If you have an active dog, you know how important daily exercise is. I have to take my dog, Stanley, for a walk every day, or he will sprint across my couches and run in circles, knocking anything over in his path until he gets some of his energy out inside. When the temperature is too hot for a walk but Stanley is still looking for some outdoor exercise, we will spend the day out at our pool! Stanley loves using the PetStep Pool Ramp Kit as a swimming platform for some awesome jumps into the pool. Besides occasionally getting hit with one of his large splashes, I love watching him play from one of the pool loungers.
Because he is such an energetic dog (and 85 pounds by the way), he really puts the PetStep pool ramp to the test! The ramp has non-slip rubber grips on the underside that keep it in place on the edge of my pool. The 500 lb capacity of the ramp easily supports him, but I did notice that the top of the ramp can begin to migrate on the wooden deck surrounding my above-ground pool as Stanley consistently runs up and jumps off the ramp. The ramp gave me peace of mind knowing that it could safely support my large, active dog, but I wanted to find a way to better secure the ramp to the top of my wooden pool deck. Along with the rest of the PetStep team, we came up with two options: non-slip rubber mats and cord with eye screws.
Non-Slip Rubber Mats
While the rubber inserts on the underside of the PetStep ramp grip whatever it is propped up against, traction can be increased using a non-slip rubber mat for large, energetic dogs that run and jump off the ramp. Non-slip mats are widely available at home improvement stores, big box stores, and online retailers. Some options are intended for commercial use, but a section of the rubber flooring could indeed be used for our purpose. Rubber or rubber-backed welcome mats can also be used and are very easy to find. The bottom line is that the mat should have non-slip properties, i.e. being rubber-backed, and not just any old mat.
Installation is super simple. All you have to do is place the mat at the edge where your deck or patio meets the pool. Once you place your PetStep pool ramp in the pool, rest the top of the ramp on top of the mat. The mat will add a little extra traction when your dog is running up and down the ramp and will prevent it from shifting on the deck.
Paracord and Eye Screws for Wood
Another, more permanent method of securing the ramp to the deck surrounding your pool is using some paracord (or similar cord) and eye screws. These items can be found at almost any hardware or home improvement store, and are very inexpensive. You’ll also need a marker, scissors, a power drill, and any screwdriver with a standard length shank (the long metal part). Optionally, a hook screw can also be used in the drill to screw in the eye screw. Once you’ve collected the necessary supplies, it’s time to put them to use! (photo of supplies)
In order to align the eye screws in the correct location, you’ll start with the PetStep ramp positioned in your pool like your dog will be using it. At the top of the ramp, you’ll notice two inserts on either side. When used with a vehicle, these slots are where the side entry support strap would attach. Since we are not using it in the car at this moment, these inserts can be used to attach the ramp to your pool deck. Now that the ramp is in your pool, use your marker or another writing utensil to mark where the eye screws should be placed. The eye screws should be drilled into the deck directly in front of the inserts on the top of the ramp, about an inch or two away from the edge of the ramp. If your pool has a coping that overlaps onto the deck, the eye screws should be drilled into the wood deck behind it.
After marking where the eye screws will go, use your drill and a bit that is similar in size to the eye screw to drill the pilot holes. Keep in mind that the pilot hole you drill should be slightly smaller in diameter than the eye screws. After the pilot holes are drilled, fit an eye screw into each hole. Insert the shank of the screwdriver through the eye of the screw and twist it to secure the screw into the wood deck. Alternatively, you can attach the hook screw to your drill, hook it into the eye screw, and drill it in that way. For a visual representation, this video does a great job outlining the process of installing eye screws into wood.
Once the eye screws have been drilled into your pool deck, grab the paracord. Thread the end of the paracord through the inserts on the top of the PetStep ramp, and pull it through under the ramp. Then, thread the cord through the eye hook. Tie the cord, making a loop through the ramp and eye screw. Cut off the excess cord. Do the same thing on the other side of the ramp. Now, your ramp is held in place on the deck, preventing it from sliding side to side even if your active pup is galloping on the ramp or using it as a jumping platform.
If you live in an area where the pool season is limited, you’ll want to remove your PetStep ramp from the pool during the off-season. All you have to do is untie or cut the paracord to remove your ramp from the pool! If you also want to remove the eye screws in order to secure the ramp somewhere else in the pool, remove them the same way you installed them by either twisting them out with the shank of a screwdriver or the hook screw and power drill.
While this blog focuses on securing the ramp to a wooden pool deck, the same steps can be taken to secure the ramp to the concrete deck of an in-ground pool. Just make sure that you use eye bolts instead of eye screws and make the pilot hole depth align with the eye bolt length. You should also use a hammer drill with a drill bit that is able to effectively penetrate concrete. This guide will provide more detailed instructions.
The Goal Will Always be a Happy Pup!
After securing our PetStep pool ramp to our wooden deck, Stanley was able to run, jump, or sprint on the ramp to his heart’s content without the ramp shifting at all. And that is purely the reason why we explore these types of solutions: we want to ensure that all dogs can safely enjoy using our ramp. Whether your dog tip toes on the ramp at 20 lbs or leaps on it at 200 lbs, PetStep is continually innovating our products to serve any dog. If you try either of these hacks to attach the ramp to your pool deck, let us know! Tag us in your photos @petstep on Instagram or PetStep on Facebook.