Dog Harness Review – Help ‘Em Up vs Ruffwear Web Master

Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means we will earn a commission on the products or services you purchase using the links. There is no additional cost to you and the earnings help keep this website running. Read the Affiliate Disclaimer for more information.

Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means we will earn a commission on the products or services you purchase using the links. There is no additional cost to you and the earnings help keep this website running. Read the Affiliate Disclaimer for more information.

This dog harness review will cover two of the most popular harnesses on the market: Help ‘Em Up Harness and Ruffwear Web Master Harness.

Dogs in the back of Jeep Wrangler

Dog Harness Review

About Duke

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

Dog Harness Review Ruffwear vs Help Em Up

– 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 instructions online 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.

Dog Harness Review Help-Em-Up-Pull

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.

Dog Harness Review WebMaster-Pull

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

Ruffwear Web Mast Review - View

11/30/2015 Update: The initial review above was with our dog Duke. The Ruffwear Web Master 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.

Ruffwear Web Mast Review - Walking 2

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.

Ruffwear Web Mast Review - Walking

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.

Ruffwear Web Mast Review - Climbing

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

Help Em Up Review - Lifting

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.

Help Em Up Review - 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.

Help Em Up Review - Stiches

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.

Help Em Up Review - Walking

When the trail gets difficult, we can lift him up and over obstacles.

Help Em Up Review - Jeep

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.

Help Em Up Review - Peeing

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.

Leave a Comment

22 thoughts on “Dog Harness Review – Help ‘Em Up vs Ruffwear Web Master”

  1. Thanks for the reviews. Looking into something to help me out with my 80lb golden. He has had previous knee surgery and needs some help getting into my new outback. Also-I noticed you mentioned your dog’s fuzzy paws. My golden has the same issue and I get his paws shaved in between the paw pads and it prevents him from slipping on slippery floors. Have you tried that? Sometimes I do it myself with special dog scissors, but it takes a really long time.

  2. Looking for a harness for my English mastiff they had ACL surgery and will go have the other back leg done soon. I am worried about the helpemup not holding up? Any advice ?

  3. I really like the Help Em Up harness but unfortunately the company didn’t stand behind their product. I used it for one TPLO surgery and stored it away and trying to use it for the second surgery the front clips started failing randomly which makes lifting the dog with the harness dangerous. I contacted the company and they said it was out of warranty. This harness has had maybe 4 months of use total. That is very poor support.

  4. I have a 14 yo, 80# Lab/Shepherd mix who is a tri-pawed. I got the HelpEmUp harness about 2 years ago and it is wonderful. The only problem I had was the rear strap would slip off her stump. I wrote the company and they sent me an extra strap that connects that side with the front harness, which keeps the rear strap in place. Much better! It takes a little work to get her in to it because she is very active and doesn’t want to sit still, but once she’s in – we’re off to the races! I, too, have washed mine and it has held up perfectly. The company is very helpful and I would buy another in a heartbeat!

  5. Thank you for making this video. My 8 year old beagle-basset has arthritis in his front legs that make it difficult for him to walk up the stairs to my apartment. I’ve been looking around to find the right harness for his condition, and it looks like the Help ‘Em Up will be best for him. Thanks again!!

  6. I purchased the help em up harness after much research when my Alaskan malamute had an FCE( fibrocartilagunous embolism) at the age of 13 and lost use of his rear from the waist back! He weighed 93 #. With lifting his rear with this2 part harness he was able to potty and be lifted in and out of the car. At about 3 mths post embolism he strated with use of his rear and eventually was able to walk again. I continued to use the harness as a help for him in his old age . When he died at 16 I donated his harness. Harness was in perfect shape after being send for 3 years ! I washed it in the washer and air dryer it many times over the 3 years . There was no breaking or fraying of any part!! I would highly recommend this harness for any dog with mobility issues !

  7. No question the webmaster is a much better fit. It conforms to the body much better. The ‘help me up’ harness doesn’t conform and just doesn’t fit well, and seems to shift forward. That said, if my dog had severe mobility issues, I can see how the ‘help em up would be good. Absent that, I returned it and opted for the ruffwear webmaster. I also tried a dean & Tyler, and the Ruffwear beats that too.

  8. Hi, do you know of anyone that can help me? I need a rear harness for my dog, his hind legs are paralyzed, it’s very hard for me to get him outside to potty, my back has been injured trying, he’s a happy dog, but I live on disability & we desperately need help, he’s my best friend & I don’t want to put him to sleep. If u can help us or know anyone that can, could u please email me? Thank you for your time.

    • Hi Sheila – what type of help are you looking for? Advice on what harness to buy or financial help to make the purchase? Based on the issues your dog seems to be having, the Help ‘Em Up seems like it would be the best option for you. I believe they sell the rear harness separately if that’s all you need. In terms of financial help, we’d suggest a site like that will allow people to help you in a situation like this.

  9. Thanks for the really great video.. makes it really easy to see the two harnesses up close and see them in action. I was wondering if you had any opinion on the Ortocanis rear support harnesses, I had bought one last year to help my 70 lb mutt get in and out of the car when her back legs started to become arthritic and I was really pleased. The whole transaction cost me less than $50. It’s definitely not a harness that’s as robust for hiking or lots of outdoor, tough activity, but for our day to day it worked wonders for us and made my life so much easier.

  10. loved loved loved your video! thanks you so much for making this video. i learned a lot. my four legged angel also thanks you from both the bottom of your hearts. i now know what tpye of harness to get her. it will be tough on me being a widow with a teenager know a handicap four legged angel.but she is well worth it,if need be i will sell my tv to pay for herwll worth harnes…thankyou again suzy

  11. Great Review. My dog has DM and rear legs no longer work. I was told by a therapist to try the helpem up with lead, however didnt want to spend this much if it doesn’t work. I think I am going to give it a try now.

  12. Hi Joe! thank you for your review… I have a 12-year-old 80# german shepherd/greyhound rescue dog. He just started having hip strength issues recently. In addition to a fitPaws peanut for exercises, I have been looking at these two harnesses. It seems as if the Help’em Up might be a better fit for him but I’m concerned about the stitching and the hooks… Did either one affect range of motion? Jax is still very active. Your thoughts are appreciated so much!

    sandy bassett

    • Sandy – I wouldn’t worry about the stitching on the Help ‘Em Up…now that we’ve used ours for a while its been holding up really well. I would say that the choice really comes down to whether or not you can lift Jax. Duke is still able to jump a bit, so the Ruff Wear harness works well and its a joint effort to get him in and out of the Jeep. However, we have also been using this to help my mother’s 80# lab and he can’t jump, which makes lifting him much harder. Here, the Help ‘Em Up is really the better choice because you can lift from the front and rear.


Leave a Comment