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DIY Dog Ramp

Outdoor Dog Ramp for Over Stairs

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. Its time to find a solution for him.

This DIY dog ramp is built to lay against the existing deck 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 foot width fit between the existing stair brackets, while being wide enough for his stride. 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 Uprights

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.

Measuring the spacing needed for fitting a DIY Dog ramp over stairs

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 DIY Dog Ramp

DIY Dog Ramp for Outdoors that fits over stairs.

Supply List

You will need the following lumber, 1/2″ or thicker plywood 2′ by 4′. Our plywood is being covered with the carpet so we bought the less expensive construction grade plywood.

  • One 2 by 4,
  • Two 1 by 2,
  • One 1″ by 1″
  • Drill, Screwdriver, Hammer or Air Nailer
  • 3″ Screws, 1.5″ nails
  • Wood Glue
  • Paint, carpet
  • Mitre Saw or skill saw

Optional Carpet Covering

  • Inexpensive carpet (Ours is from the Home Depot $10)
  • Silhouette Store Dog Paw Print
  • Card Stock

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.

Lumber cut to size for making a DIY Dog Ramp.

Dog 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.

Measuring placement for dog ramp braces made out of wood

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.

Attaching the legs for a DIY Dog Ramp that fits over stairs

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.

How to build the frame for a DIY dog ramp

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.

Drilling and screwing the pieces of a large pet ramp for outdoors.

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.

Adding braces for extra strength on a DIY dog ramp.

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.

Adding plywood to a DIY dog ramp.

Finishing the Dog Ramp Over the Stairs

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 to store and mark 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.

A outside dog ramp that fits over stairs.

To give pup extra traction we purchased a inexpensive rug at Home Depot for $10, I made a dog paw stencil using the silhouette and just paper.

Painting paw prints onto a carpet for a DIY dog ramp

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.

A DIY dog ramp with printed paw prints for outdoors.

Dog Ramps are Easier on Dogs

Dog ramps made with a non slip surface are much easier for your dog to use, especially as they age. Our big love leaps at life and would catch a paw between the openings of the stairs. This dog ramp is the perfect answer for him.

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.

A handmade dog ramp that fits over stairs for outdoors

Other DIY Pet Posts to Check Out

We do all sorts of projects for our dog. We find it easier to accomodate the dog needs with a simple DIY that protects our home, so that we don’t have to be too strict with him. I have several examples but shared three handy dog ideas.

A no sew couch cover for pets in a light cream colour with a large puppy sitting on it.

DIY Couch Cover for Dogs

This DIY couch cover for dogs is made using dropcloth canvas. We needed it to protect the couch from a new puppy, and to brighten a dark room Its worked very well for both problems. Give it a try for protecting delicate couch fabric.

How to clean up after a pet.

Removing Dog Hair from Carpet Stairs

Speaking of house problems with pets, our big loveable boy sheds immensely. Our vacuum isn’t able to keep, but I found a crazy simple solution that takes work, but removes dog hair very well.

A DIY waterproof feeding mat for pets, The pet placemat is very large, covered in pretty blue, green, and teal fabric, with two large pet food bowls and a small fabric bone cloth placemat for snacks.

DIY Pet Placemat

Make a large waterproof pet placemat in any sie you like to protect those wood floors.


  1. Amazing it looks. Thankyou for sharing it. Will try something similar with my partner for our puppy too 🙂

  2. My daughter and I made this not for a dog but for our rabbit to get into her hutch after we elevated it so she could have a screened in bottom floor.

  3. This is the coolest thing ever Leanna! I want to get a dog just so I can have one of these, lol. Your talent and creativity never ceases to amaze me. 🙂

  4. This is such a neat idea! I would have loved this when our Matilda was still with us. She always struggled to get up the steps as she got older.

  5. This is so cute and I am sure your puppy is so happy to have his own ramp.

  6. This is such a great idea, Leanna! Both my children have large dogs and both with mobility issues so I’m definitely sharing this idea with them. I’m sure once your fur baby realizes how much easier it is to get off the deck, he’ll be using it all the time. Pinned 🙂

  7. I’m sure your beautiful fur baby will start using his ramp in no time at all Leanna. It’s always so sad when they get older and you watch how they struggle to do all those things they used to do with ease. Love the fact that you care so much to make his life easier <3

  8. Looks amazing Leanna! I miss my dog so much and she totally would have loved this. Thank you so much for sharing!

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