Some dogs have a hard time jumping into cars, but are too heavy to pick up. Is there a good way to lift dogs into cars without hurting them or ourselves?
My dog Zoe is a senior with hip and spinal issues. Sometimes she can jump into my van unassisted if she’s rested and feeling fresh and chipper. But when she’s tired, she needs help.
I used to hoist her using one arm on her chest and the other under her belly (don’t use this method!)
Not good for Zoe. Not good for me. I could potentially hurt my dog by putting undo pressure on her abdomen and ribs. Also, if this were my boy dog, Zack, it would do his gonads no good at all!
I asked my vet to demonstrate the correct way to assist a larger dog into a car.
She showed me how to place one arm just in front of her front legs (not on her throat!) and one arm behind the back legs (under her butt!) This way my arms are supporting her chest and pelvis, not pressing into her abdomen.
Usually, Zoe can put her front legs up in the car on her own and the only effort on my part is hoisting her butt. Doing regular exercises to strengthen her back-end (like those suggested by SlimDoggy) makes the whole process that much easier.
This 5-second video demonstrates just how simple it is.
Zoe shows no signs of concern or hesitation when I lift her in this manner. It’s quick and easy and a real confidence builder. And I feel better knowing I’m not smooshing her guts.
About Ramps and Steps
I’ve taken several trips in an RV that made lifting Zoe impractical (because of the narrow RV entry and a series of steps.) With an RV, using a ramp was a good option. But for trips in the van I found that the ramp was cumbersome and took up too much interior space. I’ve considered finding a collapsible stool, but it turns out that this lifting method works great all by itself!