Dog Ramps Vs Dog Stairs: Which One To Choose?

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It’s the ultimate doggy health dilemma: what’s better… a ramp or stairs?

For concerned dog owners, it can sometimes be difficult to decide. Afterall, there’s so much conflicting information available online! You need knowledge that you can trust.

That’s where I come in.

Both dog ramps and stairs carry pros and cons. In this blog post, allow me to help you explore the positive and negatives associated with each option so that by the end, you’ll be prepared to make an informed decision (based on science!)

Written by Jen, proud owner of a 3-year-old Great Dane/Poodle mix named Luna, who is her once in a lifetime “heart dog.”

Jen specializes in the care and training of large dog breeds. She particularly enjoys working with Great Danes (for their big, goofy natures) and Poodles (for their intelligence).

4 No-brainer reasons to buy a dog ramp

While dog stairs, steps, and ramps can all lead to better health outcomes for your pup, there are certain situation in which a ramp is the #1 choice.


Ramps are great activity aids for dogs diagnosed with arthritis. There will be less bending in the knees due to the inclined slope.

Comfort and convenience? Yes, please. 


Likewise, a dog with a paw/leg deformity or some other disability will find a ramp easier to use than stairs.

The long and gradual nature of a dog ramp takes less physical effort to get up than steps do. 

Fear of stairs

This point is interesting. Psychologically, some dogs just prefer ramps.

Stairs can look intimidating to dogs. They are tall and narrow.

Since dogs don’t have the same depth perception as humans, ramps appear more user-friendly and less daunting. 

I know my girl Luna much prefers her ramp for this reason. 


Similar to the argument above, some dogs never master the art of climbing stairs. If your puppy grew up in a single level household, they might not ever feel totally at ease walking up and down steps.

Do any of these 4 reasons sound familiar? If you are nodding your head thinking, “Yep,” then a dog ramp is the way to go.

The potential downsides of doggy ramps

However, nothing is perfect. Disadvantages of doggy ramps include:

  • They take up a lot of space
  • Can’t be carried around easily (mine is heavy!)
  • Dog ramps are often more expensive than stairs

4 Awesome advantages of option #2: dog stairs

Okay, hold on.

Clearly, there are lots of excellent reasons to purchase a dog ramp for your fur baby. But why then do so many owners opt for stairs?

Stairs are great for:


Unlike ramps (which are long) stairs take up less space.

Whereas a ramp needs lots of room to provide a slow incline from ground to higher level, stairs accomplish the same thing using far less per square foot.

This makes stairs good for apartment dwellers. 

Ergonomic design

Stairs are also customizable.

You can buy stairs with shorter steps for small breed dogs or stairs with wide and tall steps for larger breeds. 


Dog stairs are often carpeted to provide texture and grip. The AKC recommends choosing one that has an anti-skid surface. 


Shopping online for dog stairs has never been easier! There are dozens of veterinarian-approved products available.

Just take the measurements of the room you intend to place the stair in, and you’re ready!

Small disadvantages of dog stairs worth mentioning

Stairs are helpful tools. Yet, it’s important to purchase those of high quality. Otherwise, they can be:

  • Less sturdy than a ramp
  • Wobble more
  • Topple over if not secured properly

In summary, whether you choose dog stairs or ramps, think of it as an investment in your dog’s future.

According to Alpha Paw, medical bills for a dog who is injured jumping or falling can cost up to $7000… yikes!

A onetime purchase today could truly be a smart, preventative choice.

Photo by Julia Austin.