Many dogs like to join in family activities such as swimming; however, getting out of the pool isn't always easy for dogs. Some breeds, such as the short-legged Basset Hounds, English Bulldogs, or Pugs aren't strong swimmers, and even strong swimmers can weaken as they age. It's important to make sure your dog can climb in and out of the water without damaging themselves or your pool.
The Skamper Ramp
Named one of the Top Five Pet Products of 2008 by PetPlace.com, the Skamper Ramp comes in two sizes, one for dogs weighing less than 40 lbs. and a larger size for dogs weighing up to 200 lbs. Its white color allows dogs to see it in the day or at night, and it's lightweight. Simply flip it in when the pool is in use, and you can flip it back out for covering the pool. It's also designed for safety with vinyl pools, won't damage liners and is chemically resistant, so it won't degrade in chlorine. You can attach it to a deck or concrete pool edge. In 2010, the Skamper Ramp prices between around $50 or $80 to $90 for the larger model.
The PoolPup Steps
These safety steps also bolt onto your deck, and the drill bit for making the holes is even included in the package. They're lightweight, and simple to remove for cleaning. Like the Skamper Ramp, PoolPup steps come in two sizes, one for dogs up to 50 lbs. and the other for larger dogs up to 140 lbs. Once installed, show the dog where the steps are located; instructions on how to do that come with the steps. PoolPup steps are also chemically resistant to chlorine and won't damage. They're easily pulled out for winter storage. It's recommend by the manufacturer that you do not change the location of the steps once they're installed because this could confuse your dog. They are more expensive than the Skamper Ramp, however, with the smaller steps priced about $150 and the larger size around $270 in 2010.
The Pet Step Folding Ramp
Unlike the previous products, the Pet Step folding ramp is multi purpose. In addition to helping dogs climb into vehicles or up stairs, it comes with pool legs for use in swimming pools, which also means that it's not designed for use with a vinyl liner. They do offer a Step Pad that to use to protect the liner from wear. The Pet Step ramp offers a rubberized non-slip finish and can hold up to 500 lbs. When folded up for storage or transport it's about 35 inches long and 5 inches thick, weighing about 18 lbs. It's one size fits all, and is priced around $250 to $270 in 2010.