RVing with adult dogs can present unique challenges. If your dog has mobility problems, the ramp for RV dogs can be a great solution!
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When our dog, Buster, began to feel weak in his hind legs, we knew it was time to invest in a dog ramp. At £ 80, carrying it in and out of the car dealership was not an option. And watching him climb the steep steps was difficult for all of us. What if he falls and injures himself, or develops a fear of footsteps?
We also knew it would take us a while to train him to use the ramp. And it was best to start with that while he still had enough strength.
When Buster passed, we gave his ramp to Kai, a 10-year-old golden retriever who has some hip problems. She immediately got on the ramp and got in and out of her truck again!
Travel with adult dogs
It is not uncommon for large dogs to develop weakness, soreness, or even neurological problems in their hind legs as they age. Our first hint that Buster was in trouble came when he was about eleven.
For Kai, the challenges with her thighs began around her 10th birthday. But she is a proud dog and did not want help from her people! We knew Kai would really appreciate Buster’s ramp. And it was the perfect time to teach her to use it – before her symptoms got worse.
READ MORE ⇒ Tips for RVing with Pets
The time to get a portable dog ramp is when your dog starts having trouble on the stairs, but before he really needs it.
Dogs are great at ignoring pain and can easily tense a muscle or tear a ligament, trying to do more than their bodies can. If your dog is hesitant or loses balance on the steps, this can easily end in a fall.
You may also need some time to train your dog to use the ramp!
Choosing the right ramp for dogs
When you know what you want, choosing a ramp for dogs is easy. The RV’s footsteps are quite steep, so we looked for a long ramp to make Buster’s climb more gradual. The longest ramp we found, which could be easily packed and stowed for travel, was 8 feet.
At this length, the ramp covered three steps, but Buster still had to handle the last two on his own. Positioning the ramp higher made the Buster uncomfortable with the slope. But getting a longer ramp would be unmanageable in Vinebago. This ramp provided the best compromise.
Our second requirement was a non-slip surface. The Range Powersport ramp is covered with sandpaper, which feels like sandpaper, which provides an excellent base for dogs – even when wet.
Finally, I needed a dog ramp that was light and easy to use. This ramp is made of aluminum and weighs only 21 kilograms, so it is easy to adjust and remove.
It folds in half, fastens and has a carrying handle, so storing it when we are ready to go on the road is not a problem.
Range Powersport 8-foot pet ramp
An added benefit is that this ramp is only 15 inches wide. This gave us enough space to go down the stairs along the ramp when it was installed. But with a capacity of 250 pounds, the ramp could also hold Buster and me at the same time.
Tips for using a dog ramp in your RV or camper
Every dog is different and we had no idea what Buster would think of his new ramp. When he arrived, we set him up, grabbed the treats, and encouraged him to try.
He had none of that! He put his front paws on the ramp, but did not continue. It quickly became clear that getting used to the ramp would take some work.
On the other hand, Kai and her sister Nala raced up and down the ramp on the right path!
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Train your dog to use a ramp
If your dog is more like a Buster, keep in mind that baby steps work best when you practice new behaviors. We started teaching Buster to use his ramp lying on the ground. At first he was cunning, but with some awards and a lot of praise, his confidence grew.
We left the ramp where we could walk Buster through it several times a day. Within days, this became part of his usual routine.
The next step was to add a little slope and drop. A wooden step provided a solid foundation, and Buster began nervously again. But after a few days of practice, he got things under control.
Placing a neck pad at the end of the ramp helped Buster learn not to jump before he reached the end. If his paws didn’t hit the mat, he didn’t get a treat!
Buster took things pretty quickly, and after about a week we were able to move the ramp to the steps of the RV. He made one journey on the lowest step, one on the second step, and then he was ready to climb the ramp to his highest position. He then used the ramp several times a day for years.
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Watching the age of our pets is never easy. But we’re glad we could help make Buster’s senior years a little more comfortable. And now we are happy that his ramp helps Kai to continue living an active and happy life with her family.
More ramp options for dogs: (Partnerships)
Rage Powersports Ramp Ramp-8 feet, easy folding, aluminum, capacity 250 lbs, 15 ″ wide, weight 21 lbs
Range Motorsports Extra-Wide Ramp Ramp-8 feet, easy folding, aluminum, capacity 250 lbs, 18.5 ″ wide, weighs 32 lbs
PVI access ramp for pets – 8 feet, easy folding, aluminum, capacity 250 lbs, 14.25 ″ wide, weighs 16 lbs
Portable folding pet ramp PawHut-8 feet, double, aluminum, capacity 100 lbs, 15 ″ wide, weighs 19.8 lbs
EZ-Access suitcase triple portable ramp-8 feet, folded suitcase, aluminum, capacity 800 lbs, 29.5 ″ wide, weighs 50 lbs
EZ-Access suitcase triple portable ramp-10 feet, folded suitcase, aluminum, capacity 800 lbs, 29.5 ″ wide, weighs 60 lbs
The publication was originally published in January 2018.
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