How can I either build steps or a very gradual ramp for my large dog?

I have a large 12 yr old dog. He lives to swim but is having difficulty coming up the ladder now. I would like to come up with a inexpensive ramp with a very gradual incline or steps rather then the ladder that's not straight up. Swimming makes him so happy and I know his time is getting short. But I do not have the kind of cash around to put too much into it.

  7 answers
  • Sandy Slade Sandy Slade on Jul 01, 2017
     Lovely idea. I hope you get some good answers.

  • Seethebeauty Seethebeauty on Jul 01, 2017
    Well, my first thought for cheap is to used heavy sand bags or brick to keep it from floating up. My thought is plastic will last longer in water than wood, but don't know of a cheap way to get a ramp. The ramps you use to get your dog in the car would be great on the shallow end. I kind of feel like the ramp is better than a ladder as he gets older. Wait! brain storm! What about large boulders of different sizes? I take my dog's to Horsetooth Reservoir all the time and they use the large rocks under the water to get back up on shore. A creative way that can be cheap if you go in search of them.

  • Sue Noddy Sue Noddy on Jul 01, 2017
    Backyard swimming pool? I assume so. See if you can find slippery slides from a childs play equipment, you may need to attach 2 together so it is not too steep. Put fake grass or rubber mat on it (glue? rivet?) so it is not slippery, tie to sides and perhaps a concrete block at bottom end to stop it floating. Alternately you could build steps, although I think wood would rot and it would be a much bigger job. Hope he can swim for a long time to come as it is good for his mobility and not weight bearing. We are lucky we have dams in the paddocks for ours to use.

  • Susan Swalius Susan Swalius on Jul 02, 2017
    Thank you Sue. Great idea. Now I have to set out to find them. Yard sales here I come.

  • Liz Liz on Jul 02, 2017
    one more addition might be to add cross bars every 12" so your dog can get better footing . The AstroTurf can be slippery and the strip give some extra footing. Get some 2x4's and cut to measure then screw to your base.
    remember to remove your ramp When you're not using it so it lasts longer.
    alternatively... you may be able to find a used dog ramp at a thrift shop or yard sale
    ( plastic would be better) the foldable ones are great. Then customize it yourself.
    Love Senior dogs!

  • Susanroy36 Susanroy36 on Jul 02, 2017
    Hi - wish I knew if this was for a swimming pool - in-ground or the above ground round ones? Our old dog has ramps everywhere. We used two 8-foot 2x8's with slats on the bottom to keep them together, and he uses it to go down 4 stairs into our living room (we carpeted it), and it worked so well we made one with indoor/outdoor carpeting for our front steps. If you used 2x8 for your pool, you can just put it down while he uses it, and then lift it out when not used. Hope this makes sense as I describe it.

  • Susan Swalius Susan Swalius on Jul 03, 2017
    Above ground. What did you use. I made a real nice one this weekend but he was having difficulty with it. He is large and with what I had to work with, its not wide enough. So back to square one.