finally, check out how far it is from the end of your ramp and the leg itself, Ours is 1.5″ I wrote it down so we knew where to place the leg when cutting.
Don’t fret too much about getting everything figured out perfectly before starting. You can always go back and check it as you build your ramp, but it lets you know what materials you need, we didn’t have to buy any lumber which was awesome of course. Unfortunately, when getting out there I noticed the sides of the deck need repainting, and we need to do a better job of controlling the grass under the stairs. Ugh, it never ends, does it? I did manage to just mark the To Do and finish the dog ramp first.
Building the Ramp
You will need the following lumber, 1/2″ or thicker plywood 2′ by 4′
One 2 by 4,
Two 1 by 2,
One 1″ by 1″
Drill, Screwdriver, Hammer or Air Nailer
3″ Screws, 1.5″ nails
Mitre Saw or skill saw
Optional Carpet Covering
Inexpensive carpet (Ours is from the Home Depot $10)
Silhouette Store Dog Paw Print
Cutting the Lumber
We cut our lumber the following lengths according to our stair measurements.
Cut 2 – 2 by 4 – four feet long for the ramp
Cut 2 – 1 by 1 – four feet long for the ramp
Cut 1/2 inch plywood (or thicker) 24″ by 48″ the ramp
Cut 4 – 2 by 2 – two feet long for cross braces
Cut 2 – 2 by 2 – 18″ for the height of the legs, angle one end 25 degrees with a mitre saw. Or the easier method cut along the pencil mark you took earlier.
Ramp Side Brackets
You want to have a little edge along the sides of the ramp. To do this attach the 1 by 1″ lumber to the inside of the 2 by 4’s.
Measure 1.5″ from the top of the 2 by 4 at each end.
Line up the 1 by 1 to the marks and nail in place with 1 1/2″ nails.
Repeat for the other 2 by 4.
Attaching the Uprights
You need to refer to your stairs for placement. For our stairs to fit the legs in the right spot we needed to slide the legs 1.5″ from the end before attaching them with the angled end against the 2 by 4. First of all he used wood glue on the end, and then used 3″ screws for this but made sure to angle them so the screws didn’t come out of the wood.
Doing this looked really weird, so we checked it by laying the pieces together first before drilling and screwing them in.
Lay the two 2 by 4’s with the ledges facing each other before doing the second leg, as you want to make sure both the 1 by 1 ledges are towards the inside.
Building the Dog Ramp Frame
For extra strength place in cross pieces, its true you might not need to do this for a small dog, but I recommend doing it anyway as you never know when someone would “try” the ramp.
Hubs placed a brace at the behind the legs, along the bottom, and in the middle of the ramp. He installed the last brace between the two upright legs using a level to make sure they were level. If you don’t have a level you can measure both ends before installing. Each hole was predrilled before screwing in 3″ screws.
Lay the plywood on top. Line up the ends so they are even with the plywood and nail in place. You can use small nails or air nails.
Finishing the Dog Ramp
To finish the dog bed I gave it two coats of leftover greyish paint we had left over from the front porch. Here is a post about how I store and mark my paint, it does end up saving us quite a bit and its so much easier than going and shopping for little projects like this one.
To give pup extra traction we purchased a cheap rug at Home Depot for $10, I made a dog paw stencil using the silhouette and just paper.
I then painted the dog paws onto the carpet with the same paint, giving it two coats. I then sprayed on some polyurethane in the hope of making the stenciling last longer with pups claws.
All that’s left to do is train pup to use it. It’s not in the picture, but I have a large movable fence/pen that I will place along the top stair so the pup has no other way to go down the stairs. That and a bunch of treats should make the change easier for him. Wish me luck, my big boy has a mind of his own.