10 DIY Dog Stairs & Steps You Can Build Today (With Pictures)

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dog stairs

Do you maintain a no-dogs-on-the-furniture household? Or is bedtime a literal snugglefest? If you’re like us, then it’s probably the latter! If you own a toy or small breed, however, getting on and off the bed (or sofa) can be not just difficult but outright dangerous for your pup.

Jumping off of tall furniture can wreak havoc on your dog’s joints, especially if they’re predisposed to conditions like hip dysplasia or arthritis. On top of that, there’s a good chance that they won’t be able to get back up on the bed, couch, or their favorite armchair after jumping down.

With a set of dog stairs, you can relax knowing your dog has the freedom to go wherever they want without hurting themselves in the process. Here are 10 DIY dog step projects that you can build at home:

1. Dog Stairs With Built-In Storage, From HGTV

Dog Stairs With Built-In Storage, From HGTV
Image: HGTV

Difficulty: Advanced

Why waste valuable floor space with a set of bulky pet stairs? HGTV offers easy-to-follow instructions for how to construct your own dog stairs with convenient storage space hidden underneath — perfect for tucking away dog toys when not in use.

The best part about this project is that it’s easily tailored to your home décor with paint and your choice of rug.

Materials
  • Plywood
  • Pine board
  • Trim molding
  • Wood glue
  • Finishing nails
  • Flat rug
  • Non-slip rug mat
  • Small basket
Tools
  • Jigsaw
  • Tape measure
  • Straight edge
  • Hammer
  • Masking or painter’s tape
  • Circular saw (optional)
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2. Easy Dog Steps for Small Dogs, From IKEA Hackers

Easy Dog Steps for Small Dogs, From IKEA Hackers
Image: IKEA Hackers

Difficulty: Easy

With this tutorial from IKEA Hackers, you can eliminate the hard work of building a set of dog stairs and jump straight to enjoying them in your own home. All you need are a few affordable supplies from your local IKEA (if you don’t live near an IKEA retail store, these items are also available online), glue, and staples.

You can customize the final look of your steps with paint and your choice of fabric color.

Materials
Tools
  • Staple gun
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3. Classic Wood Dog Stairs, From Live Laugh Rowe

Classic Wood Dog Stairs, From Live Laugh Rowe
Image: Live Laugh Rowe

Difficulty: Moderate

Live Laugh Rowe has a detailed tutorial on constructing simple but elegant dog steps with just a few pieces of lumber and tools. While you’ll need specific tools and hardware to get this project done, it’s quite simple as far as woodworking goes.

Once your new dog stairs are constructed, apply a layer of primer and your favorite paint color. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also add carpeting or cushions to the steps.

Materials
  • Lumber
  • Wood screws
  • Pocket screws
  • Wood glue and filler
  • Paint
Tools
  • Drill
  • Sandpaper
  • Handheld saw
  • Kreg jig
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4. Soft Foam Dog Stairs, From Instructables

Soft Foam Dog Stairs, From Instructables
Image: Instructables

Difficulty: Easy

If wooden stairs are a bit too heavy duty for your needs or you want a set of stairs that are ultra-portable, check out this tutorial from Instructables. These foam dog stairs are quick and easy to make and don’t require an extra layer of carpet on top.

You can leave the foam exposed or create a fabric cover to go over the stairs. The latter option might take a little more time, but will allow you to customize the look of your new pet steps.

Materials
  • Dense upholstery foam
  • Spray adhesive
  • Fabric (optional)
Tools
  • Electric carving knife
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5. DIY Dog Steps, From Build Basic

DIY Dog Steps, From Build Basic
Image: Build Basic

Difficulty: Advanced

Are you looking for something that looks professionally made (without the price)? If you or a loved one have woodworking experience under your belt, then this project from Build Basic is exactly what you’re looking for.

Once complete, these stairs can be customized with paint, wood stain, fabric, cushions, carpet, and more.

Materials
  • Plywood
  • Lumber
  • Wood glue
  • Finishing nails
  • Fabric/carpet (optional)
  • Paint/wood stain (optional)
Tools
  • Drill
  • Miter saw
  • Circular saw
  • Staple gun
  • Nail gun
  • Tape measure
  • Framing square
  • Speed square
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6. Upcycled Pallet Dog Stairs, From Karell Ste-Marie

Upcycled Pallet Dog Stairs, From Karell Ste-Marie
Image: Karell Ste-Marie

Difficulty: Moderate

We all know someone who is constantly trying to get rid of old wood pallets. With this guide from Karell Ste-Marie, you can transform those pallets into a rustic-inspired doggie staircase.

While you can always paint the pallet boards once your stairs are constructed, we like the all-natural look of this project!

Materials
  • Old pallets
  • Plywood
  • Water-based wood finish
  • Nails
Tools
  • Hammer
  • Saw
  • Measuring tape
  • Sandpaper
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7. Quick and Easy Cardboard Dog Stairs, From Mild Mile

Quick and Easy Cardboard Dog Stairs, From Mild Mile
Image: Mild Mile

Difficulty: Easy

For owners of toy and small breed dogs, heavy-duty wood stairs aren’t always necessary. This ingenious tutorial from Mild Mile shows how to construct the set of pet stairs by Build Basic with double-walled cardboard instead of lumber.

If you want to spice up this set of stairs, we suggest applying ready-to-stick wallpaper to the cardboard before putting all the pieces together.

Materials
  • Double-walled cardboard
  • Mounting tape
  • Wallpaper (optional)
Tools
  • Box cutter
  • Hot glue gun
  • Straight ruler
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8. Dog Stairs for Tall Beds, From Digital Peer

Dog Stairs for Tall Beds, From Digital Peer
Image: Digital Peer

Difficulty: Advanced

Most ready-made dog stairs are designed for sofas and low beds. But if you have an extra-tall bed and a pooch who loves to snuggle, then the custom dog stair plans from Digital Peer may just do the trick.

Of course, you can always use a wood stain or paint to match your new doggie stairs to your existing home décor.

Materials
  • Plywood
  • Lumber
  • Screws
Tools
  • Jigsaw
  • Circular saw
  • Cutting table/sawhorses
  • Drill
  • Measuring tape
  • Square angle
  • Sandpaper
  • Roundover router
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9. Rustic Scrap Wood Dog Steps, From Instructables

Rustic Scrap Wood Dog Steps, From Instructables
Image: Instructables

Difficulty: Moderate

If you have access to a bunch of scrap lumber, then you’re probably not too interested in building dog steps that require buying even more wood. Fortunately, this tutorial from Instructables will show you how to use old scrap wood to create a set of functional pet stairs.

The author of this project also notes that these stairs are reversible — you can lay the stairs on their “back” to create a shorter staircase for your sofa or other low furniture.

When using scrap wood, make sure you know what, if any, treatments it may have been subjected to. Some wood treatments may be unsafe for your dog.

Materials
  • Scrap lumber
  • Finishing nails
  • Drywall screws
Tools
  • Saw
  • Measuring tape
  • Drill
  • Hammer
  • Sandpaper
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10. Wooden Crate Dog Steps, From Hometalk

Wooden Crate Dog Steps, From Hometalk
Image: Hometalk

Difficulty: Easy

Don’t have access to an IKEA store? Fret not, because you can easily make a set of dog stairs from almost any wooden crate! Hometalk shows us how to use affordable crates from Michael’s to create a functional set of steps for a small dog.

As you can see in the picture above, this project also works great for dogs who are too small to jump into your vehicle on their own.

Materials
  • Two wooden crates (one full- and one half-sized)
  • Chalk paint
  • E6000 adhesive
Tools
  • Paintbrush
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Conclusion

Whether you’re looking to avoid the expense of store-bought pet stairs or just want to roll up your sleeves for the day, these are just a few of the great projects you can build for your four-legged friend. There are even multiple options for dog owners who don’t have the equipment or skills needed to construct a set of stairs from wood.

As always, don’t be afraid to adjust these plans to fit your own needs — change paint colors, step heights, or whatever else you see fit. Assuming you have the tools and experience necessary, there’s no limit to your creativity!

So, what are you waiting for? A set of custom-made steps are sure to make your and your pup’s lives a little bit easier.

How does your dog get on and off the furniture? Have you ever used a set of pet stairs?


Featured Image: susanne906 from Pixabay