A baby sling for dogs??? I promise, this is not a joke. Nor does it want to be derogatory or undermining of the use of slings invented and used for babies, by suggesting they can also be used to carry canines. But I have tried it on Indy and guess what, he does like it and it makes my life so much easier!
My dog cannot walk – how to carry him?
The idea may sound quite wacky, but the need with Indy has arisen following his back injury, but also as a result of Indy not growing any younger. Since I started looking into the idea of carrying Indy, I have in fact found out there are so many options for support sling for dogs, that I struggle to identify one option as the better one over others. For this reason, Indy and I are not going to write one of our usual reviews, but are going to write this post instead – the examples from Amazon I am suggesting are one a few of the many types of slings on the market.
We have the Pet Stroller, which we used actively especially in the winter and whilst Indy was recovering from his back injury. The Pet Stroller is very good for trips to town, parks and shopping centres (those shopping centre that allow dogs in pushchairs, of course!!) – or indeed for longer walks and journeys. But the stroller is not as convenient if you want to have a walk in the ‘sticks’, along the beach, or indeed up mountainous non-tarmacked paths. Yes, strollers (or at least the stroller we have) are folding. And yes they are extremely light and compact to carry, but I tried carrying my stroller when on a twenty minute walk in the field next door to our house, and my arms did end up aching badly. I took the stroller for precaution in case Indy needed it, Indy thankfully ended up being quite happy with carrying on on his own four paws, but I also ended up having to carry the stroller the whole duration of the walk, and that became a struggle for little old me.
The solution? A baby sling for dogs!!!
We found that, when going on paths in the woods, you cannot take the stroller as you would ruin the wheels or make the stroller muddy. Your dog, and particularly your Border Terrier, will not want to be carried when on an adventurous trips anyway – well, not until the walk becomes too long and onerous on his/her injured body, or on their older limbs.
I have been toying with the idea of a support sling for dogs for a while. And this was as a result of many times finding myself on off-road walks and having to carry Indy for a good 5-10 minutes. Indy is now approximately 8kg in weight, and I am little – carrying him even for a few minutes can become a bit of a chore for me. On the other hand I always thought that slings were only suited for new born babies, of much lighter weight than Indy. So, in my mind they were baby slings for dogs of smaller breeds, or they were suitable solely to puppies. What was the alternative for a dog such as Border Terriers, who are deemed not of small size and they carry a fair amount of sturdy weight to make it a job to carry them without this having an impact on your back?
The other concern I had with the idea that slings may not be suited for dogs the size and weight of Borders, was that Borders may not take easily to being carried in such contraption. Well, I had to try it on Indy to believe it. It does work!!
Good for canine, good for humans
We tried a man-made sling on Indy, before investigating to see if dog baby slings are actually sold. Indy loves to be carried in the sling. His back does not suffer, as he does not assume an unnatural posture. He in fact sits in the sling flatly and quite close to me, so that he finds the reassurance of the close contact to his carrier that it is safe to be there. At the same time, it allows me to keep hold of him and prevent him from getting agitated and from jumping out.
It also enables me to carry him without that affecting my back. The sling embraces my back, and in a way supports it whilst I carry and walk about with Indy. Exactly the same as if I were carrying a baby.
What gave me courage to try it out on Indy was the realisation, as I started googling the idea about, that slings are not only used by mothers for new born babies, but for toddlers too. Surely then a sling would be able to support the weight of Border Terriers, or of dogs of similar size?
Home-made baby sling for dogs
So here I have been, trying to put together pieces of old cloth in the house that would serve the purpose. It may be that Indy is starting having a lazier disposition to life – or, to be kinder to my Border, a more lay back attitude – but as I mentioned, he did actually enjoyed being carried about. We have had the opportunity to try our man-made ones obviously not only in the house, but mostly out and about, and especially in places of interest to Indy. So, initially we would raise eyebrows if we were walking amongst a group of people in town (although for town trips I would normally use the stroller), but it was a good test to see if Indy was still happy to be carried about – Indy loves being fussed by passers by, and walking in between people’s feet to make himself noticed. But yes, in the heat of the summer weather, and once he got tired, he was happy to be carried for a while – just long enough to recover his energy before sprinting for the next part of the walk. And the same has been when we have been on our walks in the woods. Indy thoroughly enjoys these types of walks, but again after the initial sprint, and in the hot weather more so, he starts slowing down and can really starts struggling. Well, that is when I know that my dog wants carrying. And again, Indy so far has been quite happy to be carried for a good 5-10 minutes, before wanting to be put down to the ground again for the next outburst of energy. Yes, Indy is 12 but he still has it in him ??
Buy baby slings for cheap
When it became clear that Indy was quite happy with this alternative method of transport, only then I decided to see if walking support slings for dogs were available on the market. As per usual, my regular supplier Amazon has not let me down. I struggle to recommend any specific one, due to the huge availability of so many different types – and there was me thinking this was the craziest idea ever, when in fact somebody must have thought and tried it out well before me. But you may prefer slings that have a strap at the back, or ones made of extra breathable material. Or indeed, you may want to go not for dog slings but for the proper ones designed for babies. At the end of day, that is probably a good idea if you are planning to use a sling on your dog of same or similar size to Borders.
The next bit of good news is the price. Both on other website as well as on Amazon.co.uk, you find the options of purchasing slings that are solely and purposefully designed to be used for dogs (but are no different from baby slings ‘for babies’), or purchasing the right and proper baby sling. Well, no matter what you decide to go for, slings are affordable!!! You can find the price ranging between little more than a tenner (in GBP or equivalent currency of your own country) to as high as £50. And again, yes you want it to be resistant and of good material enough to hold the weight of your dog, but you don’t have to go for the latest and most expensive option at all.
So, why buy?
At the end of the day it is only a piece of cloth. Well, if you are good at sewing and at art and craft skills, by all means I don’t think you have to buy a sling at all for your dog. You can make yours, and make it as double layered, as long and wide as you wish.
But if, like me, finding a piece of spare cloth in the house and spending hours trying to put together the sling becomes a chore, as you are not the most inclined person at DIY for most jobs in the house, then make your life and your dog’s life easier – go get one, as baby slings for dogs are cheap enough and useful.
As per usual it intrigues me to find out what you think of my posts. Have you tried this mode of transport with your hound? What do you think of the idea? Have you got pictures to share? Any comment will be most welcome, and I shall endeavour to respond to each and every of you. Thank you for reading.