by Ken Alden
Mastiffs are big, muscular, and weigh quite a lot. As such, getting them in and out of your car can take a lot of effort, and investing in one of the best dog ramps for Mastiffs can make your life much easier. However, given the breed's physical size and requirements, a random off-the-shelf ramp won't do. Choosing one that fits the requirements of the breed in the long term is of paramount importance.
What are the best dog ramps for Mastiffs? The ones that take a variety of factors into consideration:
This guide to choosing the best dog ramp for
your Mastiff will include some product recommendations, don't worry. But before
we jump into those, we need to discuss how the factors mentioned above translate
into choosing the right ramp for your particular dog and situation.
Dog ramps have a variety of uses and address many frequent problems that Mastiff owners face. Many modern dog breeds, especially big ones such as the Mastiff, face orthopedic issues after a certain point in their lives.
Hip and elbow dysplasia are common issues among many popular dog breeds, with Mastiffs being one of them. No loving dog owner would want to see their precious dog struggling to jump up onto the bed or into the back of their truck.
Dog ramps come in handy at times like this, making the affair easier for your dogs by letting them walk up a few shallow steps or an inclined ramp instead of trying (and failing) to jump up a significant height.
With this large breed, the need for a good dog
ramp is even more pronounced than other dog breeds because they require
exercise no matter which stage of their life they're in. Mastiff puppies grow
pretty fast as well, especially in the first 6 months. They reach full growth
at around 18 months, and as such, buying a ramp for your Mastiff is a long term
decision, keeping in mind the dog's size and weight as it grows.
Fortunately for your dog and yourself, you'll be spoilt for choice should you be in the market for a dog ramp or stair. There are tons of choices, ranging from luxurious velvet-lined bedside stairs to electronically controlled metallic ramps that you can permanently attach to your car.
Dog ramps are primarily
divided into three types depending on how they work. There are steps, ramps,
and stair style products to help your dog get up the height, but they're all
loosely called ramps. They each come with their own pros and cons, which we'll
evaluate here so that you can choose the one that makes the most sense for you.
Also called a hitch step, the step form of dog ramp can be used for helping humans get aboard cars and buses as well. The design usually consists of an adequately sized platform held up by a hinge. These are usually attached to the rear bumper of the car (or truck) so that your dog can use it to take two smaller jumps or simply step up the platform rather than jump directly up from the ground.
You can get a branded durable hitch step for
around $200. Customer reviews and experience hint at these lasting for a long
time and serving them well. However, these might not be or everybody as they're
still at the end of the day steps, and if your dog has a problem with climbing
steps, it's generally a good idea to avoid these as we explain in the next
These are arguably the most common dog loading mechanism out there. They're usually meant for outdoor use, for getting your dog in and out of your car or front porch. People also use these indoors (by their bedsides, for instance), when they don't mind having their dogs sleep on the same bed as theirs.
Ramps are simple structures; when set up they provide a gradual incline for your dog to walk up to get into the bed of your truck or your trunk. To achieve this they extend a little bit behind the car and this makes them quite space consuming. They're also usually not attached or fixed permanently in case of cars so you'll have to take care of it manually.
Ramps come in different physical dimensions and you might need to check with your use cases before buying on. If used for loading dogs into cars, they need to be kept in the car as well, which takes up space. It is also important to buy one that has an anti-skid coating on the incline so that your dog can walk up and down on it without much effort.
Dog stairs are a fairly common option for smaller breeds than big heavy breeds such as mastiffs. They can be used indoors and outdoors as well and can go up higher heights than hitch steps or ramps.
They're also stronger and can take more wear compared to the other options. However, this also makes them quite bulky and difficult to handle. Owners typically don't move them around much if they buy one.
If you're looking for a stair type dog loader, though, you'll find options that fit onto a car similar to a hitch step and unfold to present multiple steps.
These are shallower, and dogs might find them easier to walk upon compared to single-step dog loaders, however, most of these options are not really meant to support a lot of weight and might not take a lot of punishment if you have a Mastiff.
Things To Consider Before Buying...
Your dog's weight
Depending on how heavy your dog is or how heavy it might grow up to be, it's usually a good idea to invest in a dog loader that is rated to take your breed's maximum possible body weight. You might want to also check with the manufacturer on their durability standards as well.
Mastiffs are heavy dogs and can get pretty rough with all the excitement that comes naturally to them. Fully grown male Mastiffs often grow up to weigh over 200 pounds (90kg) at times, meaning you'll need a ramp or step that's rated for at least that much. As such, you should always check with the manufacturer or the retailer regarding the specifications of your chosen dog ramp or step before making the purchase.
Your dog's health
Your dog's health might be one reason you might suddenly want to buy a new dog loader. Many users who depended on dog stairs or steps switch to ramps once they realize their dog has difficulty jumping up and down.
Mastiffs as a breed are prone to cases of dysplasia of the elbow and hip. Even if none us want our dogs to ail from these conditions, it might be something worthy of worrying about. You'll likely save your dog and your wallet some pain if you consider this into your buying decision as well.
Similar to dogs with orthopedic conditions, young puppies and growing dogs (the bone structure of a Mastiff reaches maturity at three years of age) are also suggested to be paired with ramps or shallow steps, as jumping on hard surfaces can be detrimental to their health.
Stairs or Ramps?
One of the most important decisions you'll make is whether to buy a ramp or stair.
As a general rule of thumb, if your dog suffers from hip or elbow issues, it's always a good idea to go with a ramp to save your dog the pain of jumping up the steps. Puppies also need to be treated similarly, since their skeletal structure isn't mature yet. Falls from even small heights at this age can seriously injure your mastiff puppy.
If you're not going to attach a hitch step to your car, it's also worth noting how much space you can reserve for the ramp or the folding dog stairs in the boot of your car or truck. You can choose models that contract or fold in on itself if you don't want to use much space. In case you plan to use the same indoors, space isn't a constraint, which will allow you to go for a sturdier, more affordable model that doesn't fold.
Your lifestyle, preferences, and budget
You should factor in the amount of effort you're willing to put into storing, setting up, and helping your dog use the dog loader.
Regarding the budget, hitch steps are usually more expensive than ramps and work with most medium to large breeds. Single piece dog steps that can support a mastiff can come for as little as $60.
Ramps need to be selected, keeping in mind that you're buying it for a mastiff. Dog ramps that can support the weight of a fully grown mastiff can run you anywhere between $80 to over $200 depending on the manufacturer.
You might also want to check in with the
manufacturer's description as to how the dog loader is set up. Most folding dog
stairs and ramps can't be used with the side doors of a car due to their
physical dimensions. Some also have a limited height that they go up to and
hence might not be useful in getting dogs up to truck beds either.
Since there are many options
available online, and the factors you need to keep in mind are numerous, we
went through the pain of finding the best options for each possible use case.
We'll summarize our findings with a short description of each of the products
This extendable ramp from Solvit extends a full 70 inches, features an anti-slip coating on the incline, and is rated to carry up to 300 pounds of weight.
At 14 pounds, this ramp kit is significantly lighter than most others offering similar specs. This is made possible by using a lightweight, strong aluminum frame.
Best Hitch Step...
The Heininger hitch step is a great addition to any SUV. The model in question has been around for a while now and is trusted by thousands of customers around the country. Useful for both people and dogs to get in and out of your SUV, this is a versatile, highly durable hitch step option.
On the flip side, however, it might be an expensive addition to your kit, as it usually retails for around $250. It is also quite hefty, weighing in at 20 pounds.
This dog hitch step comes pre-assembled and is pretty easy to attach and detach from your vehicle. It's sturdy in day to day operation and features an anti-skid surface on the step to ensure optimal grip for your dog's paws. The manufacturer also sells other similarly designed models that differ from each other based on the shape of the step.
The Heininger is also rated to be able to carry close to 400 pounds on its step, meaning it can take the punishment that comes with a outdoorsy lifestyle well.
Best Dog Stairs...
Although dog stairs are usually designed to serve smaller breeds, options exist for enthusiastic customers who want one in their homes or for teaching dogs tricks.
This one again by PetSafe is rated for up to 200 pounds of weight and should be adequate for handling your young Mastiff's energy. This pet stair folds down for easy storage under the bed or behind the shelf and can easily be set up easily by just unfolding it a bit. It's durable and features an anti-skid coating on the stairs and also has guard rails to prevent smaller breeds and puppies from falling down the sides when going up.
Retailing for under $50 most of the time, it's a great choice for a simple dog stair if you want your canine friend to have access to furniture and your bed.
Another great option from PetSafe is a lightweight, portable pet ramp meant for medium-sized dogs. The rated maximum that the Happy Ride ramp can safely take on is 150 lbs.
This should be enough for a growing Mastiff. You might want to upgrade it sometime in the future once your dog is fully matured because of this, though. However, if you're open to a friendly option that ticks all the right boxes, this is a great choice.
This is a dog stair that you can carry around if need be. It's foldable and lightweight. Weighing around 5 pounds because of its plastic build, it's rated to carry up to 300 pounds of weight. The best feature, though, has to be the fact that it folds down to under 3 inches flat, letting you keep it in your trunk easily.
This dog step would be versatile and would come in useful if you have elderly in need as well since the anti-skid surfaces are wide enough for human feet as well.
This one from Pet Loader is a pet stair that can be folded. Its primarily made of plastic and weighs around 20 pounds. It can reach a height of up to 20 inches above the ground. We're recommending the XL variant here because its the only one that is rated to support the heavyweight of a mastiff. The smaller versions will satisfy the height requirements though it might not stand up to the weight of a mature full grown mastiff.
We've linked multiple products that have been trusted by customers for years so that you can choose the best one from them as per your needs. What you need to look for and check while buying a dog ramp or stair for your Mastiff have also been mentioned and explained to avoid confusion.
Some of the key points to keep in mind are:
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About the Author...
Ken Alden, a dedicated Mastiff owner for over eight
years, is acclaimed for his expertise in care, grooming, and training. Read more About Me and my dog Shadow.