5 Signs Your Dog Needs a Lifting Harness

It’s not always easy to spot the signs of a change in your dog’s mobility. Many signs of loss of mobility appear very slowly and may even seem like a normal part of aging. Whether your dog has trouble getting up after a nap, is less active than before, or has trouble climbing stairs, this may indicate that your dog needs a lifting harness (and for your help) to get around.

Let’s review some of the common signs that your dog needs the support of a lifting harness.

1. Slow to rise

Walkin' Pets Rear Support Leash for Dogs with Weak Hind Legs

Often the first sign that a dog needs a helping hand is when an older dog tries to get up after a long nap. Older dogs may be slow to get up or have difficulty getting up without assistance. It takes a lot of leg strength to get off the ground. Getting up can be a real challenge for dogs whose legs are starting to weaken or for those who are experiencing joint pain.

How a lifting harness can help you:

A simple rear support leash can easily slide over your dog’s back legs while he is still lying down. Place a loop on each of the dog’s back legs and slide them upward until they reach the top of your dog’s paw and gently lift it. The harness will allow your dog to get up on all four legs.

2. Difficulty climbing stairs

Sign of loss of canine mobility: reluctance to use stairs

The way your dog climbs stairs may indicate a change in his mobility. Signs that your dog might need help on the stairs include:

  • Discomfort on stairs – may appear uncertain or avoid using stairs
  • Excessive panting or signs of exhaustion when dog climbs stairs
  • Loss of balance or instability
  • Inability to control descent – ​​moving too fast or unable to stop

Your dog may also give other signals. If a dog doesn’t feel safe using the stairs, he may be hesitant to go up or even refuse to use them altogether. This reluctance is usually because they don’t feel confident climbing stairs safely.

Going down the stairs can be just as difficult. Many older dogs speed up as they go downhill, almost as if they are losing control. This can be incredibly dangerous and your dog may not have the leg strength to slow down.

How a lifting harness can help you:

Using a support harness will allow you to control your dog on stairs. A lifting harness will feature handles that can be used to lift and stabilize your dog up and down stairs. This is useful for helping your dog go up and down stairs. Look for a harness that supports your dog’s front and back legs for the optimal level of control on stairs.

3. Late for the daily walk

If you notice your dog slowing down or getting tired on longer walks, this could be an early sign that his legs are starting to weaken. As dogs age, changes in mobility are quite common and we always recommend discussing any concerns with your veterinarian. If your dog doesn’t seem to want to go for walks or seems to tire easily, it may be time to schedule a trip to the veterinarian. Ignoring these signs could lead to more serious health problems in the future.

How a lifting harness can help you:

Supporting your dog’s back legs during a walk greatly reduces the strain and weight placed on painful joints. A back support harness may be helpful in the early stages of mobility loss. It can also serve as post-exercise support for dogs whose legs are shaky or weak after a long walk. For dogs who need a little more support or independence, a rear wheelchair may be the best option for longer walks and staying active.

4. Occasional loss of balance

Labrador in a rear harness to support weak rear legs

It can be difficult for pet owners to identify when their dog’s paws are weakening, because not all signs of weakness occur regularly. Some dogs may experience occasional rear swaying, stumbling, or periodically losing balance.

Look for these signs and consult your veterinarian as this may indicate that your dog needs occasional help.

How a lifting harness can help you:

Using a rear harness and gently lifting your dog’s rear can give him the extra support he needs to get up and walk without fear of falling. This is ideal for quick trips outside, as some dogs lose their balance while going potty.

5. Healing from injury or after surgery

When dogs have leg injuries, they often tend to favor the injured leg, causing extra weight and pressure on the healthy limb. This can cause problems for the dog’s overall health because it puts unnecessary strain on the unaffected limb.

How a lifting harness can help you:

When a dog is injured, using a harness for support can help him stand comfortably and distribute his weight evenly. This prevents them from putting too much pressure on their unaffected limb and causing further injury. However, it is essential to consult a veterinarian before using a harness to ensure that it will not interfere with your dog’s healing process or cause any harm. Only use a harness on their recommendation and after allowing your dog to use it.


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