Most dogs love water and will enjoy a day at the lake or on a boat just as much as you do. They may find it challenging to clamber onto the dock that they jump off, though, and if you want to avoid them getting covered in mud as they scramble up a dirt bank, a ramp is essential.
Fortunately, there are many dog water ramp ideas floating around that you can try. You can add these to your at-home dock or keep them with your boat for a portable option that you can use anywhere.
The 10 DIY Dog Water Ramps
1. DIY Dock and Boat Ramp by Halifax Dogventures
|Materials:||2 thick pool noodles, 3 skinny pool noodles, Rubber anti-fatigue floor mats, Zip ties, 2 large carabiners, 6 feet of rope|
|Tools:||Scissors, Box cutter|
Halifax Dogventures has a great idea for an affordable dog ramp that you can use on your boat and to help your dog clamber up onto the dock. It’s easy to put together, so it won’t be long until you can take it out on the water with you.
Secure the Mats
This ramp plan is actually upside down so your dog benefits from the non-slip surface on the bottom of the mats. Once you’ve tied the mats together with zip ties to the size that you want, secure the pool noodles to the top side of the mat, and flip the whole thing over. Remember to trim the ends of the zip ties before you use the ramp.
Measure the Dock or Boat Ladder
This ramp design fastens to most boat or dock ladders, but you might need to adjust it for extra security. Measure the width of the ladder on your dock or boat so you can cut the top of the ramp to fit. You’ll need a sharp knife or box cutter and something hard to press down on. You might need a longer mat for some boats.
Use Rope and Carabiners
While you can connect the carabiners directly to the mat, the rubber alone isn’t sturdy enough to stay secure without tearing. Weave rope through the holes in the rubber mat, tie it off, and secure the carabiners to the loops of rope instead of the mat. This will provide extra stability and still enable you to move the ramp wherever you need it.
2. DIY Pool or Dock Ramp from Eric Hurst
|Materials:||2x4s, Plywood, Exterior carpeting, 2 empty plastic gas cans, Zip ties, Metal ring attachments and brackets, Pool noodle|
|Tools:||Polyurethane adhesive, screwdriver or drill, stainless sell screws, miter saw or table saw, sanding tool|
Designed to attach to the side of a dock or a pool, this wooden ramp is reliable and designed for sturdiness, which makes it great for big dogs. It takes a bit more work to put together than the previous idea, but it’s a good way to use up scrap materials. This one’s also easier to adjust to suit the weight of your dog.
Although this design uses exterior carpet, your dog will find it easier to climb up if they have something to dig their claws into. Make small rolls with the leftover carpet, and attach them at intervals along the ramp as treads.
While the previous design relied on pool noodles to float, this plan uses large, empty gas cans. If you don’t have any clean ones, you can buy them from most hardware stores or supermarkets.
Make sure both gas cans are empty and have lids. When you make the ramp, you want to make sure it’s wide enough to accommodate both gas cans on the underside — you can secure them in place with zip ties. Take the time to field test this design to ensure that it floats enough for your dog. Adjusting the buoyancy is a simple matter of adding water to the gas cans.
You can use this design for pools, but it works best fixed to the tie-off points on boat docks. Use metal rings and rope to secure the ramp to a strip of 2×4. You can also protect the dock — or poolside — by using a pool noodle for padding.
While it’s not the lightest ramp to move around, the design does provide you the freedom to move it between docks if you frequently boat in different places.
3. DIY Cottage Dog Dock by Cottage Life
|Materials:||1 x 6 deck boards, 1 x 2 wooden cleats, 2 x 4 wooden frame, strap hinges, PVC pipes, galvanized hanger strapping|
|Tools:||Polyurethane adhesive, screwdriver, stainless sell screws, miter saw or table saw, sanding tool|
This first DIY plan will be a challenge for those unfamiliar with woodworking. It requires various sizes of wooden boards, cleats, and frames, and the measurements may differ depending on your specific needs. If you’re confident in your ability to use a miter or table saw, this cottage dog dock may be an exciting new project for you.
You will start by cutting the ramp frame and the deck boards. Once you have those measurements, you can cut the wooden cleats to the necessary proportions. This dock will be held together with screws and polyurethane adhesive.
When creating this dock, you must consider your dog’s weight, size, and agility. For example, older dogs will need a more gradual decline on their dock than younger, more nimble dogs.
4. DIY Swimming Pool Doggie Dock by Lee Rickard
|Materials:||Rubber mat, rope, zip ties, pool noodles|
|Tools:||Scissors or razor knife|
If woodworking isn’t really your thing, this project may be more your speed. Taking a rubber mat and pool noodles, you can attach them with zip ties and create a floating mat that sits in your pool. With a rope, you can secure the mat to something on solid land, keeping it in place. To adjust the size of the mat or the pool noodles, you need sharp scissors or a utility knife to cut through the material.
5. DIY Pool Standing Shelf by Tonka the Malamute AKA Water Wolf
|Materials:||Large plastic bin, weights, zip ties|
Do you have a large, empty tote that sits around and collects dust? If you want to put it back to good use, this pool standing shelf is a great opportunity to repurpose it. The only materials you will need to complete this project are a large plastic bin, weights, and zip ties.
Fill the bin with the weights, and then drill holes into the edges of the lid and box. Loop the zip ties through the holes and secure the lid tightly to the box. Once that’s done, you can place the bin inside your pool and against the wall. This creates a stepping stool for your dog to get in and out of the pool or access the shallow area to enjoy the cool and refreshing water.
6. Above Ground DIY Pool Ramp by Jenily111
|Materials:||Yoga mat, metal plate, scrap wood, shelving brackets, hinges, paint|
|Tools:||Screws, drill, saw, staple gun, sandpaper, paintbrushes|
This above-ground pool ramp is a bit more complicated than some other DIY projects on this list. It requires power tools and a decent amount of woodworking experience, so if those sound overwhelming, consider reviewing this plan carefully before committing to it. You won’t just be creating a ramp-like structure but also the entire base that allows your dog to climb up and above the pool’s edge from the outside.
7. DIY Floating Boat Ramp by Jennifer Turner
|Materials:||2 anti-fatigue mats, jumbo noodles, nylon rope, zip ties|
If you plan to spend the warmer months cruising on the lake, this floating boat ramp will be the perfect way to include your dog in the summer fun. By attaching two anti-fatigue mats and jumbo pool noodles with zip ties, you can create a floating ramp for your dog. Using strong nylon rope, you can secure the ramp to the boat. This DIY project is relatively easy and may be the perfect plan for a beginner.
8. DIY Boatside Doggie Ladder by Oodmag
|Materials:||1.5” ABS pipe, pine board|
|Tools:||Saw, drill, stainless bolts, stainless lock nuts|
If you are comfortable making a more permanent modification to your boat, consider this doggie ladder. In this DIY plan, you will take ABS pipe and pine boards to craft your own doggie stairs that will aid your pup in climbing in and out of the water. You must be comfortable using power tools such as a saw and drill, which makes this project more suited for an intermediate-level DIYer.
Something else to remember is that some materials can be swapped out for larger or smaller ones depending on your dog’s weight and size.
9. DIY Double-Layered Doggie Ramp by Rockin Robin Sails
|Materials:||Rubber mat, PVC pipe, life jacket, zip ties|
No tools are involved in this double-layered doggie ramp, so you won’t need special skills to construct this project. You can make this easy DIY dog water ramp with a rubber mat, PVC pipes, zip ties, and a life jacket.
Not only is this plan easy for you to make, but it is also convenient for your dog to use. It has two layers, one that remains beneath the surface, making it easier for your dog to climb. This ramp is made specifically for a Hobie Tandem Island but can be modified to suit any boat.
10. Interlocking DIY Sport Court Ramp by Duck Hunting Chat
|Materials:||1” x 6’ aluminum tubing, 12” sport court joints, 2” x 12” interlocking sport court, zip ties|
This is another simple DIY doggie ramp that requires no tools. You can easily construct this ramp with aluminum tubing, sport court joints, and interlocking sport court material. To attach all these pieces, you will need to use zip ties.
How you will mount the ramp depends on where you are using it. Some may be able to use zip ties or rope, while others may need it to be more secure and attach it with screws.
How Steep Is Too Steep for a Dog Ramp?
The size of your dog ramp depends on several things, including your dog’s breed, weight, age, and where you intend to use the ramp. You should make the ramp long enough that there is plenty of space beneath the surface of the water for your dog to climb on it.
Getting the buoyancy right is important too. Large dogs weigh more than their smaller counterparts and will push the end of the ramp down as they climb up, which will make the ramp steeper for them to climb. On the other hand, small dogs might struggle to climb up if they’re too light to push the end of the ramp down.
You need to make the ramp light enough to float but heavy enough that your dog can climb it easily without sinking.
If your dog spends a great deal of time jumping off docks into lakes and rivers, a good ramp will help them climb back onto dry land — and avoid all the mud on the river banks. These plans are simple to make and use supplies that you have on hand already or that are easy to find at your local hardware store.