Condo Blues: How to Build an Outdoor Dog Ramp

Sunday, February 21, 2021

How to Build an Outdoor Dog Ramp

Our dog Lacey lives life at 90 miles an hour. She runs. She jumps. She barks. She barks some more.

So. Much. Barking.

When Lacey practically flipped a switch from her normal bouncing off of satellites self to barely and cautiously walking it meant a quick trip to the vet for x rays.

Lacey has two slipped discs in her back which is common for dachshunds. We left the vet with meds for the pain and inflammation, bed rest for two weeks (good luck with that!) and to eliminate jumping situations as much as possible so her back doesn’t get any worse.

I bought these light weight dog stairs with a washable cover for the living room furniture Lacey is allowed to sit on. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.) They aren’t the prettiest but they were cheap enough to buy a few more to add to what we have so that every chair/sofa in the living room has stairs leading up to it. We think jumping up on a chair that didn't have dog steps is how she hurt herself. 

Sitting next to my people is my favorite place to be!

I also scored this exact folding dog ramp on Marketplace for a song because OMG folding dog ramps for cars are spendy! Hopefully we can get Lacey to use the ramp to get in and out of  the car. No matter how many times we tell her to wait until we pick her up Lacey will catapult herself into the back seat of the car because waiting is for sissies – apparently.


How to Make a Down and Dirty Small Dog Ramp

I needed an outdoor dog ramp immediately because once Lacey started to feel a little better she didn’t want to wait for a human assist when it came to the front step.

how to build an outdoor dog ramp
Save this quick and easy tutorial to your Pinterest Boards for later! Share it with your friends!

I based the design on a dog agility A frame which Lacey had some experience with when she was younger at the dog park. The size of the ramp was determined by how much scrap pressure treated wood I had on hand, her girth, and the height of the porch step.

In hindsight, I should have made the ramp a little longer and with a more gentle slope but I was going for quick and fast since I was building it in an unheated garage during the winter and Lacey needed it yesterday. My plan is use the down and dirty version now to see what does and doesn’t work and use that to build a better (and better looking) dog ramp.


You will need:

Scrap cardboard to make a template


Utility knife like this one

Tape measure – a speed square like this one is helpful if you have it

Pressure treated wood

Circular saw – I found the same exact circular saw I have on Amazon here for less than I paid for it at Lowes

Wood glue – this wood glue is my favorite

Wood screws

Drill and countersink drill bit like this one

Optional: Outdoor paint and paintbrush

Optional: Outdoor nonslip mat (you can find several types of outdoor nonslip mats here) and a staple gun


Step by Step how to Make It Tutorial:

1. Use the tape measure to measure your dog’s height and width and the height of the step. This will help you determine how wide and how long/the slope of your dog ramp.

2. Using the measurements you took in Step 1, use the pencil to draw what will be a cutting template for the ramp’s side supports. Cut the triangle out using the utility knife and hold it in place next to your step. Adjust the height and slope as needed.

3. Use the cardboard template and a circular saw to cut 2 side supports from a sheet of pressure treated wood.

how to make a dog ramp

I used painter’s tape on my cut lines to keep the wood edges from splintering when I cut them with my saw

4. Use the circular saw to cut the top of the ramp to fit the side supports.

5. In the interest of time, I cut two rungs from scrap molding. I applied wood glue and screwed them to the ramp that Lacey  can use for traction. 

how to make a small dog ramp

When I remake the dog ramp, I will cut a non slip outdoor doormat to fit and use staple gun to attach it to the ramp. I think the mat will to keep the ramp from getting too slippery in the rain and snow better than the rungs we have now.

6. I used wood glue, a drill, and countersink drill bit to screw the top of the ramp to the side supports.

7. I measured and cut 3 pieces of pressure treated 2x4 to fit in between the ramp’s side supports and screwed them into place to keep the ramp sturdy as Lacey walks up and down it.

how to build a simple dog ramp
That center support is a little crooked but it fit too solid to remove and redo.
It isn't pretty but it works!

8. I filled my countersink holes with wood filler so Lacey won’t catch a dew claw in them, and painted the ramp with two coats of outdoor paint so my Home Owner’s Association can’t complain about that our outdoor dog ramp is unattractive since it matches the color of the front door and shutters.


DIY outdoor ramp
I kept the wood a little rough to give Lacey more traction when she goes up and down the ramp. An alterative would be to mix a little sand into the paint you are using to paint the top of the ramp.


If you’d rather buy than DIY, check out the following dog ramp options – and more! – below!

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Melynda@Scratch Made Food! said...

Hello, this is one of my favorites for Encouraging Hearts and Home, this week! I hope you stop by and say hello, this post has been pinned! Thank you for being a part of Encouraging Hearts and Home, we appreciate all that you share. Have a great week ahead!

Lydia from Lydia's Flexitarian Kitchen said...

What a great idea! Aging pets can be a challenge but your projects will help maintain her quality of life. Thanks for sharing with us at Creatively Crafty #ccbg :)

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