A Mechanical Engineer Designs Ways to Give Your Canine Friend a Lift Up 

A Mechanical Engineer designs ways to give your “Best Friend” easy access to your vehicle and different higher surfaces. Read more to find out what kind of options are available for your dog.  A properly sized and installed dog ramp eases a dog’s boarding dilemmas.  Ramps are divided into several categories: folding, telescoping, fixed, moveable and those that are stored under the back bumper of a car.  This article describes the different types of dog ramps available and the engineering required to properly design them.


 Fig. 1 Mechanical Engineers Design Easy Car Access for Dogs

Mechanical Design, Materials Science,  Weight, and Ease of Use

A properly sized and installed dog ramp can ease a dog’s boarding dilemma (Fig. 1).  Ramps are divided into several categories: folding, telescoping, fixed, moveable and those that are stored under the back bumper of a car.  These ramps reduces pain and strain for pets and owners alike.  Proper Mechanical Design assists owners to lift the pet out of the car, out of the water, or up on the bed.  Ramps are used to protect young dog’s joints, help arthritic older dogs, or ease movement after a dog’s surgery.

A Mechanical Engineer makes the steps or ramps light weight and easy to use with the aid of Computer Aided Design (CAD) or Mechanical Computer Aided Design ( MCAD ).  They achieve the best design for a specific purpose.  They also investigate the stresses of a particular design and use Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to ensure that the ramp’s strength and size are adequate for a dog’s weight and physical size.

Materials Scientists also participate in  the design of dog ramps by selecting the optimal materials for specific purposes.  Some ramps are made of aluminum for light weight lifting ability and storage, yet strong enough to support a 150lb Dog.  Other materials are heavier gage metals, thick very durable hi-tech plastics, polypropylene, and high quality woods.  Dock ramps can be made of 100% stainless steel and fabricated Marine Board.  There are a wide choice of ramps and steps from which to choose, depending on your specific needs.  In California, specifically in the San Francisco Bay Area, also referred to as Silicon Valley, encompassing cities such as San Jose, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, and Palo Alto, Glew Engineering Consulting welcomes the opportunity to design custom dog ramps for unique applications.

Cost, of course, is always a key part in the decision making process between design and materials.  Both the Materials Scientist and the Mechanical Engineer collaborate on the trade offs, obtain marketing and sales input, and then finalize on the finished product. 

A Mechanical Engineer Designs Different Ramp Solutions

There are many different types of dog ramps from which to choose.  Listed below are the different styles.

Couch/Bed: The best option for getting your best buddy on the couch are sturdy steps of 2 to 4 steps, (Fig. 2) depending on the size of the dog.  Usually, these are made of sturdy plastics or wood for an elegant look.  A Licensed Mechanical Engineer can design a set of steps to be level, to not tip when a large dog uses it at a quick pace.  

Ramp:  A sturdy, lightweight, go-anywhere pet ramp.  Crafted of rinse-clean polypropylene, it’s perfect for older and smaller pets who need a little boost around the house – or stow it in the car for stress-free travel! 

Cars: A telescoping, flat inclined ramp usually works best.  Light weight material helps make storage and lifting easy. 

SUV and Trucks:  A TWISTEP easily attaches to Class II and III hitch receivers and provides a no-skid step for your dog to get in and out of vehicles with ease. When the step is not in use, it conveniently swings under the bumper of the car.

Cars, SUVs and Trucks:  Telescoping steps can be 3, 4 or 5 steps, depending the height of your vehicle. 

Boat and Docks:  Mechanical Engineers have developed an innovation in dock ramps (Design Innovation ).  Many docks are made of 100% stainless steel and custom fabricated Marine Board with counter balance at end of the board and carpeting on the ramps to avoid slipping (Fig. 3).  These new dock ramps conveniently detach and floats next to the watercraft when the boat ladder is needed.  A Licensed Mechanical Engineer can make certain that the ramp will float properly with Computer Aided Design (CAD) (Computer Aided Design Features Examined). 

Passarels:  Passarels, most often just called “boarding ramps”, are usually deployed from the stern of a boat.  A Licensed Mechanical Engineer uses Computer Aided Design (CAD) to create top of the line models which retract into the stern housings electrically or hydraulically.  They can be equipped with handrails to aid human users. These units are most often installed as part of the original equipping of the boat or added by professional installers. Prime advantages are ease of stowage and high weight capacity in a multipurpose package – as opposed to a single purpose dog ramp.

Mechanical Engineers Improve Pet Mobility

Some argue that a dog should be on the floor far from the human warmth.  However, ramp aides can have your best friend by your side.  Dogs with mobility problems don’t need you to remodel your home.  They just need a bit of help to improve everyday tiring movements, such as going up and down your couch, or even to help them in their younger years keep their joints healthy. 

The dog stairs recommended above are the best available today, and they all offer good value for the money.  It then depends on your preferences in terms of budget, look, quality of manufacturing and type of need.  Something new is coming on the market every day. (Understanding Design Innovation)

Glew Engineering Consulting, Inc.
240 Pamela Drive
Mountain View, CA 94040

Tel: 650-641-3019



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 Fig. 2  Fancy Wooden Dog Step Stool

 Fig. 3 Metal Dog Boat Ramp