In a previous blog post we shared with readers tips about how a towel can be used for sling walking a dog. The technique is called “towel walking” and it is a gentle way to give support to lift and move a dog with a mobility problem, an injury or a dog recovering from surgery.
We had such a great response to the first article that I decided to revisit the subject and give you more information about the many ways an ordinary bath towel can be used as the perfect temporary dog sling.
Towel walking/sling walking allows you to lift your dog comfortably so you can move them. It works in the same way as a professionally made support sling or rear lifting harness in that it provides support without putting too much pressure on organs and joints.
All you need is a large bath or beach towel that is strong enough to support the weight of your dog. The towel must be long enough to pass under your dog’s belly and pull up into two handles at the top for you to grab.
Here are the steps to turn a towel into a sling
- Fold the towel in half full length to make it narrower.
- While your dog is lying down, place the middle section of the towel in front of your dog’s hind legs. Let the ends lay flat on either side.
- Wrap the towel around your dog’s belly and gently lift the dog up with the two ends of the towel. Each end should form into a handle long enough for you to grab.
- You can add a leash to the dog’s collar for additional maneuverability.
- Slowly walk with your dog. Never rush a dog with mobility problems.
Sling walking is great for dogs with paralysis, but I personally keep a clean towel in my car in case I find a dog with an injury while I’m on the road. It’s just part of my box of pet support tricks, like a first aid kit and an extra leash.
There are actually a lot of canine medical conditions that can benefit from the technique.
Here are a few:
- Degenerative myelopathy
- Hip dysplasia
- Knee injury or surgery
- Arthritis in knees, hips or back
- Stroke recovery
- Recovery from spine injury and surgery
- Recovery from other surgery
- Recuperation after an accident
This video gives a great demonstration of how a towel can be used for sling walking a dog after surgery
The DIY grocery bag technique
In addition to using a towel to safely lift a paralyzed dog, there is another popular DIY technique you should know. It is sling walking a dog with a cloth grocery bag or tote bag. All you need to make it is a sturdy cloth bag and a pair of scissors.
Like towel walking, the grocery bag sling should be used as a temporary measure or in case of an emergency.
I put together this video about how to make your own DIY Grocery Bag Dog Support Harness
My favorite professionally designed slings and harnesses
Since the original post about towel walking was published, there have been strides made in professionally designed slings and harnesses for disabled pets. Many of these harnesses have become my favorite devices for the daily care of paralyzed dogs.
Below is a post I wrote a while ago but one that I update regularly about the best support harnesses for dogs with paralysis, hind end weakness, and amputation.
The story not only gives pet owners information about the best harnesses on the market, it also helps pet owners understand the different types of dog harnesses and how they benefit specific health problems. For instance, if you are living with a dog that needs a little support when walking up and down stairs or getting in a car, the GingerLead Harness would be a good choice. It enables owners to minimally assist their dog. And for those dogs with complete hind end paralysis, the Walkabout Airtlift One Harness would be a great choice. This harness allows a pet owner to take complete charge of lifting and moving their dog. I hope you’ll read the post below for more details about the different harnesses for disabled dogs.
Learn more about Life with a Paralyzed Dog with our FREE PDF, Essential Guide for Paralyzed Dogs.