This dog harness review will cover two of the most popular harnesses on the market: Help ‘Em Up Harness and Ruffwear Web Master Harness. We got these harnesses for Duke, our Belgium Malinois, who was having trouble getting in and out of our Jeep Wrangler on his own. Both of these harnesses allow us to give him a boost when he’s jumping up and down.
Dog Harness Review
Duke has been with us since 2008. He was in the animal shelter for 3 months and on the list to be put down when we adopted him. Duke had a rough past and was very traumatized from what happened. We saw a wonderful spirit in him and brought him home with us. Duke blossomed from a shy dog afraid to walk down a busy street to the an affectionate confident dog. He’s a loyal companion and loves to go everywhere with us.
Now that Duke is getting older, he’s having trouble jumping in and out of our Jeep 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:
What We Received:
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.
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
The Harnesses 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
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 SUV. Both worked perfectly for getting Duke in and out of our Wrangler. You can see also see him using the Web Master during our Jeep Cargo Net Review. 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.
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.