The Best Dog Boat Ladder and Ramp: Buying Guide

Taking your dog on a boat ride? Before you do, it’s best to ask yourself, is my boat equipped to accommodate a dog out in the water? One of the things we often overlook is how important it is to provide your pooch a safe way of getting on and off your pontoon. Without a ramp or ladder, hoisting your pup back on board - especially if he’s a bigger breed - can feel a lot like a full on rescue operation. So before you hit the waves, make sure you’re ready with the best dog boat ladder for safe and easy boarding.

The 5 Best Dog Boat Ladders and Ramps

1. PetSTEP Original Folding Pet Ramp

boat ramp for dogs in water

With a weight capacity of up to 500lbs, this boat ramp for dogs in water provides stable footing so your pup can get on board without a fuss. The sturdy material showcases a basic ramp design that extends 70 inches, providing substantial reach. Its textured non-slip rubberized surface offers reliable footing even in wet conditions. 

Folding easily in half for storage, this choice opens and closes in seconds with no need for extra tools. It also features a non-corroding or rusting material that’s designed for use in water for easy cleaning and maintenance.

2. WaterDog Adventure Gear Dog Ladder

how to get a big dog on a boat

Specifically designed for dogs, this choice features sturdy steps that are made from non-corrosive, non-slip material. The entire ladder floats when dropped in the water, allowing you to easily retrieve it in case it falls in. The buoyant design also means that it won’t sink under the weight of a heavy dog.

Lightweight and collapsible, this design is easy to store and transport. Its durable construction provides reliable performance in the most demanding situations. Completely weatherproof, this pick can deliver years of safe service for you and your pup.

3. PET LOADER H2O

how to get dog on and off boat

Using rubber matting for maximum traction in the water, this ladder features an extended bottom step to help your pup get enough space to stabilize himself as he climbs on. The sturdy metal framework provides stable performance to keep your dog comfortably balanced as he manages his way up the steps.

Supporting a weight of up to 150lbs, this choice can sustain dogs of almost any size. Complete with a folding frame, this choice neatly tucks away when the boat is underway so you won’t have to worry about constantly removing and attaching it to your deck.

4. Paws Aboard Doggy Boat Ladder

best dog boat ramps

Developed with elderly, arthritic dogs in mind, this choice touts a portable, lightweight structure that’s easy to install and remove. The steps slant inwards, preventing your pup’s paws from slipping and sliding as he takes a step up. And with its extended reach that submerges deeper into the water, the design lets your dog hop on without the need for excessive effort or upper body strength.

Featuring a universal grip that’s compatible with most boat designs, the ladder is made from high-grade, weatherproof plastic that can easily survive years of use. Its lightweight build also means easy removal and storage for whenever you don’t need it in place.

5. Pawz Pet Products Doggy Boat Ladder

floating dog ramp for pontoon boat

With a reach of 64 inches, this floating dog ramp for pontoon boat use submerges most of its length into the water to give your pup sure footing that doesn’t require too much effort to hoist himself up out of the water. The durable, non-slip construction provides excellent performance in all sorts of weather conditions.

Portable, lightweight, and rugged, this choice retracts into a neat little size for easy storage. Its sturdy metal framework ensures stability during use, and resists corrosion and rust to help your ladder last for years after you first attach it to your boat.

Does Your Dog Need a Dog Ladder?

getting dog on and off pontoon boat

No one wants to spend money on something that will end up gathering dust in storage. So it helps to ask yourself whether or not you actually need a dog ladder in the first place. What many pontoon owners don’t realize is that the best dog boat ramps can be an investment, being more of an essential dog boat accessory than an optional piece of equipment.

Provides a safe way on and off of your boat

Have you ever tried hoisting a hundred pound dog out of the water and onto your boat? Aside from it being a herculean task, fishing your dog out of the water can be potentially dangerous.

Providing a ladder or ramp ensures a safe way for your dog to get on and off of your boat without the risks. These sturdy designs provide stable footing that’s always available when your pooch needs it.

Ideal in case of emergencies

You never know what you might encounter in the water, so it helps to provide an easy way back to your pontoon. In a time pressured situation where you need to act fast to save your pup, a ramp or ladder gives him easy access to safety.

Makes boating easier for older dogs

As your dog ages, he might not be able to get around as well as he used to. But that’s no reason to leave him at home. A proper boat ramp or ladder can provide your elderly pup a safe, comfortable way to get in and out of the water.

Minimizes risk of injury

Simply letting your dog jump off from any side of your boat, or letting them climb back on wherever they want can prove to be potentially injurious. Boat ramps and ladders are designed for non-slip, stable performance that minimizes the risk of injury so you can let your dog play and frolic with peace of mind.

What to Look for in a Dog Boat Ramp

non slip dog ramp for pontoons

With such a wide selection of boat ramps and ladders on the market, it’s tough to really zero in on a choice that matches your needs and preferences. Nonetheless, these basic considerations should help you find one that’s right on the money.

Durability

Constant exposure to moisture can easily cause certain materials to corrode or rust. Unless you were willing to keep replacing your ramp every time it gives up against the elements, you’re going to want something that’s build with high-grade weatherproof material that’s intended for use in nautical settings.

Non-Slip Surface

Remember that your dog’s paws and claws make it tough to get any traction on smooth surfaces. Add in the factor of water and it’s not hard to see how a pup might slip on steps that aren’t designed for grip. Non-slip rubber material that’s textured to provide better traction can make it easier for your dog to step and might even minimize the risk of injuries and accidents.

Easy Set Up and Removal

While it might come in handy when your dog is getting on and off your boat, a ladder or ramp will be a major hazard when left attached to your boat underway. So a design that easily comes off and hooks back on can be especially helpful in reducing the time you spend setting it up.

Collapsible

Pontoon boats aren’t exactly the most spacious, so it helps to be able to collapse your ladder or ramp for easy storage. Some choices fold in half, while others retract like a standard ladder. Then there are those that flatten after being unlocked, letting you stow them away neatly even with limited storage space on your boat.

Weight Capacity

How much does your pooch weigh? Some ladders can only sustain a few pounds, limiting their use to lighter, smaller dogs. If you’ve got multiple large breeds, you’re going to want something that can sustain much more than a couple hundred pounds. Certain heavy duty ladders can support weights of up to 500lbs, making them especially helpful for pet owners with more than one dog.

Versatile

While most dog ladders are built to answer the question of how to get a big dog on a boat, others go the extra mile. Some ladders and ramps will actually support the weight of humans as well, working as a safe way to get on and off shore from your boat. Hitting two birds with one stone, options like these can actually limit the need for other boating gear that might take up more space on your pontoon.

Seamless Boating with Your Canine Companion

sturdy ladder for your canine companion

There’s no need to wonder how to get dog on and off boat when you’ve got a sturdy ladder or ramp at the ready. Designed to simplify the entire process of keeping your pup safe out on the water, a boat ramp for your dog can give you the peace of mind you’re looking for. Safe, simple, and super convenient, the best dog boat ladder or ramp can make days on the lake with your dog particularly problem free.