Dog Mobility Support: What a Lift Harness Is and How to Choose One

Dog Mobility Support: What a Lift Harness Is and How to Choose One

Lift harness comes to help with pet mobility loss. See what it is and how to choose one.

Dogs' health and strength diminish with age, just like people. Senior folks and senior pets both have movement issues and may require additional assistance to get up and about. However, just because senior dogs' mobility reduces over time does not imply that their quality of life just as well. If you find your dog slowing down as they become older, you'll want to do everything you can to make their life simpler and more pleasant.

The silver lining to these situations is that there are things that can assist.

Lift or mobility harnesses are what they're called, and we'll go over all you need to know about them below.

How to Spot the Early Signs of Pet Mobility Loss

Most dogs are thought to reach old age around the age of 6-7 years. Noticing indicators of mobility loss around this time and understanding the underlying causes are the first steps toward resolving the issues that senior dogs encounter. Before you can decide what steps to take, you need to know what specific mobility concerns your dog has.

Mobility issues in dogs can manifest themselves in a variety of ways. In many circumstances, a dog with mobility challenges may also suffer discomfort while attempting to move, causing them to utter vocalizations that are unusual for them or to be reluctant to rise or exercise. In rare cases, dogs may have trouble moving without discomforts, such as when they are paralyzed due to neurological problems or spinal injuries.

Here are some signals to look for : 
  • Pain
  • Recumbency
  • A lack of enthusiasm in physical activity or exercise
  • Showing trouble jumping and climbing 
  • Inability to move
  • Struggling to sit and stand
  • Slipping when getting up or walking around
  • Shifting weight on to front or back legs
  • Favoring a limb

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Ways to Help Your Dog Stand and Move

Treatment for mobility issues will be determined by the underlying ailment causing the difficulties in moving. Some of these problems, such as malignant tumors, dysplasia, and severe arthritis, may necessitate surgery. In some circumstances, surgery is ineffective, and alternative treatments will be attempted to assist the patient's mobility. Veterinarians and pet experts recommend that dog owners use a combination of methods for the most significant outcomes. There are a surprising amount of basic cures and adjustments that can assist with symptoms of diminished mobility in senior dogs in general.

Different in-home tools can be used to help your pet adapt to his situation like ; 

  • Slings and harnesses
  • Rear support leash
  • Cart
  • What is a Lift Harness?

Before purchasing a lifting harness for a paralyzed or injured pet, you should understand how harnesses are used, how a harness may benefit your pet (and you), and where your dog requires assistance.

A lift harness is simply a sling with a long handle that wraps around your dog's torso. After wrapping it around your dog, gently pull up on the handle to relieve some of the weight on your dog's legs, hips, or spine. Dog lift harnesses allow you to support your mobility-impaired dog and assist him in getting around without the need for a full-fledged wheelchair although, a lifting harness may be used in combination with your dog's wheelchair and is useful in a variety of scenarios including : 

Lifting the Dog Into and Out of the Car

Senior dogs with mobility impairments may struggle to get in and out of the vehicle. A harness allows you to safely hoist your dog into the car without hurting your back or worrying about your dog dropping. You may securely help your dog in and out of the vehicle by offering lifting assistance. Without the use of a harness, a botched jump out of the automobile might result in significant damage to your pet.

Making It Easier for Your Dog to Move Around Inside

A harness can assist you in maneuvering your paralyzed pet through confined places indoors. Especially if you live in an apartment or house with short hallways and entrances that your dog cannot easily navigate while in a wheelchair.

Taking your semi-mobile dog for a stroll

Dogs with minimal restrictions may still enjoy (and benefit from) taking brief walks. Such dogs' owners will most likely prefer to utilize a regular harness with a handle on the rear (such as the Peak Pooch Harness, detailed below). This manner, you can give your dog a little more assistance while still being able to walk comfortably yourself.

Using a Lift Harness

Lift harnesses are fundamental devices that are easy to use.

In most situations, you'll need to grab the strap or handle and gently lift up to relieve pressure on your dog's hips, shoulders, legs, and feet.

However, you will need to adjust the precise strategy utilized to the scenario you are in.

Why Paralyzed Pets Need a Lift Harness

Dogs may require the added support that a lift harness provides for a variety of reasons, including extra support during rehabilitation.

Canine rehabilitation benefits the majority of dogs that have movement difficulties or limb weakness. Rehab activities enable individuals to concentrate on regaining strength, maintaining muscular mass, and increasing stamina. Because so many pets in rehab are recuperating from surgery, an accident, or attempting to remain mobility, they frequently require assistance standing and walking as they work with their rehab therapist.

The following are some of the most prevalent illnesses and disorders that need their use:

Spinal Disorders

Some of the most common reasons veterinarians prescribe lift harnesses are spinal disorders such as infarctions or intervertebral disc degeneration. These and related conditions can not only make it difficult for your dog to move around, but they can also result in partial or full paralysis of the back legs.

Injuries Caused by Trauma

A dog's strength and stability can be compromised by a variety of traumatic events, ranging from sprained knees and shattered bones to ACL ruptures. Many dogs with mobility issues will benefit from different forms of supporting lift harnesses. The optimal harness type for your dog will, of course, depend on her injuries.

Old Age: Dogs who reach senior years frequently suffer from diminished movement and may require the assistance that a lift harness provides. Of course, older dogs are more prone to suffer from one of the disorders listed above.

Arthritis is one of the most prevalent mobility difficulties that dogs of all breeds suffer. It is a degenerative joint condition that produces pain and inflammation. It is frequently caused by a lack of joint lubrication, which gradually wears down cartilage. This can cause bone friction and severe discomfort over time.

Muscle atrophy is a fancy way of stating muscle mass decrease. It is frequently associated with the beginning of sickness or less activity in a dog's older years. It is more common in the back legs than the front legs. Dogs have increasing difficulty sustaining themselves when their muscles deteriorate.


Lift Harnesses: Pros and Cons 

When deciding on a harness, it is essential to get the right fit for your dog to avoid more injury. Some are built for tiny dogs, some for larger dogs, and some are just not designed effectively at all. When choosing a harness, keep these critical must-have criteria in mind. 

Materials That Are Comfortable

A sling may be fashioned from almost any suitable strong and flexible fabric, but the best ones are produced from higher grades of cotton or other materials that will not hurt your dog's skin. It's also a good idea to seek choices with extra padding, and don't forget about the handles - you don't want to get blisters or hand cramps while using the harness.

Design for Ergonomics

You want a lift harness that supports your dog's body without putting unnecessary strain on her joints or muscles. The handle design is also vital because you'll need to apply a lot of force to support large or heavy dogs.

The right size 

To guarantee that the sling firmly supports your dog and does not aggravate her ailments, you must acquire the appropriate size lift harness.

Before making your purchase, be sure to examine the manufacturer's size instructions and collect accurate measures for your dog (whether the manufacturer bases the sizing on linear measurements or bodyweight).

Adaptability to Progressive and Degenerative Diseases

Many movement problems in dogs are degenerative in origin. As the sickness spreads from their back legs to their front legs, they require a support system that evolves with them. The Front Combo Harness clips may be swapped out with Full Support wheelchair suitable clips.

A dog lift harness can assist your dog in standing and walking with your assistance. A dog support harness keeps your companion active and mobile for more extended periods, which keeps your dog healthy.

 This list offers in-depth pros and cons of multiple harnesses 

Harnesses for Front Legs Support

A front lifting harness helps you to support and balance a pet that has weakness in their front limbs. In most situations, a dog with front leg mobility loss can still stand and take a few steps, but after a few minutes, they will sink, wobble, or lose their balance. A front support harness lifts and supports a dog's front legs by attaching to the dog's chest and tummy. The majority of front harnesses include a handle across the top that may be used to raise your dog as you walk beside them.

Harnesses for Rear Legs Support

A rear support leash is the most basic, least expensive, and easiest lifting harness to use. The leash has two loops and glides up the back legs to offer a slight lift in the rear. This type of rear-raising harness may be worn by a dog when they are laying down and used to assist them in standing up. A rear support leash is great for dogs who are experiencing temporary mobility limitations or who need to relieve strain on their leg while it recovers.

Harnesses for Occasional Lifting

Sling-style supports are appropriate for dogs that can still support their weight but are unstable on their feet. Veterinarians frequently recommend sling supports for usage during rehabilitation because they provide more control than a bath towel. A support sling provides gentle mid-body support for dogs, often looping around a dog's midsection and lifting them from below. This is the ideal harness for dogs recovering from surgery or injury. Healing wounds on the knee and hip are shielded from rubbing, or direct contact from the support system since the sling avoids both the rear and front legs.


How to Measure for the Best Dog Lift Harness

Just like food portion measurements, each harness will have its own measuring technique, most commonly using weight. When shopping for a harness, make sure to have your dog's weight, height and type of support needed on hand. 

There are a many measuring chart examples. Plus, watch this short video with tips on how to properly put one on your dog online.

Popular questions about dog harnesses

Can my dog go potty while wearing a lift harness?

A good dog support harness is ideal for swiftly bringing your dog outdoors when they need to relieve themselves. The harness is made to fit your dog's anatomy and allow him to discharge himself cleanly. Your dog can securely squat with your assistance, keeping their balance and allowing them to pee and defecate freely.

How do I clean a lift harness?

Always read the washing instructions that come with the harness you purchased. 

Most fabric harnesses will be machine or hand cleaned, with recommended air drying. Dryers have a tendency to dry out neoprene and other fabrics over time. We do not advocate using bleach or other strong detergents, but gentle soaps work OK.

Urine odor might be an issue, so attempt to clean on a regular basis. A 1:3 mixture of white vinegar and water works nicely to mask the odor. There are other commercial cleansers that can assist to reduce odor. Request suggestions from your favorite pet store.

Best Dog Mobility Harnesses

Our top picks for the best mobility harnesses are :

On their website, Help 'Em Up provides detailed instructions on how to measure your dog in order to select the correct size harness (you can mix and match different sized hip lifts or order separately). 

The harnesses comes with instructions and illustrations on how to correctly modify and fit the harness right out of the box. They also offer a number of resources on their website that include the same information. If your dog requires further assistance, the firm provides additional leads that may be attached to these harnesses to assist in lifting your dog.

The Help 'Em Up harness are simple to use.Just slip it over your dogs head, wrap the straps around his chest, and clip them into the harness.

This harness provides the assistance your dog requires to get back on his paws. This harness offers full-body support for geriatric or disabled canines, as well as companions recovering from surgery. The support handles and shoulder strap assist you in lifting your dog without placing pressure on his joints or hurting your back. The smart design is cushioned for your pal's comfort and allows both male and females to take a potty break conveniently. The harness is also completely adjustable and machine washable, making cleanup a breeze. It's a convenient method to lend a helping hand to your dog when he needs it the most!

senior dog
Have you ever required a dog lift harness? Did it make things simpler for you?  We'd love to hear about your experiences, and please share any excellent lift harnesses that we may have overlooked on our Facebook page.