• Tiffany Downing, RVT

The Help 'Em Up Harness

We’ve recommended a Help 'Em Up Harness for your dog. What is it, why do you need it, and why can’t you just use a regular harness?


Unlike a regular harness you might buy from a pet store or online which might be comparable to clothing, the Help 'Em Up harness is a medical device, like crutches or a wheel chair. You’d want your crutches to be designed in a way that is comfortable for you to use, will withstand day to day wear and tear, and will not cause injury to other body parts during use.

Golden Retriever doing physical rehabilitation exercises to improve balance and proprioceptions=.
Using the Help 'Em Up Harness makes it much easier to help Nalu stay on his feet during an exercise meant to challenge his balance and stamina

Let’s back up for a minute to the core reason we are recommending the harness at all. This harness is a fantastic tool to help your dog be more mobile. Whether old age and weakness is making getting in and out of the car more challenging, or we’re a neurological case that has to relearn how to walk again, your dog needs physical assistance. The thought behind assisting them to do normal activities rather than just carrying them everywhere is a sort of “use it or lose it” concept. They can’t ever regain strength if they’re not using those muscles. They won’t get the chance to regain neurological function if the opportunity to get those nerves firing isn’t there. The hope is, that by assisting your dog to do basic things like walking or using the stairs, they can eventually regain the ability to do it on their own.


Boxer resting on obstacle course
Apache rests comfortably while still wearing his Help 'Em Up

So where does that leave you and your dog? You can physically lift and hold them in the positions, postures, and paw placements necessary for these activities – prepare for your own back pain! You can use a towel, leash, or sling to hold your pet up. These are appropriate tools for short term but they don’t disperse your dog’s weight in a comfortable way and aren’t the most comfortable for you to use every day either. There’s often too many straps to easily manage, you have to remember to grab it before any activity, they can impede your dog’s normal range of motion, and they put most if not all of your pet’s weight on their belly – ouch! The Help 'Em Up is designed to be easy for you to use and fitted for your dog’s anatomical needs. The padding is strategically placed so that your dog’s body weight is evenly dispersed under their chest and hips, instead of their neck or belly while also allowing your dog to move their legs normally. They even have pieces specifically designed for male dogs to be able to urinate while still getting the support they need to stand. No more pee covered slings or towels!


But why does it have to be this harness specifically? Over the years, we have seen countless attempted knock offs of this device. We understand, they’re not cheap and pet parents are trying to do the best they can for their pups while keeping themselves afloat; it’s a delicate balance. Unfortunately, we’ve yet to see a knock off that offers the same benefits and we’ve seen many that are dangerous to use. Some of the knock offs we have seen put the dogs at risk for a dislocated hip or a slipped disc! Yikes!


German Shepherd Dog doing physical rehabilitation exercises
The Help 'Em Up Harness helps us safely lift Walter onto exercise equipment and keep him in the proper position

While we do offer a service to custom fit a Help 'Em Up Harness for your dog, the cost of this service only covers the expense to provide it (meaning we make no money by offering it) and we do not receive any sort of kick back from the makers of the harness. We recommend this product exclusively because it is the best we have found and tested.


If you have questions about using a Help 'Em Up with your dog, feel free to reach out to us! We’d love to help make sure that your dog is properly outfitted with the correct components, as several different combos of the harness and accessories exist, and that they are properly sized and fitted.




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