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Usually, you would design your inground swimming pool with yourself and your human loved ones in mind. But it’s 2021, and things have changed. More than ever before, our furry friends are part of the family. This means keeping them in mind constantly, even during our home and outdoor renovations. If you’ve got a water loving pooch and a pool without built-in stairs, set them up for success with pool ramps for dogs.

It’s probably easy enough for your dog to throw themselves into your pool. Getting out is a different story. Logistically, hoisting yourself over a ledge using only your own four paws can get tricky. This is why having a designated pool exit for your pup matters. From pool ramps to pool stairs, pet exits are an investment in your pet’s safety and wellbeing. Here are some of our favorites.

Lightweight and Portable Pool Ramps for Dogs

The type of pool ramp you invest in will have a lot to do with how much your dog is going to use it. If Spot is more of an occasional swimmer, or only makes it in the pool with you a few times a year, you probably don’t need a pool ramp to become a permanent fixture. In this case, you can take some liberties with the aesthetic of your buy. That means you can focus on function. 

If you’re looking for a functional piece that can come with you anywhere, the PetSTEP Original Folding Pet Ramp fits the bill. Foldable, durable, and straightforward, the design allows this ramp to be packed into the back of your car, boat, or folded and stored in your shed. Bells and whistles are great, but something you need to trade the extras for the basics. 

The PetSTEP’s simplicity allows it to fit any pool, car, or moderately sized staircase. Anti-slip treading and composite plastic make it great for dogs big and small. PetSTEP claims that this ramp can hold as much as 500 pounds, making it pretty certain that your dog will feel stable. 

Admittedly, the  PetSTEP isn’t the prettiest of pool ramps for dogs, but it is one of the most functional, and portable. For more permanent installations, we recommend our next solution. 

Easy On The Eyes

If your dog is a frequent swimmer, then you may be looking for a more permanent solution. In that case, the design and appearance of your pool ramp becomes a lot more important. Nobody wants to stare at a behemoth of plastic day in and day out. 

In this situation, you should look for a pet ramp or staircase that draws minimal attention. Something sleek, like this Paws Aboard PoolPup Steps is a great solution for families looking to make an exit a permanent installation without drawing the eye. This model is better for small to medium sized dogs. Some customers have expressed frustration with durability when serving larger pets, so keep that in mind before you buy.

Still, other customers note this weight-bearing issue can be resolved by swapping the plastic pool screws with traditional steel. These stairs attach to your pool deck and give your dog the option to come and go as they please. At the same time, the minimal design allows your eye to skip over them when relaxing in your outdoor space.  

For Smaller Dogs

Not every dog needs a huge ramp that can hold up to 500 pounds like the PetSTEP. If your dog is a lightweight, find a pool ramp that matches. The Skamper Ramp Super is aimed towards smaller dogs. To use, hook the pint-sized ledge to the edge of your pool, pointing the end of the ramp into the water.

Smaller dogs will be able to use this descent as both a way to enter and to exit your pool. The Skamper Ramp is made from UV resistant plastic, meaning the summer sun shouldn’t phase it. And at just under 4 pounds, this option is lightweight, easy to move and remove, and can come with you anywhere you and your furry friend decide to go.

Stairs

Not all dogs prefer ramps. That’s understandable! After all, stairs are familiar and present in most homes. Your dog is likely already comfortable using them, and may even barrel up and down a set of stairs on a daily basis. So let your pup use what they’re used to! A great set of pet stairs will allow dogs both big and small to feel comfortable and confident getting in and out of the pool. 

After doing some digging, it’s apparent that a good set of dog-friendly stairs can be hard to come by. Many insertable pool steps are not designed with dogs in mind. WaterDog Adventure Gear is focused on making stair solutions aimed specifically at your four legged friend. 

WaterDog makes two models of stairs. The model you choose will depend on your pool deck, and whether it sits adjacent or flush to the water. The WAG Boarding Steps are slip-resistant, easy to set up, and bolt to the deck for security.

Still, this model does have a few main drawbacks. First of all, it’s no secret that bright yellow plastic doesn’t exactly scream beauty. Another concern? Price. Whether you were aware of it or not, most pool ramps and steps for dogs don’t exactly come cheap. These WAG models will have puppy parents shelling out over $200 dollars. 

With that said, if you’re looking for a simple, straightforward approach to pool stairs that is sure to serve its purpose, this model is a great choice for dogs big and small. 

Other Solutions 

We didn’t want to round out this list without talking about other pet-friendly options for current or prospective pool owners. First, we’d like to mention that these solutions are meant for families whose pools were without built-in exits such as stairs or sun shelves. If you do have these features in your pool, the most affordable option is to simply train your pet how to use them. If you are wary about your dog getting into the water at all, a pool fence can solve this problem quickly. 

That being said, if you haven’t yet built your pool, exits should be top of mind during the design process. Not only do features like stairs and sun shelves allow you and your pup to get in and out of the pool with ease, but they are far easier on the eyes as well. 

Today, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a pool contractor that is willing to construct an inground model without some sort of fully integrated exit. The old-school, standard pool ladder is scarcely seen in residential builds.

You Know Your Dog Best

All this said, you know your dog best. So pick the exit strategy that works best for their size, weight, energy level, and physical abilities. Some dogs may prefer stairs, while aging dogs may find stairs to be difficult on their joints.

Overall, there isn’t a one-size fits all solution. But knowing your dog and what your priorities are will help you purchase a pool ramp for dogs that your own pup is sure to be comfortable with. 


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