Arthritis Dog Harness

Kelly Roper

Now you can help your arthritic dog regain some mobility with an arthritis dog harness.

About Canine Arthritis

Sure, people get arthritis all the time, but dogs are prone to it too. The disease causes the same symptoms for both of us: joint inflammation, pain and stiffness.

Arthritis can be caused by many factors, including obesity, congenital defects and injuries. Whatever the cause, the condition results in abnormal wear on the inner lining of the joints. Once the cartilage is worn away, bone begins to scrape against bone, leading to painful inflammation. Affected dogs begin to lose their mobility along with their zest for life.

Although there are treatments for canine arthritis, including cartilage supplements and corticosteroids, most dogs could still use some extra help to take the strain off of their compromised joints, which brings us to the topic of the arthritis dog harness.

The Arthritis Dog Harness

A specially designed arthritis harness will help take the weight off a dog's rear quarter, where most arthritic pets suffer the greatest affects of the disease.

Watson's Bottoms Up Dog Harness

The Bottom's Up Harness is considered the most effective device of it's kind, and received Dog Fancy magazine's 2004 Product of the Year Award. This harness resembles a leash with a leg loop on either side.

Instead of attaching it around your pet's neck, you gently slide the loops around the rear legs, and pull the harness up over the hips. As your dog begins to walk, simply pull straight up on the leash to add as little or as much support as your dog needs to walk comfortably. If your dog needs more guidance, you can add a regular leash to his collar.

The Bottom's Up Harness design allows your dog to eliminate freely, and the straps come with comfy protectors that are easily slid off and washed with soap and water. The harness is also adjustable to fit a wide range of breeds, from 12 to 125 pounds.

Ruff Wear Web Master Padded Dog Harnesses

The Ruff Wear Web Master is another style of dog harness that was designed with search and rescue dogs in mind, but it also provides enough support for use with arthritic or otherwise infirm pets.

This lifting-style harness is made with strong, yet ventilated material, and offers support from three separate points. One strap wraps around the front of your dog's chest, and a second strap spans around your dog's brisket, just behind his elbows. A third strap wraps around your dog's tummy just in front of the rear legs.

The leash attachment is near the center of the harness on the back, so unlike the Bottom's Up Harness, you can provide more support for the front end of your dog. This harness would also be useful for dogs with both hip and elbow dysplasia.

Other Uses

Canine arthritis harnesses are certainly supportive for conditions like arthritis and hip dysplasia, but that's not all they're good for.

A harness of this type may also be beneficial for dogs recovering from certain types of surgery, and can be used to assist dogs with painful disc conditions. It can also help restore mobility to amputees until they learn to negotiate with fewer legs.

When is an Arthritis Harness Not Suitable?

Although this type of harness can be highly effective, it isn't suitable for every arthritis sufferer. Dogs with arthritis in the front portion of their bodies are not likely to have enough stability to walk with the harness, and it could cause excess joint damage.

Ask Your Vet for Advice

Before you decide to try an arthritis dog harness or any other supportive device, check with your vet to make sure it's appropriate for your dog's current condition. As mentioned previously, a harness can do more harm than good in certain situations. Your vet is the only person with enough expertise to make the call, so rely on his or her expert advice.

Arthritis Dog Harness