Best harness for dogs with degenerative myelopathy (Top 5)

Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) is a condition that affects the spinal cord and causes stiffness, weakness, and paralysis in your dog. DM is usually caused by old age or injury, but some breeds are at higher risk.

Dogs suffering from DM often have trouble walking, and their owners may notice them dragging their back legs. The disease is progressive, meaning symptoms worsen over time. If left untreated, DM can cause permanent damage to your pet’s nervous system.

There are various types of harnesses for dogs, each designed to address specific problems. Some harnesses are designed to help dogs walk better, while others are intended to prevent injuries during sports activities.

There are also harnesses that are specifically designed to treat DM. Here are three harnesses that can help your dog live longer and healthier.

Also Read: Do harnesses make dogs pull more?

What are the signs of degenerative myelopathy in dogs?

The first sign of DM is difficulty getting up and downstairs. Your dog will likely start favoring one leg when he walks, which could be an early indication of DM. Other signs include:

  • Difficulty jumping onto furniture
  • Spinal rigidity
  • Paralysis of all four limbs
  • Loss of coordination

If you see any of these signs, it’s important to get your dog checked out right away. A vet will perform a neurological exam and ask questions about your dog’s lifestyle and medical history. He might recommend imaging tests like x-rays or MRI scans to determine if there is an underlying problem.

If DM has been diagnosed, what options do I have?

In most cases, treatment involves medication and rehabilitation. Medication helps control pain and inflammation, and it can improve your dog’s ability to move. Rehabilitation includes physical therapy and other treatments.

Your veterinarian can prescribe medications based on how severe your dog’s symptoms are. For example, your dog might need anti-inflammatory drugs if she has arthritis. Physical therapy can strengthen weakened muscles and joints, which is especially helpful for older dogs who have lost muscle mass. 1

The best harness for dogs with degenerative myelopathy

1. Coodeo Dog Lift Harness Support & Recovery Sling

best harness for dogs with degenerative myelopathy

Dogs with degenerative myelopathy may benefit greatly from this harness and support sling combo. Some dogs have difficulty getting up because the disease affects their hindquarters (though they can still walk).

Using the handle, you can help your dog stand and move along, and the harness provides comfort and safety when you’re taking your dog for a short walk or visiting friends.

This harness is ideal for pets who need full-body support. Strapped to your pet’s abdomen, rear, and rib cage, it is made of durable nylon fabric material. It has handles at each end, which distributes weight equally and relieves pressure equally.

With this lift harness, you will have all the convenience you require, since it is machine washable and fully adjustable. Velcro fittings ensure a snug fit, and plastic quick-release clasps make it easy to put on. The harness comes in four sizes, ranging from small to X-large.

Our Rating: 8.9/10

What We Like

  • Helps your dog get up and down easily.
  • Provides full-body support.
  • Easy to clean and maintain.
  • Machine washable.
  • Fully adjustable.

What We Don’t Like

  •  Price

2. Walkin’ Wheels Dog Wheelchair for Small Dogs

best harness for dogs with degenerative myelopathy

Walkin’ Wheels provides support for your dog when he needs it most. The harness has adjustable straps that are easy to put on and remove. The back pad helps relieve pressure on his hips and spine.

Small dogs weighing between 11-25 pounds will benefit from this dog wheelchair. Small dogs such as beagles, pomeranians, cocker spaniels, chihuahuas, pugs, and more can use the veterinarian-approved wheelchair. 

With its firm and lightweight aluminum frame, this pet bed is perfect for pets with mobility issues, such as your injured or disabled pets. As the only adjustable wheelchair for dogs, it can be adapted to your pet’s size and changing health. In addition, it can be adjusted in length, width, and height so that your dog will always be comfortable.

This wheelchair is easy to transport and clean. You can take your dog anywhere you go with them since they fit into cars easily. All parts of the pet wheelchair, including the foam/rubber wheels, are easily washable.

Our Rating: 8.9/10

What We Like

  • Easy to adjust to fit your pet’s size and weight.
  • Adjustable in length, width, height, and depth.
  • Lightweight, sturdy, and easy to clean.
  • Can be used indoors or out.
  • Made of non-toxic materials.
  • Pet wheelchair designed by veterinarians.

What We Don’t Like

  • Expensive

Also Read: TOP 6 best gps tracker for dogs no monthly fee

3. PetSafe CareLift Rear Support Harness

best harness for dogs with degenerative myelopathy

Your dog with degenerative myelopathy can find the perfect fit with one of these wheelchairs that are available in a variety of sizes and are adjustable.

We were hoping to set the PetSafe Solvit CareLift harness apart from the competition based on its unique design. Our first impression of the harness was that it was extremely heavy, easily several times heavier than the other harnesses we tried. Those dogs who can’t move around on their own can use this harness all day without any problems.

This harness falls off easily if the handle is not held when used on a dog with independent mobility. Similarly, we didn’t think the padding was quite enough for our dog’s comfort, though we thought the design relieved some pressure from important areas compared with most of the sling designs we tested. 

We believe it can earn a top-three spot if it were more padded and stayed on better, but it needs some work to climb further up the list.  

Our Rating: 8.8/10

What We Like

  • Easy to adjust for different sizes and shapes.
  • Made of strong nylon webbing.
  • Lightweight and easy to carry.
  • Can be used with both indoor and outdoor pets.
  • Comfortable and secure fit.
  • Holds up to 150 lbs.

What We Don’t Like

  • As a result of the dog’s build, straps can become saturated.
  • Due to the mesh material, it can irritate the skin if left on too long.

4. GINGERLEAD Dog Support & Rehab Sling Harnesses 

best harness for dogs with degenerative myelopathy

On shorter dogs, the sling moves more because of the distance between the arm and back. The problem was that it caused problems with the male urination slot, or it allowed smaller dogs to escape the sling.

You should look for high-quality materials because you will be supporting your dog with the harness. When you are carrying your dog up a flight of stairs, the last thing you want is for the harness to break due to poor quality materials or workmanship.

GingerLead harnesses are handmade in the USA and made from high-quality materials. Even after machine washing and drying, the nylon exterior remains durable and holds up well to wear and the elements, while the corduroy interior stays soft and durable.

Getting your dog into and out of the sling is simple, which makes it more useful when you are wearing it frequently throughout the day.

All over the United States, veterinarians use GingerLeads. Recommend for recovery from TPLO or cruciate surgery, back or hip surgery, physical therapy, assuring mobility or balance in pets with arthritis or degenerative myelopathy, as well as those with disabilities.

A full front no-pull dog harness, such as those from Ruffwear, pairs perfectly with the adjustable clip.  Using it will allow you to evenly distribute support between the front and rear legs of your dog. It will also allow you to assist them more effectively.

Our Rating: 9/10

What We Like

  • Adjustable for different sizes and breeds.
  • Made from high-quality materials and designed to last.
  • Easy to put on and take off.
  • Comfortable and secure fit.
  • Perfect for daily walks, hikes, training, agility, obedience, field trials, hunting, and even sledding.
  • Great for dogs with hip dysplasia or other orthopedic issues.
  • Recommended by veterinarians nationwide.

What We Don’t Like

  • There should be a harness included with this sling for larger dogs as it is not secure enough to support a large dog.

5. Walkin’ Wheels Dog Wheelchair for Med/Large Dogs

best harness for dogs with degenerative myelopathy

Walkin’ Wheels are the only harness available specifically designed for dogs with degenerative spinal cord disease. The unique design allows your dog to walk naturally without any pressure or strain on their back legs.

Its attractive and intuitive design will probably be the first thing you notice. Its simplicity is what makes a product great. Its professional look is part of that. Of course, appearances can be deceptive. However, you won’t have to be concerned about the appearance of this device leading you astray.

Marketing is a tricky business sometimes. The wheelchair is suitable for people weighing between 50 pounds and 69 pounds.pounds.pounds. Additionally, it is easy to adjust and only takes a few minutes.

The aluminum frame is lightweight and durable at the same time. This device allows your dog to maneuver easily. The wheelchair-style design makes maneuvering and maintaining stability easily. In addition, unlike other products, this wheelchair doesn’t aggravate your dog’s injury.

Dogs with little mobility or no mobility benefit from the veterinarian-approved wheelchair.  It includes a fully adjustable harness to make your dog’s mobility even easier. There is little or no chance of falling over.

Despite the difficulty of pinpointing any shortcomings in this product, some dogs with certain conditions may find it difficult to use.

Our Rating: 8.8/10

What We Like

  • Easy to install and operate.
  • Adjustable harness for dogs with limited mobility.
  • Comfortable and secure fit.
  • Attractive and intuitive design.
  • Lightweight and durable.
  • Can be used by people of different weights.

What We Don’t Like

  • Expensive

Also Read: Top 7 Best electric dog fence small dogs

Are certain breeds of dog more prone to degenerative myelopathy?

Typically, degenerative myelopathy occurs in older and middle-aged dogs (usually between the ages of 4 and 14), but younger dogs can also be affected. Collies and Siberian Huskies are the most common breeds with this condition.

The risk for DM has been identified for many other breeds, including Bernese Mountain Dogs, Boxers, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Kerry Blue Terriers, Miniature Poodles, Ontario Duck Tolling Retrievers, Pembroke Welsh Corgis, Pugs, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Standard Poodles, Welsh Corgis, Welsh Corgi Cardigans, Welsh Corgi Pembrokes, and Wirehaired. 2

Should you walk a dog with degenerative myelopathy?

This depends on how severe the symptoms are. If your dog has mild signs of degenerative myelopathy, then they might be able to exercise safely. But if your dog displays more advanced signs of the disorder, such as paralysis, then walking them would not be recommended.

How do I know if my dog has degenerative myelopathy or another form of spinal cord disease?

If you suspect that your dog has degenerative mylopathy, then you should consult a veterinary neurologist. They’ll conduct an examination and perform tests to determine whether your dog actually does have this condition.

If your dog has degenerative spinal cord disease, then there are several types of treatments available. Some of these include surgery, physical therapy, acupuncture, massage, chiropractic care, diet, supplements, and behavior modification.

Do I need to treat my dog’s degenerative myelopathy right away?

It’s important to address degenerative myelopathy early so that it doesn’t progress further. However, it’s also important to note that treatment won’t necessarily stop the progression of the disease. As long as your dog continues to live a healthy lifestyle and receives regular checkups, it will continue to improve. 3

What happens after my dog develops degenerative myelopathy?

As your dog gets older, their body begins to deteriorate. With degenerative myelopathy specifically, the spinal cord becomes thinner and less elastic.

Your dog’s nerves begin to die off one at a time, which causes muscle weakness and loss of coordination. This is why degenerative myelopathy is often called “spinal atrophy.”

When is the best time to get my dog diagnosed?

Ideally, you want to start treating your dog before any symptoms develop. If you notice your dog starting to act differently than usual, then it may be a good idea to bring them to the vet clinic immediately.

The sooner you catch it, the better chance you have of stopping the progression of the disease and improving your dog’s quality of life.

How long can a dog live with canine degenerative myelopathy?

Your dog’s lifespan will depend on its breed, age, overall health, and the severity of their condition. Generally speaking, dogs with degenerative myelinopathy tend to live around 3 years.

Also Read: Dog has trouble getting up but walks fine Find Top Reasons

How do I make my dog comfortable with degenerative myelopathy? (video)

Degenerative myelopathy isn’t always easy to manage. It affects every part of your dog’s body, making them feel weak and uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are ways to help ease some of those problems. Here are some tips:

  • Use a soft bedding material like carpeting or towels instead of hard surfaces like concrete, wood, or tile. This helps keep your dog from slipping and falling when they’re getting up from lying down.
  • Provide plenty of toys for your dog to play with while they’re in the house. Toys provide stimulation for both their mind and body.
  • Keep your dog warm by providing a heated water bowl. A hot water bottle wrapped in blankets works well too.
  • Give your dog lots of exercise. Exercise releases endorphins, which make your dog happy and relaxed.
  •  As much as possible, make sure your dog has access to fresh air and sunlight. These factors stimulate your dog’s immune system and keep him active.

What are the final stages of degenerative myelopathy in dogs?

The final stage of degenerative myelopathy is paralysis. In this stage, your dog is completely paralyzed and can no longer move their legs or walk.

They may still be able to stand and even sit, but they can no longer control themselves. Many dogs who reach this point are euthanized because they aren’t able to function anymore.

If you think your pet might be suffering from degenerative myelopathy, then you should take action now.

Don’t wait until your dog starts showing signs of discomfort or pain. You only have so much time to prevent your dog’s deterioration from becoming irreversible.

When should you put a dog down with degenerative myelopathy?

A dog diagnosed with canine degenerative myelopathy will usually be euthanized or put down within six months to three years after diagnosis.

The vet will determine when to put down your dog based on where the disease is in its progression and how it impacts its quality of life.

Can CBD oil help dogs with other conditions?

CBD oil is an effective treatment for many different types of medical issues. However, not all CBD oils work for all animals.

There are two main forms of CBD oil available: isolate and full spectrum. Isolate CBD products contain pure CBD while full-spectrum CBD contains additional cannabinoids such as CBG, CBC, CBN, and more.

Isolate CBD oil is typically used to treat anxiety, seizures, muscle spasms, and insomnia. Full-spectrum CBD oil is often preferred over isolate CBD oil due to the fact that full-spectrum CBD oil contains other cannabinoids that may benefit your dog’s overall health.

Is exercise good for degenerative myelopathy?

Exercise is essential to maintaining healthy joints and muscles. Dogs with degenerative myelopathy may experience joint stiffness and soreness, particularly if they haven’t been exercising regularly. If your dog has been feeling stiff and sore lately, it could mean he needs more physical activity.

How do I feed my dog with degenerative myelopathies?

Dogs with degenerative myelopathy need special care when feeding them. Your dog may have trouble eating due to his inability to feel hunger signals.

He may also lose weight due to decreased appetite. It’s important to make sure that your dog gets enough calories every day. This means increasing the amount of food you give your dog each meal.

You’ll want to avoid feeding your dog any foods high in fat, sugar, or salt. High-fat foods like butter, cheese, and fatty meats can cause your dog’s kidneys to become enlarged.

Sugar can lead to dental problems and heart problems. Salt causes water retention which can lead to kidney failure.

What about supplements?

There are a few supplements that can help improve your dog’s condition. These include omega 3 fatty acids, glucosamine, chondroitin, and vitamin D3. Omega 3 fatty acids are found in fish oil and flaxseed oil.

Glucosamine and chondroitin are natural substances found in animal cartilage that can increase joint mobility. Vitamin D3 helps your body absorb calcium and phosphorus.

Vitamin C is another supplement that can be beneficial for dogs with degenerative diseases. It increases collagen production and strengthens bones.

Is degenerative myelopathy in dogs painful?

Your dog probably won’t show signs of pain. But if he does, there are ways to relieve him from discomfort. You can use topical creams or ointments to reduce inflammation in affected areas. You can also rub cold compresses on your dog’s skin to decrease swelling.

If your dog seems uncomfortable, you should consult your veterinarian immediately.

Also Read: 6 Best dog shampoo for dogs with yeast infection

Does degenerative myelopathy cause shaking?

Some dogs develop tremors because of their disease. The tremor usually occurs at night and is caused by nerve damage. In some cases, this tremor becomes so severe that it interferes with sleep.

Shaking is one symptom that indicates that your dog might have a neurological problem. If your dog shakes frequently, you should contact your vet right away.

Why Might a Dog Need Harness?

Sadly, a dog rear lift harness is often required for a variety of medical reasons. Even though these conditions are more common in older dogs, they can happen at any age. Here are some of the most common:

Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) 

Due to its degenerative effect on the spinal cord, DM causes progressive paralysis of the hind legs.  The problem usually begins with a lack of coordination but develops into weakness and difficulty standing.

A lift harness is a common tool for maintaining the quality of life in dogs that become unable to walk without assistance.

Hip Dysplasia

A deformity of the hip joint causes this skeletal condition. Large breed dogs are more likely to suffer from this genetic condition than smaller breeds, including Labradors, Golden Retrievers, and Great Danes – although any breed can suffer from it.

A supportive harness is not always necessary for dogs with hip dysplasia, but it can sometimes reduce pain by reducing pressure on the hip joints.


Rheumatoid arthritis affects dogs, while osteoarthritis affects them. Osteoarthritis is the degeneration of joint cartilage that results from rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease. It can be difficult to walk in severe cases of both diseases. Wearing a sling can alleviate joint pressure.

Weakness Due to Old Age or Other Medical Condition

As dogs age, their mobility naturally diminishes. During old age or after undergoing medical treatment, your pet’s hind legs may become weak. A rear harness can prevent this from happening.

Recovering from Surgery

When a dog is recovering from surgery, a sling can prove to be a big help. This allows your pet to remain mobile and maintain some muscle tone without adding too much pressure to the healing site. Your veterinarian can advise you on the best harness to use following surgery.

Luxating Patella

Kneecaps “pop” out of their normal grooves due to this condition. As a result, the dog may suffer from pain, cartilage degeneration, and be unable to extend his knee joint fully. If a patella only occasionally luxates, a sling may make your dog feel more confident than surgery – particularly if the kneecap is permanently luxated.

Recovering from Injury

The strength of your dog’s back legs can be affected by injuries ranging from a pulled muscle to a bone fracture. If your dog suffers from an injury and needs to remain mobile, a sling or back leg harness may be able to help – though you should consult your veterinarian first.

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