Dog harnesses are a great way of providing support and comfort to your best friend, especially when he is no longer as agile or as nimble as he used to be.
While some owners choose to walk their dogs using harnesses for behavioural or safety reasons, there are many older or injured dogs who need them for the tangible mobility benefits.
Quite simply: a support harness is one of the best ways to ensure your dog continues to lead an active lifestyle. And particularly if he is recovering from an injury, or beginning to show signs of physical or neurological decline.
We’re going to take a look at the types of dog support harnesses, and our pick of the best harness options: for rear, front and full-body support.
- What Is A Dog Support Harness?
- What Are The Best Dog Harnesses?
- 1. HandicappedPets Dog Support Sling Harness
- 2. Labra Sling Lift Straps Support Harness
- 3. PetSafe CareLift Rear Support Lifting Aid Harness
- 4. Petslucent Portable Dog Lift Harness
- 5. Bolux Portable Dog Sling Rear Harness
- 6. PetSafe CareLift Full Body Support Harness
- 7. LOOBANI Portable Dog Support Harness
- 8. Love Pets Dog Lift Support Harness
- 9. GingerLead Dog Support Harnesses
- 10. Kokoie Full Body Dog Lifting Harness
- Types of Dog Support Harnesses
- Would My Dog Benefit From A Harness?
What Is A Dog Support Harness?
A dog support harness is a type of harness specifically designed to help dogs with mobility issues. These harnesses can provide extra stability and support for dogs who are struggling to walk or stand.
They are often used in conjunction with a wheelchair or walker, and can make life much easier for a dog who is having difficulty getting around.
Unfortunately our dogs can suffer from a number of mobility affecting issues as they get older, or if they suffer an injury.
The primary role of a dog harness is to help them maintain their independence and quality of life for as long as possible.
A dog that leads an active healthy lifestyle is normally a happy dog.
What Are The Best Dog Harnesses?
1. HandicappedPets Dog Support Sling Harness
Recommended: Best Overall Dog Harness
- The HandicappedPets Dog Support Sling Harness is a mobility aid that lets you take some weight off your dog. This, in turn, reduces the stress placed on your dog’s joints without having to carry your dog’s entire weight in your arms.
- This product is simple to use, as you just need to unroll the sling and place it around your dog’s stomach. The Velcro fastening mechanism ensures that it remains in place even on the most boisterous dog.
- The sling can help support your dog’s weight enabling you to pick your dog up completely without straining yourself.
- The HandicappedPets Dog support sling is made from denim, so you can be sure it wouldn’t fold or ruffle. Thanks to the added padding and inner fleece lining, it is also comfortable.
- You can choose between 4 sizes: Medium, Medium/Large, Large, and X-Large. For our money, this is one the best overall dog harnesses on this list as it provides excellent support and long lasting comfort.
2. Labra Sling Lift Straps Support Harness
Recommended: Best Harness For Wider Dogs
- The Labra Sling is a veterinarian-approved dog lift sling. Compared to other dog harnesses on this list, the Labra sling is a lot wider. This design helps to spread the pressure across a wider area. The wraparound style ensures you don’t have to thread your dog’s legs through any holes. This unique design makes the Labra sling easy to put on.
- While it can be easy to use, we noticed some issues removing it from the position. This is because the dog harness tended to bunch up towards the dog’s hind legs. Most slings with this design are used to help a dog use the bathroom, but the bunching up sort of defeats the purpose. If you don’t clear the sling out, it could quickly get soaked in pee.
- One thing to love about this dog harness is its cost. It is relatively inexpensive; however, there might be other slings that don’t have this bunching up issue. Nevertheless, the Labra sling gets our applause for its easy-to-use design and wide dog support.
3. PetSafe CareLift Rear Support Lifting Aid Harness
Recommended: Best Harness For All Day Wear
- This dog harness from PetSafe comes with a unique design that seems to set it apart from the competition, appearance-wise, that is. One thing to note with this dog harness is that it is heavier than other harnesses on this list. You can use this harness all day on dogs that are already unable to move much on their own.
- Placing this harness on a dog with some form of mobility isn’t a wise choice as it falls off quite easily if you aren’t holding the handle up. It doesn’t have as much padding as you would think; however, it does a great job of spreading the pressure across a large area.
- Overall, it isn’t a bad dog pull harness, it simply needs more padding, and the manufacturer can improve the design to ensure it stays on to the dog without assistance.
If you like the PetSafe brand, you can also consider the PetSafe Easy Walk harness. It is a no pull dog harness good for leash training, provides your dog with a comfortable fit, and won’t gag or choke your dog.
While it doesn’t do much in the way of mobility, it is another useful harness choice that will safeguard your dog.
The PetSafe Easy Walk harness is used to safely control light to moderate pulling by resting across your dogs chest rather than his throat and neck. It fits smaller dogs as well as large dogs. It is certainly one of the best harnesses for pet safety on walks.
4. Petslucent Portable Dog Lift Harness
Recommended: Very Popular Harness for Larger Dogs
- The Petslucent portable dog sling for medium-sized dogs is a simple dog harness option that wraps around your dog with two handles for you to hold onto. It has a weight range of 20 to 150 pounds, so dogs that weigh more or less than that range will require a different dog harness.
- This dog harness is a great choice for large dogs as its 20% wider design helps spread out the pressure across your dog’s underbelly.
- One of the features of this dog harness’s design is its length. It is long enough to lift your dog without bending, reducing back strain. Petslucent claims you can get up to 6 feet of length. While it is a useful harness, it’s unlikely this extra length will be a priority for most dog owners.
- You can fold it down compactly, ensuring easy storage.
5. Bolux Portable Dog Sling Rear Harness
Recommended: Excellent Harness for Injured Dogs
- This dog harness sling from Bolux is perfect for large breeds such as the Rottweiler, Pitbull, American bulldog, golden retriever, Labradoodles, and German shepherd.
- This dog support harness has been specifically designed for dogs with orthopedic injuries, hip dysplasia, poor stability, arthritis, or disability. It can help your dog walk, get into cars and boost ACL rehabilitation.
- The harness has a soft sheepskin lining that helps prevent soreness and friction and ensures older, and weak dogs get the ultimate care they need.
- The dog harness sling strap can be adjusted to your preference, ensuring you can gently lift your dog with no issues. It also comes with a gift bag, where you can store the sling for use later.
6. PetSafe CareLift Full Body Support Harness
Recommended: Best Full Body Dog Harness
- This dog harness from PetSafe offer full-body support to your dog, be it recovering from surgery or disabled. With this dog harness, you get support handles to seamlessly lift your dog. You can also use the lifting leash extender to reduce back strain when you help your dog.
- You can seamlessly adjust the harness to get the best fit for your and your dog’s needs; you can use the size chart to get the most accurate fit.
- This full-body dog harness comes with additional padding to support your dog and reduce lifting strain. You also get a removable protection shield that minimizes discomfort for your male dog when helping him get around.
- The full-body harness enables you to help your dog get in and out of a vehicle, take potty breaks or go for a walk.
- This dog harness is made from breathable mesh material, which is also machine washable.
7. LOOBANI Portable Dog Support Harness
Recommended: Convenient Harness For Most Dog Breeds
- The LOOBANI dog sling support harness comes in three sizes to select from, making it easy to select the right one for your dog. We noticed that the three sizes covered dogs weighing as little as 4 pounds to about 100 pounds.
- While LOOOBANI claims its largest size (large) can handle 200 pounds, we noticed this to be a bit of an exaggeration. It’s probably not a good idea to stress-test that claim!
- This dog harness isn’t as wide as others on this list, so if you want something that provides comfort, you want to go with the widest dog harness available. The wider the harness, the more it will spread the pressure over a bigger area.
- This harness can cause premature urination since it puts so much pressure on the bladder when you lift your dog.
8. Love Pets Dog Lift Support Harness
Recommended: Excellent Budget Dog Harness
- The Love Pets Love vet-approved dog lift support harness is affordable. It is actually one of the cheapest dog harness options on this list, making it a popular option for those looking to save money.
- Unfortunately, you only get two sizes (large and x large) to select from. On the one hand, you can get the right fit for your dog; on the other, if your dog is smaller, you might need to look elsewhere for a dog harness.
- It comes in a small package with buttons to enable easy transport or storage. You’ll definitely appreciate this great feature if you travel with your dog, especially since it doesn’t affect how this dog harness is used.
- Wrapping the harness around a dog is easy to do; however, we did become aware of why it was so cheap. It doesn’t come with as much padding as other dog harnesses on this list. This lack of padding means if you are worried about your dog’s comfort, you might want to look elsewhere.
- Furthermore, when using this harness, some owners have discovered that it never really stayed in one place. It kept sliding around. It also doesn’t come with straps to make it stay in place. We also noticed that it repeatedly bunched up near the hind legs making this the wrong choice for helping your dog take potty breaks.
9. GingerLead Dog Support Harnesses
Recommended: Excellent Quality Dog Harness – Built To Last
- As a premium dog harness, you can expect to pay a bit more for the GingerLead dog harness; however, it is definitely worth it. With this dog harness, you can expect extremely specific sizing to get the right fit for your dog. It is one of the dog harnesses that come in both male and female designs. While this makes sizing difficult, it ensures you can get the most comfortable option for your dog.
- The GingerLead dog harness has an integrated leash to provide control and comfort. However, you can switch out the leash for a chest harness if that suits your preference.
- The GingerLead dog harness is quite easy to use, and it only takes a few seconds to place it comfortably around your pup. It is comfortable and thick, so you never have to worry about causing any pain. The dog harness has extra padding, especially on the pressure point, to ensure your dog is comfortable at all times.
- Despite its exact sizing, it is a premium choice for a dog harness thanks to its quality materials, and that is why it makes our list.
10. Kokoie Full Body Dog Lifting Harness
Recommended: Cheap But Comfortable Dog Harness
- The Kokoie dog lift harness is a full body vest harness that supports your dog’s limbs for a reasonable price. There are five sizes and two colors to select from, making this a great dog harness for those that want a bit of variety.
- The design of this dog lifting harness is a simple one as it wraps around your dog and is secured using durable plastic buckles. There are two handles for you to choose from when supporting your dog. This means you can use the shorter handle to lift your dog into and out of the car, while you can use the long handle during walks to take some weight off your dog’s limbs.
- This dog harness is made from soft material that feels comfortable and nice to your dog. This ensures you never have to be concerned about harming them. The design of this dog harness ensures that the pressure is dispersed across a wide area when you lift your dog.
- The Kokoie Full-body dog harness is extremely easy to use and affordable as well. The breathable air-cushioned air mesh ensures you can put this dog harness on your dog all day without experiencing any discomfort.
- Thanks to the adjustable lift strap, you can use this harness to move your dog up and down the stairs.
Types of Dog Support Harnesses
There are generally three types of harnesses available, and each is designed to treat a unique list of ailments.
The Front Harness
A front harness is the most common type of dog support harness. It is designed to help dogs who are having difficulty walking or standing.
The design of a front harness places all the weight of the dog on their chest and shoulders, which takes the pressure off their hind legs. This makes it much easier for them to walk and stand.
A popular version of this mobility aid is the Original Front End Harness by Walkabout:
This particular model has been recommended by vets and rehab specialists for over 30 years. It treats a variety of mobility-related issues, including arthritis, elbow dysplasia, DM and IVDD – as well as providing much needed support for older dogs who fatigue more easily.
The Rear Harness
A rear harness is specifically designed to help dogs with hind leg issues, including weakness and paralysis. The design of this harness spreads the weight of the dog evenly across their back, which helps with stability and movement.
Unfortunately there are several dog mobility conditions that start with hind leg weakness, including degenerative myelopathy or IVDD. A rear harness can provide much-needed stability before a wheelchair is required.
One of the most popular rear support options is the Balto Up range (along with their full Balto Body Lift), which provides two rigid splints that provide an excellent level of support for your canine friend.
This harness is particularly useful if you want to encourage your dog to continue walking up and down stairs. It has height adjustable handles and a useful design that allows the dog to catch a bathroom break without messing up the harness.
Always a positive when it comes to cleaning!
The Full Body Support Harness
A full harness is a type of harness that supports the entire body of the dog. It is designed for dogs who are suffering from mobility issues that affect both rear and front legs.
This could be as a result of injury, old age or a variety of degenerative mobility issues.
A full body harness helps to keep the dog upright, compressing and straightening out the spine, and prevents them from falling over.
It is also great for dogs with balance issues, those suffering from progressive DM, or pups that are recovering from a back or leg related injury.
Several companies have viable full body support harnesses available, but the most popular is provided by Walkin’ Pets – a well known name in there dog mobility space:
As you can see, the harness fits snugly to provide support over both sets of legs. It is fully adjustable with sizes available for most breeds, and it’s also compatible with the majority of dog wheelchairs (including those made by Walkin’ Pets).
Would My Dog Benefit From A Harness?
If your dog is having difficulty with mobility, whether it be due to old age, an injury or a degenerative condition, then there is a good chance that they would benefit from using a support harness.
Does your dog appear comfortable while she is walking?
If your dog is having difficulty walking, it’s likely that she will not be very comfortable. This is because dogs rely on their movement to generate feelings of pleasure and wellbeing. If they are struggling to move around, they will not feel as good as they would otherwise.
Many owners will have forged a bond of many years with their beloved pet. You’ll be the first to notice changes in how your dog responds to the prospect of walkies – and whether he/she is moving with difficulty.
If you think that your dog appears less comfortable than usual, speak to a veterinarian.
Does your dog exhibit signs of fatigue after a short amount of time?
If your dog tires easily, then a support harness can help to take some of the pressure off those tired muscles and limbs. This will allow them to walk for longer periods without feeling exhausted.
Is your dog reluctant to walk or stand?
Dogs who are reluctant to walk or stand may do so because it is painful or difficult for them. A support harness can help alleviate this pain and make standing and walking much more manageable.
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then your dog would likely benefit from using a support harness. Speak to your vet or a specialist rehabilitation center about the best type of harness for your canine friend.