Dog ramp for IG fiberglass pool

Graul95

Member
Jun 17, 2020
8
Ohio
I have a 12yo 100lb German Shepherd with mobility issues due to very bad hips and knees. He loves to swim but he can't quite get in our new IG 16x40' fiberglass pool because the steps are a bit too steep and narrow. The 3 steps extend across the entire length of the 16' and we have plenty of room on the concrete pool deck. There are plenty of options but ideally I want him to be able to walk in and out on a ramp (no steps), with a level platform in the water for him to be able to use as a "base" while he's swimming. The entry/exit ramp needs to be long and as low incline as possible, and the platform needs to be wide and sturdy because of his stability issues. Any engineers out there that have built something like this, or know of anything on the market? I don't mind building something we can either leave in the pool or take in/out provided it's not too involved.

Graul
 

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lager1829

Gold Supporter
Jul 8, 2015
129
Lancaster County, PA
I have a 12yo 100lb German Shepherd with mobility issues due to very bad hips and knees. He loves to swim but he can't quite get in our new IG 16x40' fiberglass pool because the steps are a bit too steep and narrow. The 3 steps extend across the entire length of the 16' and we have plenty of room on the concrete pool deck. There are plenty of options but ideally I want him to be able to walk in and out on a ramp (no steps), with a level platform in the water for him to be able to use as a "base" while he's swimming. The entry/exit ramp needs to be long and as low incline as possible, and the platform needs to be wide and sturdy because of his stability issues. Any engineers out there that have built something like this, or know of anything on the market? I don't mind building something we can either leave in the pool or take in/out provided it's not too involved.

Graul
You may want to consider a life vest. Ruffwear makes a quality vest with a handle on top you can use to assist him up and down the steps. Our friends have a 12 yo Golden with mobility issues and it works for them when we have a dog swim party. In addition the vest adds buoyancy support so he's not working so hard to stay afloat. He can take a break and still be floating.

We have one for each of our 3 Goldens. The 3-legged, Kylee and the oldest, Zeke tire easy and with the vests they can swim all day if they want.
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jtpipkin

Bronze Supporter
Oct 2, 2016
237
albany, ga
Graul - Having been where you're at, unfortunately, I'd be very concerned that a ramp could be dangerous for the ol' pup. Totally understand your thinking, be he/she shouldn't be in the pool alone if those steps give her an issue. I'd probably be happy that she doesn't get in unless I was out there to help her in and out. I say this out of concern only. Looking at your setup, that's a pretty easy ingress / egress. I think the ramp would only embolden her to to attempt it on her own and it may not end well. Good luck and please give the old pup big hugs for me!
 

Graul95

Member
Jun 17, 2020
8
Ohio
Graul - Having been where you're at, unfortunately, I'd be very concerned that a ramp could be dangerous for the ol' pup. Totally understand your thinking, be he/she shouldn't be in the pool alone if those steps give her an issue. I'd probably be happy that she doesn't get in unless I was out there to help her in and out. I say this out of concern only. Looking at your setup, that's a pretty easy ingress / egress. I think the ramp would only embolden her to to attempt it on her own and it may not end well. Good luck and please give the old pup big hugs for me!
Thanks for the concern JT but I should have specified there's little to no chance he's going to give it a go on his own, at least any time soon. All of his previous swimming has been in a lake and he's pretty wary of our pool so far. He sleeps 23 hours a day and he's never ever outside unsupervised. Obviously safety is #1 but honestly I'd be happy if he and the ramp were a good enough fit where I had to worry about him trying to get in on his own.

You may want to consider a life vest. Ruffwear makes a quality vest with a handle on top you can use to assist him up and down the steps. Our friends have a 12 yo Golden with mobility issues and it works for them when we have a dog swim party. In addition the vest adds buoyancy support so he's not working so hard to stay afloat. He can take a break and still be floating.
Thanks Lager, I actually have been looking into these and will probably get one. Not sure it will completely solve the issue without some sort of ramp but having a handle on him will definitely help. Glad they are working for your dogs!

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The ramps here either have steps which are a no go for us or they are for much smaller dogs. I will keep looking and may try to design something on my own.

Thanks all!
 
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jtpipkin

Bronze Supporter
Oct 2, 2016
237
albany, ga
totally get it - plus side to those life vests is the handle on top to help them into the water. I'm trying to think of an option, but worried all would be too much on an incline for her comfort level. I bought one for my truck years ago that was made out of aluminum. Neither of my older, large pups much cared for it though. I found this listing that may be able to be modified in some way that it wouldn't float... Best of luck - what you're doing is totally admirable. Both of my older pups were rescues and taken in when they were no fun for the previous family to deal with and turned in to a shelter (Both Rottweilers). Sad...
Folding Pet Ramp for Cars, SUVs and Minivans | WeatherTech | WeatherTech
 

Graul95

Member
Jun 17, 2020
8
Ohio
totally get it - plus side to those life vests is the handle on top to help them into the water. I'm trying to think of an option, but worried all would be too much on an incline for her comfort level. I bought one for my truck years ago that was made out of aluminum. Neither of my older, large pups much cared for it though. I found this listing that may be able to be modified in some way that it wouldn't float... Best of luck - what you're doing is totally admirable. Both of my older pups were rescues and taken in when they were no fun for the previous family to deal with and turned in to a shelter (Both Rottweilers). Sad...
Folding Pet Ramp for Cars, SUVs and Minivans | WeatherTech | WeatherTech
We do have a car ramp but we stopped using it with him a couple years ago because it's a little too steep. Now I just pick him up (being careful not to break my back) and put him into our side van door. But a car ramp might work in combination with something else since it doesn't have to go all the way to the bottom of the pool. It could maybe work as the incline to get him to the level platform, if it can be made secure enough and if it's wide enough. We'll see. :unsure: I'll update here if and when we figure something out. Thanks for all the input!

BTW here's my guy back in his heyday...
 

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jtpipkin

Bronze Supporter
Oct 2, 2016
237
albany, ga
We do have a car ramp but we stopped using it with him a couple years ago because it's a little too steep. Now I just pick him up (being careful not to break my back) and put him into our side van door. But a car ramp might work in combination with something else since it doesn't have to go all the way to the bottom of the pool. It could maybe work as the incline to get him to the level platform, if it can be made secure enough and if it's wide enough. We'll see. :unsure: I'll update here if and when we figure something out. Thanks for all the input!

BTW here's my guy back in his heyday...
Beautiful Pup and we wish him all the best - it's awesome that you're doing what you can to make his golden years the best they can be - Obligatory pic of my old pups. Sadie and Roger, both rescued from Miami-Dade

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Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
I too was surprised when I Googled dog raps to see that most dog access products were standard ramps or steps. Nothing that seemed to be just right for certain really large breeds or unique physical conditions. But I did notice that some people made their own accessibility products from various products like PVC and composite materials. If you do end-up making your own, be sure to show us what you develop.