Many pet owners have heard of dog ramps and ladders designed to assist getting their canine companion into a vehicle or onto an elevated surface such as a bed or couch. If you adore going out on boats while spending quality time with your pet, there may have been times when you were unsure about whether or not you should let your pup go into the water as you may have to lift him out of the water frequently. A dog ladder for boat trips can come in handy and will give you peace of mind in a plethora of situations. This includes using it on a boat, a dock, or simply an in-ground pool.
Why Do Dogs Need A Dog Ladder?
A dog’s anatomy is different to ours. Because of this, they find it harder to get out of water. Their four legs makes it difficult for them to use human ladders and their lack of hands means they cannot grip.
Since dogs are unable to pull themselves out from bodies of water on their own, pet owners would need to overextend their body in order to assist their canine. This could easily result in injury to the pet owner. A dog can get greatly injured if lifted out of the water by their legs or neck, which some dog owners may not know.
Most drowning among dogs occurs because they have nowhere to get out of the water, thus becoming too exhausted to continue paddling. Not all of our four-legged friends naturally are able to swim. Dogs who fear large bodies of water may enjoy standing on a platform or taking a dip above safe, mesh netting.
Dog Safety Around Water
Contrary to popular belief, not all dogs are great swimmers. Keep your pup safe by testing his or her swimming abilities in shallow water before progressing into deeper lengths.
A dog should always be wearing a life preserver while you are out on a boat or raft. The life preserver will make your dog easier to spot, keep him afloat, and give you something to grab hold of if he falls or jumps in. If you cannot handle your dog in a new environment, it might not be best to let him go in the water on his own.
Be sure to keep a close eye on your dog if you allow him to swim without you. Dogs do not rest while swimming, so they will only continue to swim until they tire themselves out. If a dog travels too far away, he may not be able to paddle his way back.
Lastly, some dogs simply do not enjoy going in the water. Do not force a dog into a body of water as it will only reinforce their fear.
What to Consider Before Buying
- Weight limit – check the weight limit for the specific dog ladder for boats. Will it support your dog?
- Additional purchases – products such as portable pumps and waterproof patches in case of a hole may need to be purchases separately if they are not included.
- Weight – not all ramps weigh the same. Obviously, the heavier the ramp, the harder it is to carry around with you.
- Size – some ladders are bulky and will take up lots of space on a boat when not in use. There are collapsible, inflatable, and adjustable ramps available.
- Material – make sure the material the product is made from will not rust or rot.
- Design – there should not be any holes that your pet’s paws can get stuck in.
- Attachment method – different attachment methods and types of surfaces the ramp can be attached to should be considered. Some ramps only attach to existing boat ladders. Would this be a problem?
The Top 3 Boat Ladders for Dogs
Check out these 3 great ladders for dogs:
Dog-On Water Ramp
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This portable, durable ramp has two flotation tubes that lead the dog up a mesh slope until he is able to get onto the dock. Individuals who have purchased this product report that it is sturdy and withstands a weight of over 100 pounds. No one has reported tearing of the mesh ramp or punctures in the flotation tubes. On Amazon, one unsatisfied customer did state that the plastic platform is too small for large dogs and that it is difficult to attach to boats that sit higher above the water. All reviewers except one seem to adore this product, yet they all agree that the product is quite bulky.
The shipping weight is listed as 61 pounds, while the Load-A-Pup below weighs only 7 pounds. Since the flotation tubes need to be inflated, a portable pump (or two) will be an additional expense when purchasing this ramp.
Great Day LP500 Pet-Loading Platform (Load-A-Pup For Boats)
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The Load-A-Pup is made out of aircraft aluminum, which weighs merely 7 pounds. This lightweight platform can easily be attached to your boat’s boarding ladder as it fits any boat with a boarding ladder. Unlike the Dog-On Water Ramp that can be attached to any surface, the Load-A-Pup can only be attached to a boarding ladder. A few customers love the product, but wish that the platform was wider as their dogs cannot fully stand on it.
While the brand claims to provide optimal traction to ensure safe footing, one customer insists on purchasing additional stair tread and attaching to the top of the platform. It retails for around $130 and normally includes free shipping on Amazon.
Beavertail Aluminum Folding Dog Ladder, Olive Drab Green
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Lastly, this two-way adjustable ladder retails at around $120. It is the least expensive of the three ladders. It folds up for easy storage and has a shipping weight of 9.9 pounds. It is comparably similar to the Load-A-Pup in the fact that it is lightweight and retails for less than $150. Some reviewers with larger dogs are not fans of this product as they feel it is too narrow. A few individuals also commented on the fact there is little to no traction, causing their canines to slip.
Different designs benefit how unique our lifestyles are. There are versatile ramps that can be used virtually anywhere, while others need to be attached to specific surfaces. Keep your dog in mind while choosing a ramp. Just because you love the look of a platform does not mean your canine will. It’s possible he might not even fit!
Overall, the Dog-On Water Ramp is the best bang for your buck. While it is quite expensive, the ramp can be attached anywhere from a boat to a pool. There have been no reports of people having received the product with missing parts or broken. The flotation tubes guide your canine up the mesh slope and onto the platform. Furthermore, this product is great for dogs of all ages. On the downside, this product does not provide a portable pump.
The Load-A-Pup is another great option. Bear in mind, this lightweight platform can only be attached to a boat’s boarding ladder. Since it’s compact-able, it makes for easy storing. Additional stair tread may need to be purchased and attached to the platform to ensure safe footing. At under $150, it is hard to find a better deal for those perfect days out on the water with your best friend.