Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Protect Your Senior Dog From Injury with a Dog Ramp!!

One of the challenges I am starting to have with Milly is her difficulty getting in and out of trucks or SUV’s and on and off my bed. Milly is 10ish, and as she has aged I have fed her Cosequin, a joint supplement, as a daily preventative, but accessing high objects has become more difficult for her. This worries me, because I have read that jumping on and off high objects like a truck, high bed or grooming table can lead to serious injuries and really damage joints, especially in large breeds.

Last spring Milly and I took a ride in the bed of a truck – normally I would never allow her to ride lose in a truck bed, but in this instance we were going no more than 5mph and I was riding with her – when I asked her to “kennel up” (her command to jump into a car) she jumped and then started to fall. I immediately wrapped my arms around her to catch her, but in my haste and worry forgot that two years ago I had shoulder surgery and could no longer lift her, she came crashing into my face and I fell onto the ground with 68 lbs of Golden Retriever on top of me. Milly was fine, and apart from a very swollen, bruised and bloody nose, I was too. This was the first instance where I thought, “she’s really aging.”

Since our truck incident I have been extremely cautious with Milly jumping in-and-out of vehicles or onto high furniture. I often make my boyfriend lift her into any SUV, and even then I’m still worried. I have thought a lot about dog ramps, as they seem like the logical choice in addressing Milly’s aging body and enabling her, a geriatric dog, to safely get in-and-out or off-and-on cars and furniture without Bill or I having to lift her, and with no stress to her joints. What intrigues me most about a dog ramp is it will work for Milly to safely go on-and-off the bed as well as in-and-out of the car – so it is versatile.

I stumbled upon this YouTube video that shows a senior dog trying out two different dog ramps from Pet Gear.

In this video you see a senior dog getting used to the Pet Gear Tri-Fold ramp as well as a smaller indoor ramp. The tri-fold ramp gives the dog easy access in and out of an SUV, while the indoor ramp will help him climb onto his owner’s bed.

Overall, I would recommend that anyone with a large breed dog use a ramp as a preventative to injury, but this is especially critical with senior dogs. I am going to look into how hard it would be to build my own ramp, and if that proves too difficult I will either be purchasing pet stairs or a ramp for Milly to help protect her from injury when accessing a vehicle or furniture. I have no desire to take and chances when I know there are safe alternatives available.


  1. One inexpensive solution may be something like a large picnic cooler, which would provide an intermediary step. Also, they sell plastic folding pet steps (as well as a ramp) at Bed Bath & Beyond, of all places, for $40.


  2. You are right to provide a good solution! I'm only 6 but my staff fully intends to give me a hand when the time comes that I need it! xo, Romeo

  3. I've always taught my kids to jump into the floor of the truck, instead of aiming at the seat. It makes it so much easier when they get older - typically the floor of the truck is at a very reachable height, and it is easy to build a short ramp to it. Good luck with yours, I know what it feels like to have a golden land on you!

    Sam's Mom

  4. The dog ramp is such a good idea. I have a friend that has a really small dog and a huge bed. She has a ramp for the dog so he can climb in bed with her. It's really cute.