How to Build a Staircase for a Dog to Get on the Bed

Toy breeds often can't jump from the floor to the bed without help.

Toy breeds often can't jump from the floor to the bed without help.

Nothing says love like cuddling your favorite pup in your bed. Yet small dogs often have trouble making the leap to the mattress. Older dogs also can find the jump difficult. To help your pooch, try building dog stairs to help your dog climb up in comfort and style.

Construct the Stairs

Measure the length from the floor to the top of your footboard. This will be the height of your stairs.

Measure how long your dog's legs are, and how high she can comfortably reach to get to a step. A good rule of thumb is to make stair height no taller than her leg length plus 2 inches. Measure her width and overall body size.

Stack your foam boards until they reach your measured stair height.

Mark the width of your dog on the stacked boards. Add inches to make the stairs a comfortable width for her to have room to climb and turn around.

Cut the stacked boards all the way through to make the staircase the desired width.

Measure at least 12 inches deep from the edge of the stacked boards. Mark with a pencil. This will be your first step. Make sure the step is deep enough to accommodate your dog's size, without causing him to stretch.

Use the measurement of your dog's legs and reach to determine how high to make your steps. Make the step height evenly divisible into your overall height to create a uniform set of stairs.

Mark the height of your first stair, and cut along the 12-inch mark until you have cut the full height of the stair. Remove excess foam board from step.

Continue the process of measuring a 12-inch depth for the stair, then cutting away the right height for each step. Repeat until you reach the bottom of your stack of boards.

Glue cut boards together with adhesive. Apply liberally and wait at least eight hours to dry.

Sew a Slipcover

Measure all dimensions of your stairs, excluding the base: height, depth, width and stair height and depth.

Measure and mark fabric panels to match each side of your set of stairs, including each surface of the steps. Do not create fabric for the base of the steps, as this will be the way to slip the cover over the steps. Leave a 1- to 2-inch border around measurements to sew pieces together.

Cut fabric panels and stitch together to create a slipcover for the steps.

Cover stairs with fabric and adhere nonslip furniture pads to the base of the stairs.

Items you will need

  • Measuring tape
  • Foam-core wall insulation boards
  • Pencil
  • Strong furniture adhesive
  • Large serrated knife or small saw
  • Fabric
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread
  • Nonslip furniture grip pads


  • Choose a fabric that is soft, durable and washable.
  • Use Velcro to attach stairs to bed frame, if desired.
  • Use these lightweight stairs outside of the home for helping pets into vehicles or travel crates.


  • Only use foam for stairs designed for small dogs. Foam will not support the weight of large dogs.
  • Test that the stairs are secure before allowing your pet to use.

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About the Author

Chloe Newkirk is a writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has been a freelance writer for over five years, and written for a variety of publications. She is a graduate of St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas. Her areas of expertise include crafts, pop culture, the arts, pets, American history and food.

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