Home How-To How to Help a Dog Get Into a Vehicle

How to Help a Dog Get Into a Vehicle

How to help a dog get into a vehicle? Is my dog scared, or does he just not want to go?

You know your dog can jump, but should he be putting that kind of strain on his body every day?

Think of how often your dog has to jump to get onto furniture, beds, and vehicles.

Now think of how often he jumps while playing or exploring his environment.

Even if your dog can jump up into your car, truck, or SUV by himself, you should still know how to help a dog get into a vehicle.

It saves a lot of stress on a dog's joints, which through unneeded and constant wear and tear, could lead to health issues over time.

Dangers for Dogs Jumping Into Vehicles

For a dog, jumping in and out of a vehicle could be dangerous.

For example, if your dog jumps or lands the wrong way, he could end up spraining or breaking a leg or needing expensive surgery to repair a ligament.

Young and active dogs that keep jumping up and down many times each day will have an increased chance of joint-related health problems later down the road.

The higher the jump, the more stress it puts on your dog's legs, paws, and joints, particularly for large breeds.

If you have a big truck or SUV, your dog may need to jump several feet each time he gets in and out of the car.

Learning how to help a dog get into a vehicle will save him from having to make that leap and probably reduce joint problems when he gets older.

In this article and in the above video, I show three techniques on how to help your dog get into a car using pet steps and dog safety ramps, as well as some alternative options.

Using any of these methods, you should have no problem with your dog getting into a car anymore, and you'll also save his joints from unnecessary stress and wear and tear.

How to Help a Dog Get Into a Vehicle

How to Help a Dog Get Into a Vehicle

How to Get Your Dog Into a Car by Yourself

If a dog can't get into the vehicle on their own, most owners will opt to pick their dog up and give them a boost.

In the video above, I demonstrate the proper ways to put small, medium, or large breeds into the car, truck, or SUV by lifting them.

If you have a small dog, it's easy to scoop them up and place them in the vehicle.

But medium and large breeds are much heavier, so lifting them isn't always an option.

With big dogs, the best thing you can do is place their front paws on the floor of the vehicle and cradle their hind end while lifting them up and helping the dogs into the car.

Be sure always to support your dog's hind end and not place strain on the dog's abdomen or back legs while lifting your dog into the vehicle.

The cradle method that I demonstrate in my video is the best way to lift a medium or large-breed dog safely.

Is lifting your dog up into the vehicle effective?

Yes, but it can also be extremely hard on your own body.

While you're saving the stress on your pet's joints, you're creating a lot of stress and pressure for your back, legs, shoulders, and arms.

Ultimately, the best way to help a dog into a car is by using dog stairs or a pet ramp that is specifically designed to help give dogs a boost into high cars, trucks, and SUVs.

I demonstrate the use of a pet ramp in my video above, but pet stairs work well, too.

There are differences between these two options, but personally, I prefer to use a dog ramp over dog stairs because ramps are easier for senior pets and dogs with arthritis or hip issues since the climb is much simpler.

Lifting the legs to climb pet stairs can sometimes be difficult for these dogs.

Get the Dog Into a Car Using Pet Ramp or Stairs

Get the Dog Into a Car Using Pet Ramp or Stairs

Whether you choose a dog ramp or pet stairs, be sure to find a product that is made for the make and model of your vehicle.

They don't always specify which cars the stairs or ramps are made for, so you may have to measure.

When measuring stairs/ramps for your car, make sure to measure from where the ramp or stairs will attach to your vehicle down to the ground at an appropriate slope.

If the slope of the pet ramp is too steep, it will make things even more stressful on your dog's body than jumping into the vehicle would be.

You also need to look for a set of pet stairs or ramps that will be easy to stow in your vehicle and take out when needed so it doesn't turn into a constant hassle.

Find dog steps or dog ramps that:

  • Collapses for easy storage
  • Is lightweight
  • Is able to support your dog's weight

As I demonstrate in my video above, it's easy to train a dog to use stairs or a ramp.

The best way is to do this with dog treats and lure your pooch up and down until they're comfortable with the process.

At first, you'll need to use a lot of treats to motivate the dog, but soon enough, he'll figure out that it's easier to use the ramp/stairs than keep jumping up and down.

Then you can just treat the dog for climbing up or down.

Learning how to help a dog into a vehicle isn't difficult, but it's important information that every dog owner should know.

It will benefit your dog's overall health, and it's a great preventative measure to keep his joints in a much better shape and away from jumps.

Best Dog Ramps and Stairs for Cars

Some pet stairs or ramps are great for beds and furniture but may not be suitable for vehicles, particularly if the car is too low (sports car) or too high (SUVs and trucks).

Below are five of my favorite dog ramps and dog stairs for cars that I would recommend trying to help dogs get into your vehicle.

How to Help a Dog Get Into a Vehicle: FAQs

How do you help a scared dog in the car?

Once the car is moving, give your dog some treats and communicate with him in a positive manner before shutting the car off.

Repeat this numerous times until your woofer is entirely at ease with the engine running.

What to do if a dog doesn't want to get in the car?

By providing your dog with valuable rewards, you can encourage him to approach the car on his own terms.

Some dogs might immediately leap in, but it might take longer for others—or even a few tries—before they muster the courage.

Why is my dog having trouble getting in the car?

If your dog won't get in the car, there's a good likelihood he's scared of traveling for some reason.

Ask your vet to examine him to rule out any additional problems, such as motion sickness or pain,


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Samantha’s biggest passion in life is spending time with her Boxer dogs. After she rescued her first Boxer in 2004, Samantha fell in love with the breed and has continued to rescue three other Boxers since then. She enjoys hiking and swimming with her Boxers, Maddie and Chloe.