I get this question a lot – do labs need to use ramps? Especially healthy, younger labs who are perfectly capable of jumping into the back of the SUV?
Labs seem to be natural-born athletes so it can be tempting to just let your lab jump up in and out of the vehicle - especially if they still seem to do it pretty effortlessly, but the truth is it's not as good for them as it may look.
Actually, the healthiest option for labs of all ages is to use ramps instead of jumping. Jumping at any age causes stress on a dog's joints (especially when they land - jumping down from a higher surface is even harder on their doggie bodies) and can contribute to health issues later on in life so most vets recommend you start using a ramp for getting in and out of the vehicle at an early age.
You may already know that many labs are predisposed to hip dysplasia and other joint issues. While some of these issues unfortunately can't be avoided, you can still take action to help make things easier on your lab before the problems begin.
The earlier you start, the sooner you can start taking unnecessary stress off your lab's joints, making things that much easier on their body as they age. And even if they are already showing signs of stiffness and hesitancy to jump, all is not lost. You can still help them.
Can old dogs learn new tricks?
Many people say it’s easier to train a younger dog and develop the habit early so if by a couple years old, they are already used to walking up and down a ramp instead of jumping, they will have those good habits for life (which is especially helpful as they age). There is a lot to be said for training a lab to use a ramp while they are still young. However, if your lab is already up there in years, it's not too late for them. Even older dogs can learn to use ramps with a little patience (and treats) so if your older fur kid isn’t ramp-trained yet, it is by no means too late.
How do you teach them to use it?
The key is to start with the ramp flat on the ground and reward them with treats for walking on it (no lab can resist treats). Take things slow and let them get really comfortable with it. Then, once they have mastered walking the length of the ramp while it’s flat (without hesitation), increase the incline (think curb height) and keep the treats coming. Repeat the process to keep increasing the incline until they are completely comfortable with it and will use the ramp wherever you need it.
What is the best kind of ramp to get?
Once you know you want a ramp for your lab, the key is picking the right one. This Travel Lite Bi-Fold Ramp is my personal favorite because it is:
Let me expand on that a little more. First things first, a ramp should ideally hold 150 lbs. Obviously, most labs don't weigh that much, but one of the most important things you can do is choose a sturdy ramp for your lab. Choosing a ramp that can handle more weight than you need means the ramp will be plenty strong and will help your lab feel more secure while they are learning to use it.
Next up, look for a ramp that folds. This makes travel a whole lot easier and means the ramp won't take up seating in your vehicle. You can just fold it up, put it in the back of your vehicle, and go. No loss of seating or re-configuring needed and it's there when you need it. That brings me to my next point. A good ramp should be lightweight and easy to set up. Some ramps may be strong, but they are back-breakers when you need to set them up. This is one of my favorites. Weighing just 12 lbs, it's easy to maneuver and won't break your back. Lastly, a good ramp should have a weatherproof surface. Whether it's a rainy day or your lab is using the ramp after a day at the lake, having a skid-resistant surface will help their paws get good traction no matter what and as a result, will help them feel that much better about using the ramp.
Remember: the earlier you start, the better. Don't wait until they are showing signs of pain. Get a ramp now!
Get your lab's favorite treats and begin training as soon as you can.
Their joints will thank you!
Purchase my favorite ramp here and we'll feed shelter dogs for 8 days!
The ramp is amazing. I have three older dogs ranging from 11 to 13 years old and all with mobility issues. The travel lite ramp makes it so easy for them to get in our truck or on the bed. My daughter is ordering one for her 16 year old. Thanks for helping other dogs and I would recommend your company To anyone. Wonderful service.
Very satisfying, arrived quickly, very well made and very easy to set up and very sturdy. My dog had no problems using it from the first time and I think that he enjoys using it. I know that it will be easier on his hips than jumping off the bed.
I Love This!! I found it at a perfect time. My dog Buddy is getting older and doesn't move so great anymore. And this helped him still be able to get into the truck and up the porch so much easier!!!
Love it. Can't lift my 120 pound pooch and he doesn't like to jump so this is a lifesaver
This item is Awesome!! Very Sturdy...yet light enough to carry and easy storage!! Price is great!!! I would recommend this product 100% ?
I am very pleased with the ramp. It is well constructed and appears to be very durable. Recommend it.