As they get older, our furry companions become more prone to mobility issues. Injuries, accidents, and genetic disorders can also be the main culprits for your pooch having a hard time moving like he used to.
A dog lift harness is a simple but life-changing invention that can aid dogs who lack hind limb support and back strength. Whether it’s climbing the car, walking, or just moving around that’s the issue, a mobility harness can enable your furry friend to lead a normal and carefree life.
In the sea of different options, prices and quality, we’ve prepared a concise review of the best lift harnesses for dogs on the market right now.
What exactly is a dog lift harness?
A dog lift harness helps physically disabled dogs with mobility issues freely move. Unlike a wheelchair, a lift harness requires human strength to be effective, as the owner needs to physically lift/provide support for the dog’s hind legs.
It usually consists of a vest or several straps wrapped around the dog’s back and stomach, while the owner holds a relatively short leash/handle to provide stability, almost like a huge sling.
A mobility harness can also include support for the torso and front legs, in this case, the owner can put the leash around the shoulder, almost like a large handbag. This way, the dog’s weight is spread evenly and lifted away, minimizing pressure on the joints, hips and other problematic areas.
Depending on the needed support, we can distinguish a lift harness (wrapped around the dog’s belly area, providing full body support) from a rear-end harness or an amputee harness (usually for dogs with one amputated limb) that is designed specifically for the hind limbs and back support.
What to look for in a dog lift harness
What should one consider when getting a dog mobility harness? Here are some of the key feature to take into account before making the final purchase.
Comfort and material quality
The key features you’re looking for here are durability, strength and flexibility. Materials such as poly-nylon and sheepskin are strong but elastic enough to provide the needed support without being too bulky or heavy.
Look for the ergonomic design and padding in the vest that is fastened around the dog’s body. The edges shouldn’t be rough and harsh, comfortable enough for the pup to lie down and move freely. Don’t forget the handles, as you’ll be the one lifting all that weight, so make sure the handles are padded and covered with a softer material like fleece.
Another vital factor is hygiene and how practical it is for cleaning. The inner side of the vest should be made of breathable and washable materials, such as cotton, to avoid skin irritation, infections and chafing. If you’re an adventurous family and like outdoor activities, a waterproof dog sling is a must for maximum practicality and comfort.
Depending on your dog’s size, breed and physical disability, you’ll need to lift a certain amount of weight. The dog sling should be designed to distribute the dog’s weight evenly, providing you and your furry friend with maximum stability and balance in any applicable situation.
The right fit
A Great Dane and a Bichon Frise obviously can’t utilize the same harness. Before considering any criteria, make sure the sling’s size is a proper fit for your dog. Even then, the straps should be fully adjustable as upon the purchase, you still may need to make some additional customizing, or eventually, your dog’s body may change.
If the harness vest is too wide, you won’t be able to be in control of the dog, or your pooch might even slip out of the sling.
On the other hand, if the materials are tightly wrapped around the dog, it can cause skin irritation or disturb the blood supply to extremities.
Usually, the product specifications come with detailed instructions on the maximum weight capacity, as well as how to measure your dog’s girth, back and chest size for a proper fit. This will largely determine whether your dog will get used to the harness or eventually reject it.
Will you use the harness to lift the dog on the staircase, or just as additional support for walking? Is the dog partially mobile, or needs full body support? Depending on the canine’s physical impairment, you need to look into different harness types: front support, rear-end support, amputee harness, or full body support (lift) harness.
When does a dog need a lift harness?
Due to various reasons, our dogs may come to the point when they can no longer support their own weight or have difficulty moving. A lift harness not only enables your pup to move comfortably but also helps in maintaining a healthy weight, prevents further injury, and opens up the possibility for complete rehabilitation and improvement.
Common situations in which your dog might need the assistance of a lift harness:
A degenerative condition that causes severe cartilage wear, ultimately leading to direct bone-to-bone contact. Hip dysplasia may be related to genetic predispositions or can develop in later life stages.
Canine arthritis is widespread, causing severe pain and swelling due to the inflammation in progress. Medications can be used to successfully control the disease, but in general, your dog needs to learn how to live with the condition. A lift harness can help ease the pressure on joints and encourage movement.
Traumatic injury to bones or joints
From mild strains to broken bones, a lift harness can make your and your dog’s life easier during the recovery period. You can help with potty breaks, walking, battling stairs, and similar obstacles.
Short or long-term rehabilitation
Surgically treated ailments may require some time for recovery. Rehabilitation can last for months, and it often includes a mild physical activity for achieving results. A lifting harness is a great tool that can encourage a dog to walk, stand up, and find the strength to get better quickly.
As they age, our dogs slowly lose the strength and stamina for regular physical activity. They are also prone to joint stiffness, bone fragility, and the development of diseases like degenerative myelopathy or vestibular disease. These dogs are basically sentenced to a sedentary lifestyle. You can help your senior canine restore the needed energy by walking him in a lift harness. It will lift off the pressuring weight and help them achieve daily workout needs.
Obesity is a growing problem among pets. Being enclosed in small places, dogs quickly get used to snacking and lying around all day. The only cure to obesity is a proper diet and regular physical activity. The excess weight can be problematic for dogs, as it limits their movement and quickly tires them out.
Until she gets back in shape, you can utilize a lift harness to help your dog burn calories and effortlessly meet daily workout requirements. Ensure that the vest is wide and comfortable enough to support the excess weight and not cause discomfort and sores on the skin.
Can my dog go potty with the harness?
One of the dog sling’s many purposes is to enable effortless bathroom breaks for a disabled dog. A harness is usually tightly secured around the belly area, but it also wraps around the rear area for hind limb support.
Most harnesses are designed to allow your dog to use the bathroom without any distractions. That said, if this is an essential aspect of its use, make sure you don’t need to take it off each time the dog needs to pee.
How to measure your dog for a perfect fit
Depending on the design and shape, each lift harness fits differently. Manufacturers usually offer a measurement guide for customers to check their dog’s girth, chest width, and back length.
You should also check your dog’s torso circumference to ensure the harness is not too wide or too tightly strapped. Nevertheless, opting for a fully adjustable sling is always the safer idea, as you never know how the straps or the west will fit until your dog tries it on.
Review: Best dog lift harnesses for 2021
Take a look at our picks of the best dog lift harnesses available for 2020 to make those paws useful again in no time.
PetSafe Solvit CareLift Lifting Aid Harness for Dogs
For less than $50, you can get this fantastic Petsafe product for large and heavy dogs. It features a rear and front section that can be combined or separately, depending on your dog’s disability. This comfortable full-support harness comes with a leash extender to reduce strain on your back and distribute the dog’s weight evenly.
While it’s completely safe and durable, the design makes it barely noticeable on the dog.
Customers found the size chart extremely useful to find a perfect fit for their pets. Since it’s fully adjustable, this sling is widely applicable for various breeds and sizes.
The straps are padded to ensure maximum comfort but are unnoticeable enough not to bother the dog. It provides complete mobility, letting the dog go to bathroom breaks without any obstacles, hop easily on the car, or climb stairs.
It also features a protector panel for males, which can be removed for female dogs. On top of that, the harness is made from a breathable, fully washable mesh material.
- Back and/or front support
- Fully adjustable
- Sleek design
- High-quality materials
- Handle extender to reduce strain
GingerLead Dog Support Harnesses
For those whose dog suffers from hip dysplasia or hind limb problems, this is a fantastic harness to consider. Although initially designed for a Golden Retriever, this harness comes in an envious variety of sizes, shapes, and purposes, specifically designed for tiny to large breeds, as well as females or males only.
A noticeable feature of this harness is the main padded cushion, made of soft corduroy materials that perfectly adheres to the gentle stomach area. It attaches around the waist to provide maximum rear support, but it also comes with an integrated leash for better balance control.
Recommended and widely used by veterinarians, the GingerLead ergonomic sling is perfect for rehabilitation, low to mild-intensity physical activity, or just additional support for standing and walking.
For an even better fit, the sling features detachable stay-on straps, double-sided Velcro strips that keep the harness pad nicely attached when the handle is released. This is very convenient for providing your dog with more independence and unsupervised movement (for bathroom time, free walking, lying in the car, etc.).
- Extremely versatile (comes in various sizes and shapes)
- Additional leash for better support
- Comfortable, high-quality materials
- Rear support
- Great for senior dogs and rehabilitation
Veterinarian Approved Dog Lift Harness
For those on a tight budget, this modern, ergonomic dog lift harness is the optimal choice. It is sold in three sizes (S/M, L, XL) to fit small and large breeds. Its basic design makes it very user-friendly, comfortable, and versatile for various sizes. It consists of the main support pad that wraps around the dog’s body and durable handles that firmly attach the sling.
The harness equally distributes the dog’s weight as it gently supports the belly area, from back to front legs.
The simplicity of this unique product makes it easy to store, wash and pack when necessary. Compared to similar products, customers reviewed the Lepark dog sling as good quality, durable, and very user-friendly. Since it technically isn’t fastened to the dog, the pad can be conveniently pushed to the front to enable male dogs to go potty with no restraints—all in all, a great bargain for great features.
- Extremely affordable
- Easily stored away
- Comfortable materials
- 3 basic sizes
AMZpets Dog Lift Harness Support Sling
A fantastic harness, specially created for small and tiny dog breeds. It can withstand up to 15 pounds and is recommended for girth measurements of 15-18 inches. Another simple but sturdy invention you can fit in any closet, car trunk, or a medium-sized bag. It comes with adjustable straps to fit your dog’s height and comfortably sit on your shoulder or hand grip.
Although the set-up is pretty straightforward, the harness comes with step-by-step instructions for a perfect fit.
Customers reviewed this dog sling as very practical and easy to attach, but dogs generally find it challenging to go potty while wearing it. That said, by following a few simple steps, you can easily take it off and put back on in no time.
The design provides rear-leg support and improves hind leg mobility.
- Easily attached
- For smaller dogs
- Foldable and easily stored
- For rear-end support
RUFFWEAR – Web Master Dog Harness
Like to venture the outdoors with your furry friend? This harness can help your disabled dog improve mobility, try out hiking and conquer challenging terrain. It provides full body support as the straps are secured around the torso and the whole belly area.
While probably not the best pick for immobile and rehab-suitable dogs, this Ruffwear harness is an activity-boosting tool for amputees, senior dogs that enjoy walking, or any pup that needs some support to move properly.
It consists of padded straps and handles that are built for maneuvering, adjusting, and comfortable movement. The light-weight, washable materials lay naturally against the dog’s skin while providing maximum safety and no bruising or irritation. On top of the support pad, there is a reinforced loop to attach for handling smaller dogs or attaching the Beacon.
Make sure to get the right measurement of your dog to find the perfect size of this harness. Customers find the sling to be a good value for money, great for outdoor activities, and practical to attach.
- Suitable for full-body support
- For active, energetic dogs
- Fully adjustable
- Light-weight and storable
- Also usable for regular walking and hiking
Love Pets Love Dog Lift Support Harness
This is another vet-approved product that adheres to all the standards and expectations. Although it may seem too flimsy at first glance, this durable and practical harness can withstand more than 75 lbs. It provides rear support and is great for larger breeds with hind limb issues.
Durable materials ( poly and nylon) will withstand any pressure while maintaining balance and comfort for your hands. To provide maximum comfort, the support pad is made of soft fleece. If you struggle with packing space, this product is for you, as you won’t even notice it rolled in a convenient tube.
Lifting straps are also strong and comfortable enough for extended use.
Customers notice how easy it is put on and off the dog; you can slide it forward or keep it around the waist, depending on the support your dog needs. This also enables mess-free bathroom breaks.
- Easy to attach
- Fully adjustable
Suppose your goal is to help your pooch go through rehabilitation and get from complete immobility to acceptable walking. In that case, the vet-approved, specially designed products like the PetSafe Solvit CareLift Lifting Aid Harness are the safest choice.
On the other hand, if your furry companion just needs a boost to lose weight or improve activity, then opt for more versatile products like the RUFFWEAR – Web Master Dog Harness.
Whichever harness you find most appropriate from this list will definitely show as worth the investment.
In conclusion, it all depends on your personal preferences and needs. Make sure to carefully measure your dog before purchasing a product, consider all the essential features mentioned above, and try to see if it pays off in the long run.