This dog harness review will cover two of the most popular harnesses on the market: Help ‘Em Up Harness and Ruffwear Web Master Harness.
Dog Harness Review
Table of Contents
- About Duke and Why He Needs a Dog Harness
- Dog Harness Video Review
- Help ‘Em Up vs Ruffwear
- Ruffwear Web Master Full Review
- Help ‘Em Up Full Review
We got the dog harnesses for Duke, who was having trouble getting in and out of a vehicle. Both of these harnesses allow us to give him a boost when he’s jumping up and down.
Duke has been with us since 2008. Now that Duke is getting older, he’s having trouble jumping in and out of our Jeep Wrangler due to problems with his hind legs.
Since he doesn’t like to be picked up, we needed a solution. Through our research, we turned to dog harnesses.
The two top harnesses we found were the Help ‘Em Up and the Ruffwear. Both companies sent us a harness for Duke in exchange for a honest review of the product.
Dog Harness Review Video:
Help ‘Em Up vs Ruffwear
– Price Comparison –
Help ‘Em Up Harness
– MSRP $75 – $120 for the front and rear lift (the front/rear harnesses can be ordered separately on their accessory page from $50 – $60).
– Only one model for sale with their patented hip lift harness. NOTE: We didn’t use the hip lift on Duke because he doesn’t require the additional help.
Ruffwear Web Master
– MSRP $59.95 – Other models available, but the Web Master seemed to be the best one to address dogs with mobility issues.
Edge: Draw – you can buy the front half of the Help ‘Em Up for the about the same price as the Web Master.
– Fitting –
Help ‘Em Up has good instructions on their site on how to measure your dog to find the right size harness (you can mix and match different sized hip lifts or order separately).
Out of the box, the harnesses came with instructions and diagrams on how to properly adjust and fit the harness. They also have multiple resources on their site that provide the same information. If you have a dog who needs extra help, the company also sells additional leads that can be hooked to these harnesses to help lift your dog.
Putting on and taking off the Help ‘Em Up harness was very easy. We simply slide it over his head and bring the straps around his torso and clip them into the harness.
Ruffwear Web Master has good instructions on how to properly measure your dog and find the right size harness.
The harness did not come with any instructions. It took a while to find the link on the product page to a video that explains how to adjust and fit the harness. We did run into a problem while fitting the Web Master. One of the adjustable straps was stitched to the harness, preventing us from adjusting the strap. We were able to cut this rogue stitch to fix the issue adjust the fit of the harness.
Putting the Web Master on Duke required him to put his head through the harness, lift his front right leg and bring it through a loop. Then we brought the straps around his torso and clipped them into the harness. The only time this was a problem for Duke was when we needed to get the harness off. He was excited and not cooperating and we had to struggle with him to get it off – he ended up running through the yard with it half on. We could also see it being a problem for dogs who have mobility problems with their front legs and having trouble lifting them through the harness.
Edge: Help ‘Em Up
– Dog Harness In Action –
Duke was comfortable walking around in the Help ‘Em Up. He didn’t have any problem going to the bathroom with the harness on (including the rear lift which we walked him around in). The handle provided a good grasp when lifting Duke in and out of the Jeep. The main drawback was the stitching – there is minimal stitching around the areas which are most likely to fail (the handle and leash hook). Duke is an 80lb dog and I’m not sure how well that will hold up long term.
We found Ruffwear Web Master to more substantial when lifting Duke. The stitching is more robust compared to the Help ‘Em Up. The clips for the harness are also shielded to prevent them from accidentally being unclipped if Duke brushes up against something. The Web Master harness is made for dogs who are more active and the harness is intended to withstand more abuse. It took Duke a bit longer to get accustomed to the Web Master. Once he did, he had no issues walking around or going to the bathroom.
Edge – Web Master
– Final Thoughts –
We really like both harnesses and realized during this test that they serve two different needs.
The Help ‘Em Up is made for the dog who has mobility problems and needs help doing daily activities. Although we don’t need the hip lift now, we’re happy we have it in case Duke’s condition gets worse and he needs more support. If you don’t need the hip lift, the price point is about the same as the Web Master and you can always go back and order the hip lift at a later date if your dog needs it.
The Web Master is made more for the active dog who needs some help getting over obstacles on the trail or that additional boost while trying to jump into a vehicle. Both worked perfectly for getting Duke in and out of our Jeep Wrangler.
The choice between which one is best really comes down to evaluating what your dog’s needs are and how you plan to use the harness.
Ruffwear Web Master Review
11/30/2015 Update: The initial review above was with our dog Duke. The Ruffwear Webmaster harness was able to help Duke get around with no issues and helped him regain his confidence. Unfortunately, Duke passed away in September. Since then, we have been using the harness with our other dog Leo. He is an active dog and loves to hike and go for strolls around town.
We have found new ways to use the dog harness and decided to write a follow up Ruffwear Web Master review.
Great for the active dog. We put the Ruffwear Web Master harness on Leo when we go hiking, walking around an outdoor mall or just out on a new adventure.
Leo has no problem walking in the harness and seems to enjoy having it on. When Leo has the harness on he goes into “work mode” and the Husky in him will follow any trail.
Very versatile. Not only is the harness great on the trail, but we also use it to help him get across slippery floors (he has REALLY fuzzy paws so he tends to slip). This has saved my back because without the harness, I have to carry him over tile floors as he’s afraid he’ll slip.
When Leo has the harness on, we can lift on the handle gently and offer him stability and support so he doesn’t slide and fall. We try our best to avoid “slippery” floors, but the vets office is unavoidable and their floors are always slippery.
Secure and provides control. The harness is very secure and provides us with better control of Leo when he decides to go after a squirrel or venture off a trail. When we walk Leo with only his collar on, his dog leash hangs too low and he tends to walk over it and getting his legs tangled. When we use the harness, we attach it to the hook on the top of the harness and this keeps the leash high enough to prevent Leo from walking over it.
We also like the security the harness offers over that of a typical collar. We don’t have to worry about him slipping out of the dog harness. Since Husky’s are known to be runners we never want to run the risk of him getting lose unexpectedly.
High Quality. The handle on the harness is very strong as well as the hook on top which we always clip our 6’ leash to. The hook is heavy duty and has strong stitching around it so we don’t have to worry about it tearing if Leo starts to pull.
Unable to lift the dog off the ground. A drawback with this harness is that because it only cradles the front of the dog’s body, we can’t use it to lift all four legs off the ground. The Web Master is ideal for an active dog that just needs some extra assistance.
Other Notes: The Ruffwear Web Master harness is put on by sliding it over the dogs head and then lifting their right leg through one loop of the harness. Once that is complete the harness can be buckled around the dog. Although we haven’t had any problems with this, it may be difficult to put on some dogs with serious mobility problems or those who simply won’t allow you to lift their legs.
Overall, the Ruffwear Web Master harness is great for that active dog in your life. We never would have considered a harness a must have dog gadget, but now that we have it we don’t take Leo for a hike out without it (or to the vet).
Help ‘Em Up Harness Review
11/09/2015 Update: We first used the Help ‘Em Up harness with our dog Duke. He was having trouble getting in and out of our Jeep and the harness allowed us to help him with ease. We have also been able to use the harness on Leo our Siberian Husky and my mother’s yellow Labrador Retriever. It’s helped both of them in different ways and we wanted to provide a full Help ‘Em Up review.
One drawback we mentioned in the first review was a concern with the stitching and how well it would hold up long term. It’s been 7 months and we have not had any issues with the stitches on the harness.
Leo is a very active dog who loves to go for hikes. If we know a trail is going to be difficult, we put the harness on and clip the dog leash to the attachment point. This gives us more control over Leo and it prevents him from walking over the leash and getting tangled.
When the trail gets difficult, we can lift him up and over obstacles.
We also use the harness on Leo when we’re walking through a new town. This gives us better control of him around large crowds. The harness comes in handy when we take him to a place with slippery surfaces. Leo’s furry paws tend to slip on smooth surfaces so we use the harness to help him glide along.
One question that comes up is how the dogs go potty with the rear harness on. Leo is able to go freely without any issues, that includes #1 and #2. The harness fits well around his privates and Leo doesn’t seem to mind it.
Tucker is my mother’s yellow lab with bad hip and knee problems. Tucker is too big to pick up, so we used the harness to get him in and out of vehicles as well as up and down tall steps.
Overall, we are very glad to have the Help ‘Em Up harness. It’s easy to put on and to take off. It’s light weight and breathable. The fit can be easily adjusted with the straps. It’s not just for dogs with mobility issues as we’ve found many ways to use the harness. We recommend Help ’em Up to dog owners looking for a quality harness for their dog with mobility issues.
Disclosure: Help ‘Em Up and Ruffwear provided these harnesses free of charge in exchange for an honest review. This review represents our own opinions of the products.
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