As soon as Buster started experiencing weakness in his hind legs, we knew it was time to invest in a dog ramp. At 80 pounds, carrying him in and out of the motorhome was not an option. And watching him struggle up the steep steps was difficult for us all.

We were also concerned that he could fall and injure himself, or develop a fear of the steps. And we knew that we’d need some time to train him to use the ramp.

Now that Buster’s gone, we’ve passed his ramp along to Kai, a 10-year-old Golden Retriever, who has some trouble with her hips. She took to the ramp right away, and is barreling in and out of her RV again!

A Golden Retriever using an RV dog ramp

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Traveling With Senior Dogs

It’s not unusual for big dogs to develop weakness, painfulness, or even neurological issues in their hind legs as they age. Our first hint that Buster had an issue came when he was about eleven years old. For Kai, the challenges with her hips started around her 10th birthday. But she’s a proud dog and didn’t want any help from her people! When Buster passed, we knew that Kai would really appreciate his ramp. And it was the perfect time to teach her to use it – before her symptoms got worse.

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Two Golden Retrievers using an RV dog ramp

Choosing the Right Dog Ramp

The time to get a collapsable dog ramp is when your dog begins having difficulty on the stairs, but before he really needs it. Dogs are great at ignoring pain and could easily strain a muscle or tear a ligament trying to do more than their bodies are able. If your dog were to hesitate or lose his balance on the steps, it could easily end in a fall. Plus, you might need some time to train your dog to use the ramp.

Tips for Choosing and Using an RV Dog Ramp |

When you know what you want, choosing a dog ramp is easy. RV steps are fairly steep, so we looked for a ramp long enough to make the climb more gradual. The longest ramp we found that could be packed and stowed for travel was 8 feet.

At that length, we could take three steps out of the equation, but Buster still had to manage the last two on his own. Positioning the ramp any higher made Buster uncomfortable with the incline, but a longer ramp would have been unmanageable in the Winnebago. This ramp provided the best compromise.

Goplus 8-foot Pet Ramp

Our second requirement was a non-skid surface. The Goplus ramp is covered in what feels like course sandpaper, which provides excellent doggy footing.

Lastly, I needed a dog ramp that was light and easy to use. This ramp is made of aluminum and weighs just 19 pounds, so it’s a breeze to set up and take down. It folds in half, clips closed, and has a carry handle, so storing it when we’re ready to hit the road isn’t a problem.

An added benefit is that this ramp is just 15 inches wide. That gave us enough space to walk down the steps alongside the ramp when it was set up. But, with a weight capacity of 250 pounds, the ramp would also hold Buster and me at the same time.

Tips for Using a Dog Ramp in Your RV or Motorhome

Every dog is different, and we had no idea what Buster would think of his new ramp. When it arrived we set it up, grabbed the treats, and encouraged him to give it a try.

He was having none of it! He put his front paws on the ramp, but wouldn’t go any further. It quickly became clear that getting him acclimated to the ramp was going to take some work.

On the other hand, Kai, and her sister, Nala, were racing up and down the ramp right way!

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Training Your Dog to Use a Ramp

If your dog is more like Buster, keep in mind that baby steps work best when training new behaviors. We started teaching Buster to use the ramp with it lying flat on the ground. At first he was leery, but with some rewards and a lot of praise, his confidence grew.

Tips for Choosing and Using an RV Dog Ramp |

Tips for Choosing and Using an RV Dog Ramp |

We left the ramp where we could get Buster to walk across it multiple times a day. Within a few days it had become part of his normal routine.

The next stage was to add some incline and decline. A wooden step provided a stable base, and again Buster started out nervously. But after a few days of practice he had the hang of things.

Tips for Choosing and Using an RV Dog Ramp |

Tips for Choosing and Using an RV Dog Ramp |

Tips for Choosing and Using an RV Dog Ramp |

Placing a door mat at the end of the ramp helped Buster learn not to jump off before he got to the end. If his paws didn’t hit the mat, there was no treat for that attempt!

Tips for Choosing and Using an RV Dog Ramp |

Tips for Choosing and Using an RV Dog Ramp |

Buster picked things up pretty quickly, and after about a week we were able to move the ramp to RV steps. He took one trip on the lowest step, one on the second step, and then was ready to climb the ramp in it’s highest position. After that, he used the ramp multiple times a day for years.

READ MORE ⇒  See Buster Using A Wheelchair To Enjoy Life

Tips for Choosing and Using an RV Dog Ramp |

Seeing Buster age wasn’t easy. But we’re glad we could help make his senior years a little easier. And now we’re glad that his ramp his helping Kai to continue to live an active and happy life with her family.

Gear Used in This Post:
(Affiliate Links)

Goplus Pet Ramp

Ageless Paws Pet Treats

Paw Lifestyle Treat Bag

Freedom No-Pull Harness

Alcott Weekender Leash

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  • My oldest and closet friend just not physically but her arthritic Pit Bull Chance has now fallen off the steps, the edge of her bed, he is suffering from getting an infection. He is 89 lbs she is 5’4″ and truly needs a sturdy enough light enough able to be lifted by small petite elderly woman. A ramp that is capable of holding him over the steps into the house Trailer. To also allow her the ability walk on it as t 150lbs. This ramp looks so wonderful. We were thinking a permanent wooden one ramp which when she returned res ad moves out of the5th wheel she rents in FL thatshe can use my t for car entry, new home Ramp. Having been run over in a crosswalk was by a speeding DUI Driver my hubby and I at 45 mph left us without the ability to get into our Mobile Home. He ended up building an attached to the deck ramp that had to long enough to low my electric Jazy to get up the ramp.

    This ramp I believe is what wll light enough, small enough has handle for her teeny short sweet self to store it. My main concern is if cChancey can fall off the sides? She is worried not sturdy enough. This is the first metal ramp which actually fits the strength and sturdier weight needs. 250 lbs is pretty ideal to be meeting an additional need.
    Thank you for your fantastic detailed review. Enjoyed learning from a person whom has been in her idetucql situation. Can’t wait to send her and her daughter the infoso if this the one you get the affilate money from their purchasing from Amazon.

    • Thanks for your note, Shelley – and for helping to support my site. I’m really glad you’ve found a ramp that you think will help your friend. As far as Chance falling off the sides of the ramp … we never had that problem with our Buster, and he weighed 80 pounds and was less than graceful. ;-) In fact, we had to teach him that he didn’t get his treat until he walked to the end of the ramp to keep him from trying to jump off! But if Chance is having issues with his balance (which might have contributed to his falls), there’s a chance he could fall. Buster was struggling more with arthritis and lack of strength in his back legs, and the ramp worked beautifully for that. Good luck to you both!