How to Build a Dog Water Ramp – 3 Different Ways

Dog playing in the water

The Boyertown public swimming pool. It’s where I spent tons of time every summer when I was a kid, and I loved every minute of spending that time in the water.

My mom would sit under a tree and read a book and we would swim and swim and swim. We sure slept well on those nights!

Swimming isn’t unique to humans. There are a ton of dog breeds that also really enjoy swimming, but they have a harder time than humans getting in and out of the water.

Which is why learning how to build a dog water ramp can be helpful. If a dog is trying to get in and out of a pool or in and out of a boat, a floating ramp is a great way to help them along.

Here are three variations of DIY dog water ramps that are easy and relatively inexpensive to build.

DIY Pool Ramp for Dogs

The Doggy Dock will provide your pooch with a floating platform which is easy to make and sturdy enough for it to enjoy for a long time. Best of all, it takes less than thirty minutes to put together .

Video Instructions: DIY Swimming Pool Ramp for Dogs

Materials Needed

  1. Black industrial mat 3 x 3 feet. Should be sectioned into nine parts. (Pick up at Lowe’s or any other home improvement store)
  2. Zip ties
  3. Nylon rope to tie to the deck
  4. Four pool noodles
  5. Utility knife

Instructions

  1. Take a utility knife and cut 1/3 off the industrial mat. So, if your mat is in nine parts, cut squares 3, 6, and 9 off.
  2. We want to make the doggy dock long, so once again cut 1/3 off of the smaller section you just cut and discard the smallest piece. Or in other words, cut square nine off and discard it.
  3. Take four zip ties and connect the smaller section (sections 3 and 6, sideways to the bottom 7 and 8) to the largest part to make it longer so that your pooch can easily get out of the water without much stress. You should have a four by two-foot pad.
  4. Take four good sized water noodles and attach them with zip ties longways under squares 4, 5, 7, 8, 3 and 6.
    • Be sure to place the water noodles on the smoother side of the mat so that your dog can climb up the more textured side, which should provide a better grip for traction when coming up.
    • Be careful not to put water noodles under squares 1 and 2. These will be placed on the side of the pool.
    • Be careful to make sure that all zip ties are pointing down in the water so that your pooch will not get hurt coming out.
  5. Take some nylon rope and weave it through the top sections of 1 and 2 and then run the string around something to secure it from floating away.
  6. Place sections 1 and 2 on the ground just outside the pool and the rest in the water. The water noodles should keep the other sections floating in the pool.
    • Once again, make sure the zip ties are placed in the water pointing down and not up. We would not want the ties to harm your dog.

This simple DIY Doggy Dock is a piece of cake to put together and is sturdy enough for even a mid-size dog to sit on before jumping out of the pool. I promise that your dog will love this new edition to your pool and may be swimming more laps than you.

DIY Dock Ramp for Dogs

DIY Dock Ramp for Dogs

Here is another doggy ramp that is geared towards boating. It follows the same idea as the previous one, but bigger.

Frankly, if I had a boat, this is the one I would be building. It has a larger surface for your poach to be able to climb up. It is not really for the small pooch; this is for the BIG DOGS.

Check it out at Halifax Dogventures. With a name like that, you just know these are dog and boat people up north. The instructions are quite simple. Let’s starts with the materials needed.

Materials

  1. 5 pool noodles – 2 thick ones and 3 skinny ones. Cut 3 of them (the 2 thick ones and 1 skinny one)– in half. You can also do this, using a hand saw or even a bread knife.
  2. 2 rubber anti-fatigue floor mats (We used one 3 ft x 3 ft mat and one 3 ft x 2 ft mat, for a total ramp size of 3 ft x 5 ft)
  3. 43 plastic zip ties
  4. 2 large carabiners
  5. About 6 feet of rope

Now that we have that already to go, let’s learn how to build it.

Instructions

  1. Place the mats face-up. Note: When you’re done attaching the pool noodles to the top side of the mats, you’ll flip the whole thing over so that the bottom of the mats become the top surface of the ramp. This is intentional because it means that the “grippiest” side, i.e. the bottom of the mats, is on top.
  2. Using 7 zip ties, attach the mats together along the long edges. You can attach the zip ties however you like, but we recommend putting 2 on each side, 2 in the middle, and 1 in between each of those Check out our image below). You will end up with a large surface that is 3′ x 5′. Note: Always trim the ends of the zip ties with scissors.
  3. Using more zip ties, attach the 2 uncut skinny pool noodles to the long edges of the ramp. We used 6 zip ties for each pool noodle. Leave a space of about 6 inches from the bottom end (the water end) of the ramp. This allows the end of the ramp to sink down into the water a bit, making it easier for your dog to climb up. Make sure to also leave a space of about 1 foot from the top end of the ramp (you’ll understand why later on). If necessary, trim the pool noodles to fit.
    • Note: These 2 side noodles are a modification from our first failed attempt at making the ramp. Without these reinforcements on each side, the bottom half of the ramp will flip under the top half.
  4. Attach the 4 thick pool noodle pieces to the inside of the ramp, in between and perpendicular to the side noodles. Keep them evenly spaced and towards the top end of the ramp.
  5. Attach the two skinny pool noodle pieces towards the bottom end of the ramp.
  6. Measure the width of your dock or boat ladder, and using a box cutter, trim the top end of the ramp so that it will fit in between the rails of the ladder.
DIY Dock Ramp for Dogs

How to Build Dog Ramp for a Dock – Portable Version

Docks vary in height off the water surface and can be deadly for man’s best friend. Ever try to pull up a 70 lbs dog out of the water that is panicked? Not an easy task is it?

Well, here is a great doggy ramp that is portable, can fit on the top of a small car and best of all can be used in tidal areas due to its buoyancy which we will get into later.

This ramp attaches to the standard cleat on a dock and is long enough for the dog to actually start walking on it, under the water. Sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it?

Video Demonstration: How to Build a Folding Ramp for Your Dog

The 6 foot by 18 inch frame is built out of 2 by 4s.  One side is covered with plywood and the other three sides are covered with exterior carpeting. The floatation devices which are used are two empty gas cans that you can  adjust the buoyancy of simple by adding water.

Of course, dogs need some traction to get up, so add one by two treads of the same carpeting to the walking surface. At the attachment point to the dock add a 4 foot, 2 by 4 to help stabilize the structure when the dog is getting out of the water and be sure to cover the attachment with a pool noodle so as not to  scratch or damage the dock.

Screw two metal rings into the end for a place to connect the nylon strap to affix the ramp to the cleat. It’s a very simple frame with 90degrees brackets to add strength to it. To secure the gas cans to the bottom part of the frame, measure the width so that they will fit snugly between the 2 by 4s. After that use zip ties to secure the cans into place using iRings placed in the 2 by 4s.

When filling the cans with water, it is simple process but may take a couple of tries at first. You should be able to put the ramp into the water and have the end of it totally submerged so that your dog can just walk up it. Be sure to consider three important things when building yours;

  1. The size of your dog
  2. Height of the dock
  3. Length of the ramp

Summary: How to Build a Dog Water Ramp

The type of ramp you build for your dog to get in and out of the water with depends on the size of the dog and where you want to use the ramp.

All three of these ramps are fairly easy to build and work well for most dogs. The big key is to give them an easy way to climb in and out of the water.

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Hi! My name is Heather Hallman. I’m the mother of two beautiful girls and a MAJOR passionate pet parent. I can hardly wait to bring you the BEST resources and information that I've found for our fur-babies.