Did the homework and bought the best harness for my dog ✔︎
Waited for delivery day ✔︎
Removed it from the package ✔︎
Put it on a shelf and waited for post-op ✔︎
And that last step, my friends, is where things went wrong.
Imagine: There's a heap of straps and you can't figure out how which clasp goes into which buckle. Your dog is still groggy from anesthesia. You try lifting and moving him. That didn't work. You tuck the straps under his body and then fish around for them. That didn't work either. You try lifting him, but it's difficult because he's heavy, in pain and can't put weight on the surgical leg.
You get the message - Size the harness/sling while your dog is still mobile. Practice with it. Start inside the house. Have someone stand across the room with a treat as you guide him toward the treat holding the harness. Keep it positive with lots of praise and pats on the head. Practicing will be good for you too, because you'll develop skills to balance your own weight while also stabilizing your pup.
Then practice outdoors. Learn how to take the sling on and off. I don't recommend having the dog wear it continuously as it can chafe and ulcerate skin. You'll get a silver star for getting him to pee outside with the harness on and a gold star if you can get him to poop!
Here's the next most common reason that people have useless harnesses/slings. Some people are told they can hold off on buying one until they see how their dog does after surgery. I advise against this. It's better to have on hand and return it if not needed. Make sure you understand the company's return policy.
Some veterinary hospitals send dogs home with a sling/harness. Here's someone's Facebook post:
Hopefully, when veterinary staff notices a small statured person or someone who might not be strong enough to carry or lift their dog, they'll recommend a harness and recommend that the person practices with it beforehand. The Facebook user felt "terrified". It's unnecessary anguish. And let's not forget about her dog. You know how it feels when you have to pee and you have to hold it for too long. It hurts!
When it comes to getting a harness, don't wait: Purchase one. Size it. Practice. You and your pup will be happy you did!
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