(Check out the finished stairs here: DIY Pet Stairs – Paint, Carpet, and Completion!)
We’re still knee deep in our master bedroom remodel and with the recent purchase of a king size bed, we found by fixing one problem (the need for more sleeping space for us and our dogs), we created another. Specifically that our old dog stairs (Pet Gear Easy Step III Pet Stairs, 3-step/for cats and dogs up to 150-pounds) were now too short. That and they were ugly plastic stairs and they just would have looked terrible in our newly redecorated room.
Additionally with our big dog in the final stages of bladder cancer, we are no longer able to let him up on our bed. Our 2K investment would be ruined in one visit from him, so we decided to replace the one-size-fits-all dogs stairs we had which were too small for the big dog and too bid for the small dogs, with stairs specifically sized for our two little dogs.
We originally considered the Petstairz 6 Step High Density Foam Pet Step and Pet Stair with Beige Removable and Washable High Curly Pile Shearling Cover for Pets up to 50 Lbs but realized our very neurotic Pomeranian would balk at stairs made from something with so much give. It would cost us $149 and we’d have no assurances she’d use it and it’d have to be on the side of the bed and not at the end which is where we have the extra room and which wouldn’t cause a trip hazard.
DIY Pet Stairs
After checking out all the commercially pet steps available, the hubby decided to go all DIY and make them a custom set of stairs. I’m sure if you search you can find some free online plans, but be sure you take into account your own pup’s size and shape and change them as necessary. Also note the height and width you have to work with in the location you’ll be using them in. There are also books available for pet DIY projects including Black & Decker’s 24 Weekend Projects for Pets: Dog Houses, Cat Trees, Rabbit Hutches & More if you’re not ready just to throw something together.
The hubby just pulled out some scrap lumber – 2×4′s and trim leftover from the remodeling and came up with what he thought were deep enough and short enough stairs for our 5 pound Maltese and 10 pound Pomeranian. These stairs mimic their shorter gait and their longer bodies.
The steps are nailed together and yesterday we tried them out. The girls adjusted well and if I’d been consulted on the design, which I was not, I would have made the top stair twice the length. I can see one of the girls sitting at the top blocking the other from getting up and/or down – that’s what our dogs do. Plus should they take a running start, which was necessary for them to get up our old stairs, there’s some slop at the top for them to stop within without falling off the end.
The stairs need the nail holes filled and then we’ll be painting them with the Behr paint and primer we used on the walls (we weren’t able to find a perfect paint match for the bed paint so we’re going with the gray from the walls). The hubby used trim to finish the stairs to make them more finished looking, but also for practical reasons. It gives the pup’s claws something to catch on and it’ll help hold the carpet in place (we’ll likely use Velcro to attach them for easy removal). We’ll be carpeting them with some leftover Flor carpet tiles from another project because they’re easy to cut and they can be removed, washed, dried, and then replaced.
These homemade DIY dog stairs are phenomenally better than the ugly plastic version we had before and they fit perfectly because they were designed for the space. I just hope that once they’re in place we can convince the big dog that it doesn’t mean he can get up on the bed. After 12 years of it being his spot, it’s hard to tell him he’s no longer welcome.
So how does the cost compare to purchased stairs? The closest comparison is a value line product that retails for $72 with the manufacturer noting that they have low-quality carpet on them so the screws show. Stairs closer in size and quality to ours run $168. I think I’ll stick with the homemade version for now.
Need an easier DIY design? Use this as an inspiration for a simple boxed set of pet stairs.