Do you use a support harness for your paralyzed dog? They are a lifesaver and the #1 medical device I recommend to owners of disabled pets. I found an easy DIY grocery bag dog support harness/sling that you can make in less than 5 minutes. All you need is a cloth grocery bag (or tote bag) and a pair of scissors.
Why a support harness is important
A rear lifting support harness is a necessity for dogs with hind end weakness, paralysis, arthritis, hip dysplasia, spinal injuries and Degenerative myelopathy. Dogs with these problems need help from their owners to walk up and down stairs, get up from the floor and walk outside. Without a harness, owners have to lift their dog all day long. This takes a toll on your back.
A support sling fits around your dog’s lower belly and allows you to safely and comfortably lift them while you stand upright. It also gives your dog a sense of normalcy because they walk alongside you.
How to make this easy DIY grocery bag dog support harness
I love this sling because you make it from a regular cloth grocery bag or tote bag that you probably have in your closet or pantry. And it only takes a couple of minutes to put together. All you need is the bag and a pair of scissors. The harness wraps comfortably around your dog’s belly. Plus it will save your back from constant lifting.
Typically, I do not recommend many DIY products for disabled pets. My hesitation is because I do not want to cause harm to a dog, especially one that already has spine and mobility problems. Professionally made harnesses for handicapped pets contour to a dog’s anatomy. They do not put undue pressure on your dog’s spine, belly and bladder.
That said, this DIY harness was developed by canine rehab specialists so I feel comfortable sharing it. The harness/sling is intended to be used for short-term durations.
Hold the bag upright so you see the front, back panels and the two side panels.
With your scissors, cut out the two side panels. Cut down one side of the first panel, across the bottom and back up the panel. Repeat on the second side panel. You will have two rectangles when you are done.
Throw away the two rectangular side panels.
You’ll be left with one continuous piece of sling material with handles on either side.
Slide the sling under your dog’s lower belly. Support your dog as they stand or move around with the handles. Be sure your grocery bag is strong enough to hold the weight of your dog before moving them.
The harness can be folded in half, lengthwise, to make it narrower for small dogs.
Keep the harness clean with routine washing or replace it regularly with a new DIY grocery bag support harness.
Where you can find permanent dog support harnesses
The 5 basic styles of dog support harnesses:
- Rear end or hind end lifting harnesses – These devices are great for dogs with paralysis or hind end weakness. The harness fits under a dog’s belly and through their back legs so they can be comfortably moved while you are gently lifting them. It prevents their legs from dragging on the ground.
- Support slings – These fit around a dog’s mid-section and support a dog who needs some assistance with walking. They are great for climbing stairs and getting into a car. Dogs with arthritis and those recovering from back surgery are good candidates.
- Full body harness – This product supports the front and back end of a dog. It is a good device for lifting dogs with end stage paralysis.
- Amputee harness – This type of harness is made to support dogs who have lost a limb. It supports the torso.
- Back brace – This isn’t a harness, but a brace that gives support to dogs with Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD).
I am not being compensated for this post, but affiliate links are included where a small fee is shared at no expense to you. I only share links to products I have personally used or trust.