Build a Dog Car Ramp

Is your dog struggling to get into your car or boat? You can build a dog car ramp to save your back and to continue to give your dog freedom and enjoyment. There are two types you can build out of wood or other materials: one that is a fixed length, and one that folds and is portable.

The dog car ramp instructions below are for a fixed ramp and meant for side entry onto the floor of a minivan or the super cab of a pickup with a height of up to 24 inches (610 mm). )See the links at bottom for directions on how to build the portable kind for cars and boats.)

Before you start, check to see if the place where you will store your homemade dog ramp in your vehicle can accommodate the 5-foot (1525 mm) length. The longer the ramp, the gentler the slope.

Note that for getting into the taller rear of an SUV or pickup truck bed, you will most likely need a folding dog ramp for your dog. A length of at least 70 inches (1780 mm) is necessary to create a reasonable slope.


English (Imperial) Units:

  • 3/8 inch plywood, 12-18 inches wide and 4-5 feet long
  • Two pieces 2×2 inch (50×50 mm) lumber the same length as the plywood for rails
  • Two pieces 1×2 inch (25×50 mm) lumber the same width as the plywood for end supports
  • 30 Drywall screws, 1 ¼ to 1 ½ inches (32-38 mm) long
  • 10 Drywall screws, 1 inch (25 mm) long
  • Sandpaper: 1 sheet coarse, 1 sheet medium, 1 sheet fine grade
  • Rubber matting, carpet or good quality Astroturf to 3 inches less wide than the plywood

Metric Units:

  • 10 mm plywood, 305-460 mm wide and 1220-1525 mm long
  • 2 pieces 50×50 mm lumber the same length as the plywood for rails
  • 2 pieces 25×50 mm lumber the same width as the plywood for end supports
  • 30 Drywall screws, 32-38 mm long
  • 10 Drywall screws, 25 mm long
  • Various grits sandpaper per above
  • Rubber matting, carpet or Astroturf 75 mm less wide than the plywood
  • 5 mm less wide than the plywood


  • Power drill with bit diameter slightly narrower than screws
  • A saw to cut the pieces of wood (unless you can get the store guys to do it)
  • A power and/or hand screwdriver
  • Glue for wood and carpet


  1. For each rail, screw and glue at 4-inch (100 mm) intervals as follows:
  2. Drill a hole through the plywood into the rail 4 inches from one end
  3. Put in a 1 ½ inch (38 mm) screw to hold the wood there
  4. Do the same from the other end and secure with a screw
  5. Drill holes in between the two ends at the specified intervals
  6. Put a dab of glue on each screw before driving it in


  1. Turn the ramp over
  2. Put an end support underneath the plywood along one end
  3. Drill holes and secure with 1-inch (25 mm) screws
  4. Use at least one screw every 4 inches (100 mm)
  5. Do the same with the other end


  1. Use coarse sandpaper to round any sharp edges
  2. Follow up with medium then fine sandpaper
  3. If using carpet or Astroturf, sear the edges with a flame and pinch with a damp sponge to prevent unraveling
  4. Glue or staple carpet to the plywood
  5. Make sure there are no protruding sharp edges

Have your dog try the dog car ramp out, using treats for encouragement as needed. For some dogs it may work better to put the ramp at a low angle, like up on a curb, for an easier introduction.