Our dog breed of choice is the miniature dachshund. They are adorable, loving, and highly... portable? That portability does create some challenges around the house, though. When you want to treat your furbabies as equal family members, that means they should get access to all the furniture, right? All the beds and sofas at a minimum. To accomplish this you need ramps and/or steps. There are options available in the market for purchase, but in our experience, most of them are poorly made, too expensive for what you get, or don't fit perfectly with your furniture.
There are exceptions on the quality/fit front - most notably DoggoRamps.com. For our needs, though... 3 beds and 2 sofas would make for a significant investment. I decided to build my own and after several iterations, I've landed on designs that are easy and cheap to build. I thought I'd share.
I needed a design that would scale up and down easily depending on the height of the bed. It didn't need to be able to change height dynamically (like the DoggoRamp) because that would increase cost and complexity and let's face it... we don't exactly change bed frames regularly. What I opted for was a simple stool + hinged ramp design that gave me control based on two key elements: 1) the height of the stool and 2) the length of the ramp.
Our bed is quite high off the ground, which necessitated a longer ramp to travel the distance at a reasonable angle for the dogs. You'll also notice that I put a 2" piece under the bottom of the ramp and at the top of the ramp to further decrease the angle.
The materials for this design are highly available and affordable. They include:
For the hinges, I scavenged my junk box. I found some old closet rod brackets and reshaped them with vise grips to create the desired angle to connect the ramp to my stool. You'll just want to factor in the weight of your dogs into the decision making here. Our dogs range between 11-15 lbs, so I didn't need a heavy duty hinge. Choose accordingly.
In terms of the build process, I am a novice and was able to produce a level, solid product. Just take your time, use screws instead of nails, measure twice and cut once... and use a level to get your stool legs right. One tip would be to pre-drill most of your screw holes so you don't end up splitting some of this cheap, thin wood.
A ramp isn't going to work for every use case and the sofa in our family room is a great example of this. It's better suited for steps because it's a high traffic area and a ramp is just going to end up being a tripping hazard. Using the same design principles as above, the steps were created by simply building and joining 3 custom stools. I adjusted the depth and height of each stool to align with comfortable heights for our dogs to navigate going up to or down from the couch. We opted for a deep step on top to act as a bit of a landing area for them to turn on to the couch or to turn to ready themselves to go down to the floor.
I'm quite pleased with how these turned out and they are completely integrated into the daily lives of our happy dogs. 14/10 would recommend.