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- Not a substitute for professional veterinary help.
If you’ve seen your senior dog struggle to get up on the couch or bed, or land awkwardly when they jump off, it’s probably time to investigate solutions for mobility problems in older dogs. The good news is you’ll find a lot of helpful products—everything from lightweight, foldable ramps to harnesses with handles so you can give your dog a boost getting up stairs. Even with mobility issues, your dog will be able to enjoy trips in the car and snuggles on the couch.
Pet Gear Full Length Tri-Fold Pet Ramp
This affordable, heavy-duty, 71-inch ramp is built for big dogs and big cars. The tri-fold design makes it ideal for traveling.
My dog Blizzard began developing arthritis when he was fairly young. By 13, he had many of the problems you might expect from a dog his age. These included joint pain caused by arthritis, age-related muscle loss in his legs, periodic back pain due to a bulging disc, and cataracts that reduced his vision.
The combination of these problems made it difficult for him to stand on slippery floors, climb into and out of vehicles, and go up and down stairs. Because of his size and back problems (and mine!), carrying him around wasn’t a good option. This led me to hunt for some products to help him.
Tools to Help Mobility Problems in Older Dogs
In this article we’ll look first at several products you can use to create DIY solutions to help your senior dog with mobility issues. Then we’ll take a deep dive into the many commercially available ramps and steps that can make a big difference for your canine buddy.
Simply standing back up after a long nap can be painful and difficult for a senior dog. This is especially true if you home has wooden or vinyl floors. I placed area rugs with non-slip backing throughout my home to make it easier for Blizzard to get his feet solidly underneath him. I used a few smaller rugs with non-slip backing to position under his feet to also help him out. Non-slip dog socks can also assist your dog with getting up and staying upright in a world of slippery floors.
Looking for a longer, more gradual incline? This sturdy 71-inch ramp from Pet Gear will accommodate large dogs up to 200 pounds. It folds up neatly, making it a good travel solution. It’s made of plastic, has rubber feet, and weighs 15 pounds. Note that some reviewers reported that their dogs did not like the ramp’s rough tread.
Pet Gear Full Length Tri-Fold Pet Ramp
This affordable heavy-duty 71-inch ramp is built for big dogs and big cars. The tri-fold design makes it ideal for traveling.
This anti-slip socks (four to a set) are available in five sizes so your dog will get a comfortable and secure fit. Just put them on and secure with hook-and-loop fasteners. Because they have non-slip dots on both sides, they’ll function no matter which way you pull them on!
Frisco Cable-Knit Dog Socks
Anti-slip socks are a great way to give your dog a bit more traction as they pad around the house.
After Blizzard took a frightening fall on our stairs, I used a variety of aids to keep him steady. Based on those experiences, I recommend trying stick-on anti-slip stair treads or carpeted no-slip tread.
You can also help your dog up and down stairs using a mobility sling, lifting aid harness, or even a walking harness with a handle.
This sturdy neoprene support sling makes it easy to give your dog a boost—or keep them from falling—on the stairs. It’s easy to put on and take off. It comes in four sizes, and the strap length is adjustable, so you’ll be able to get one that’s just right for your dog and for you.
Labra Dog Support Sling
If your dog is unstable on the stairs, this easy-to-fit support sling will let you give them a helping hand and reduce the chances of a fall.
This Kurgo harness is made specially to double as a lifter for large dogs (50–90 pounds) with mobility issues. The polyester harness is padded for comfort, and the chest strap provides additional control and security.
Kurgo Up & About Lifter Support Harness
If you have a larger dog, this substantial padded harness will enable you to help them on stairs or getting into the car.
The Best Ramps and Steps for Mobility Problems in Older Dogs
Before we look at our list of preferred pet ramps and steps for older dogs with mobility problems, here are some factors to consider when choosing one.
- Assembly: How easy is it to configure the ramp or steps, and how stable are they for your dog once they’re in place?
- Incline: If you’re buying a ramp, make sure it’s not too steep. We found some detailed advice on ramps from animal physical therapists and veterinarians.
- Traction: Does the ramp have rubber pads or grip tape so your pet won’t slip or slide? A tight-weave carpeted surface will help with traction.
- Appearance: The nicer a ramp or set of steps looks, the more likely you’ll be to use it in your living room or bedroom.
- Replacement covers: Heavy use will wear down the covers some ramps—check before you buy to make sure you can replace worn pads or covers.
Finding the right ramp for Blizzard made all the difference for us, as you can see here:
This attractive pet ramp is made from wood with a cherry finish and offers a ribbed carpet walking surface. We like the large landing area at the top, so your dog will feel confident moving to and from a bed or other furniture. The 25-inch height allows easy access to taller furnishings, and it can handle dogs up to 120 pounds. Some reviews note that the tight-woven carpeting doesn’t offer as much traction as they would like. While it costs a bit more than other ramps, it comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
PetSafe CozyUp Pet Ramp
This easy-to-position ramp with a ribbed carpet walking surface is designed to help dogs up to 120 pounds reach higher furniture.
This pet ramp is sturdy but lightweight so you can easily fold it away for storage or take it with you for travel. The carpeted tread is a safe, easy-to-grip surface to help older dogs with mobility problems. The ramp automatically locks when folded. Note that some buyers have reported this ramp is too short to work well on beds. It’s rated for dogs up to 200 pounds.
Gen7Pets Mini Indoor Pet Ramp
This highly portable pet ramp will help your dog get to the next level. It’s rated for big dogs, too—up to 200 pounds.
PetSafe (formerly Solvit) makes these folding stairs in large (20 inches high) or extra-large (25 inches high and wider) sizes. These have fabric covers, side rails, and non-skid feet to help prevent slipping and wobbling. While they weigh only five pounds, they are rated for small-to-medium size pets and can support up to 150 pounds.
PetSafe CozyUp Folding Dog Stairs
Lightweight. but sturdy, these steps can help small-to-medium size dogs get onto furniture and beds. Available in two sizes.
This two-step, 22-inch plastic stairway from Pet Gear combines the best features of stairs and ramps. We like the big steps and the easy-to-grip carpeted ramps at each level, plus the carpet tread is easily removable for cleaning.
Pet Gear Easy Step II Pet Stair
Deep steps with a bit of a ramp-type slant, these can help a larger dog move securely onto a bed or furniture. Made of sturdy plastic.
These pet steps are from Armarkat, maker of sturdy cat trees. True to form, these steps do not disappoint. Made of pressed wood and covered in fleece, they’re perfect for getting your small dog up to the bed or to a low window sill. They are 25 inches high, 25 inches deep, and 17 inches wide.
Armarkat Pet Steps
Designed for smaller pets, these steps make it possible for your dog to get up to the bed.
This indoor ramp for cats and dogs made of firm foam provides a lot of traction. It’s available in three-, four-, and five-step versions, which can boost your pet up to 13, 19, or 23 inches. The faux lambswool covering can be removed and is machine washable. These stairs get rave reviews from people with cats and small dogs.
Best Pet Supplies Foam Pet Stairs
Choose from three convenient sizes of these foam stairs to fit your small dog and hour house. The faux fur cover is removable and washable.
Large, durable carpeted surfaces on these steps make it easy for your dog with mobility problems to hop aboard and recover their balance—or settle in for a nap. These well-designed stairs top out at 26 inches and also double as storage boxes—just lift the plush lids to stash toys, blankets, or grooming tools. Want to get them out of the way? These stairs also cleverly fold flat to be tucked behind the couch or into a closet until your dog needs them.
Frisco Collapsible Pet Steps and Storage
Lightweight but sturdy, these 26-inch-high steps fold away flat when you don’t need them. For dogs up to 80 pounds.
What a great idea! This snap-together pet ramp set lets you configure it to wrap around the corner of a bed or other furnishing so it doesn’t stick out and take up lots of room. It even includes a storage area accessible from a hinged back panel. These stairs are designed for small and medium-sized pets and top out at 25.5 inches. The carpet treads can be removed for washing.
Pet Gear Easy Step Bed Stair
These corner steps are a great space-saving solution for you and a big help to your small- or medium-sized dog.