How do I “sling” my dog to help him walk?

Our question this week was:

My dog has degenerative myelopathy and my vet told me to use a sling to help him walk. What is a sling?


Jan Peters – Kansas City, MO


Hi – thanks for your email. Many dogs are walked using a sling or commonly referred to as "towel walking". Dogs with advanced disease from degenerative myelopathy or any dog that is weak, has back problems or leg problems can sometimes benefit from a "sling" to help them ambulate.

Slings can be purchased commercially or you can make one at home by using a bath towel. You roll the bath towel long ways and use it as a sling. Place the middle section in front of your dogs back legs with the two ends over his back. You can use this "sling" to help him walk while you are supporting his weight. This can be used to help your dog walk or sometimes just to help your dog get in and out of the house until he is in the grass where he has better traction where he can support himself.

An article that might be helpful to you is Degenerative Myelopathy in Dogs.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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