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Ideas on how to get a 70 pound senior dog up icy steps

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

Not sure where to post this----our 70 pound golden retriever is approx. 12 years old, failing eyesight, etc.  She cannot get up the outdoor steps (somewhat steep) to ski lease.  First time we came up my husband carried her up steps.  I can't do this without putting both of us at risk.  Last week, I left her home and we put her in daycare.   I ordered a harness that goes under her front and back sections to try to help her by lifting her.  Once that arrives, we will look for steps to practice on.  She loves to romp in snow (at least she did).  Any ideas on how to realistically get her up steps safely would be very much appreciated. 

post #2 of 28

how many steps?   If 3,4 or 5 perhaps a handy ripped pc of plywood and carpeted will work.  you can either fasten it with a few screws or set it up where you just tip it on side when not in use (small triangle of wood at base/end to keep from sliding out)

 

I think the harness is a great idea, somewhat making her into a suitcase : )

post #3 of 28

They do make ramps for older or otherwise incapacitated dogs ...  how many steps are there? (ie, length -- is it a full flight?)

post #4 of 28

My dog is the same age, 60lbs, just starting to get lame, and has to negotiate 7 steps from the back deck down to her fenced-in "potty patch."  Right now, I just keep de-icer sprinkled on the steps and that works...for now, although she's stumbled and fallen 2-3 times.

 

I agree with Pete, though.  When the time comes (within the year?), I'm going to take a 4' X 8' sheet of plywood, split it lengthwise, and attach the 2 sections end-to-end with two 10-12' runners centered underneath running along each side.  Attach a non-slip surface like outdoor carpet, artificial grass, or that sandpapery non-skid material (if you can find it) to the top...and it will be a 2' wide, 16' long ramp.

Flip it on its side when not in use to keep snow and ice off, and flip down when the dog needs to go up and down.

 

For my fairly short length of 7 fairly high steps, an 8' ramp would be pretty steep, so that's why I'll make it longer.  If you have less steps, an 8' ramp should be fine, but If you have an entire flight of steps like from one floor to another, a ramp may not work, though.

 

I've used a "suitcase harness" with another older dog in the past, but if you have even the slightest back issue, that can be tricky.  Doable, but ya gotta be really careful when lifting and moving, obviously. 


Edited by Skierish - 1/5/13 at 9:53am
post #5 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

They do make ramps for older or otherwise incapacitated dogs ...  how many steps are there? (ie, length -- is it a full flight?)

 

I still have one of those.  It's aluminum, folds in half, and has non-skid walking surface.  It's designed to get dogs into the car and is only 3-4' long, though, so it's a non-starter for higher steps.

 

That said, it works well for the car, but it was a major PITA getting my last senior dog to use the thing!

I guess he figured, "Why walk up the ramp when I can stand here until my Dolt of an owner gets frustrated and lifts my 75lb butt into the car himself instead???"  Like I said, it's a great design, but mine didn't used nearly as much as it should have.  frown.gif

post #6 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skierish View Post

 

I still have one of those.  It's aluminum, folds in half, and has non-skid walking surface.  It's designed to get dogs into the car and is only 3-4' long, though, so it's a non-starter for higher steps.

 

That said, it works well for the car, but it was a major PITA getting my last senior dog to use the thing!

I guess he figured, "Why walk up the ramp when I can stand here until my Dolt of an owner gets frustrated and lifts my 75lb butt into the car himself instead???"  Like I said, it's a great design, but mine didn't used nearly as much as it should have.  frown.gif

On one of the pet sites, I noticed a telescoping ramp that goes to 87" -- might work ok depending on the house.

post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 

It's a full flight of steps.....3 steps to a landing and then maybe 12 steps to front door landing.....steps a bit on the steep side (for a 12 year old dog anyway).

post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skierish View Post

 

I still have one of those.  It's aluminum, folds in half, and has non-skid walking surface.  It's designed to get dogs into the car and is only 3-4' long, though, so it's a non-starter for higher steps.

 

That said, it works well for the car, but it was a major PITA getting my last senior dog to use the thing!

I guess he figured, "Why walk up the ramp when I can stand here until my Dolt of an owner gets frustrated and lifts my 75lb butt into the car himself instead???"  Like I said, it's a great design, but mine didn't used nearly as much as it should have.  frown.gif

 

So funny......yes, we have the car ramp too and it works pretty well but I know that "Lift me into the car look so well!!!  Luckily, I can position her front half on the SUV floor and lift just her bottom half in!!

post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skierish View Post

My dog is the same age, 60lbs, just starting to get lame, and has to negotiate 7 steps from the back deck down to her fenced-in "potty patch."  Right now, I just keep de-icer sprinkled on the steps and that works...for now, although she's stumbled and fallen 2-3 times.

 

I agree with Pete, though.  When the time comes (within the year?), I'm going to take a 4' X 8' sheet of plywood, split it lengthwise, and attach the 2 sections end-to-end with two 10-12' runners centered underneath running along each side.  Attach a non-slip surface like outdoor carpet, artificial grass, or that sandpapery non-skid material (if you can find it) to the top...and it will be a 2' wide, 16' long ramp.

Flip it on its side when not in use to keep snow and ice off, and flip down when the dog needs to go up and down.

 

For my fairly short length of 7 fairly high steps, an 8' ramp would be pretty steep, so that's why I'll make it longer.  If you have less steps, an 8' ramp should be fine, but If you have an entire flight of steps like from one floor to another, a ramp may not work, though.

 

I've used a "suitcase harness" with another older dog in the past, but if you have even the slightest back issue, that can be tricky.  Doable, but ya gotta be really careful when lifting and moving, obviously. 

 

As house is a ski lease, not supposed to use de-icer on steps.  Tried sand but not enough of it to form non-slid surface.  Appreciate the plywood/carpet idea.  That's been suggested elsewhere.

It is a full flight so I'm thinking the ramp would have to really extend out to be workable.  No back issues so far but I don't' want to create any either.  We will practice on dry steps and If that doesn't work well, I may just have to leave her home.  Really hate to do that (though she keeps hubby company evenings and the pet care place loves her because she's SO mellow!), but if best...

post #10 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

On one of the pet sites, I noticed a telescoping ramp that goes to 87" -- might work ok depending on the house.

Thanks for checking seg!  I keep looking at those sites too.  I was about to order a bike trailer for dogs until Henry asked me to check shipping weight....40 pounds, i.e. total weight 110 pounds.....maybe I need to workout more!  I can certainly pull a fully packed ebag up 3 flights of stairs....but that's probably 50 pounds when you think about airline guidelines.

post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pete View Post

how many steps?   If 3,4 or 5 perhaps a handy ripped pc of plywood and carpeted will work.  you can either fasten it with a few screws or set it up where you just tip it on side when not in use (small triangle of wood at base/end to keep from sliding out)

 

I think the harness is a great idea, somewhat making her into a suitcase : )

 

If I could only figure out how to turn her into a backpack!??!

post #12 of 28

How much do you love that old dog?

 

th_dunno-1[1].gif
 

 

Perhaps another thousand dollars could make one weather resistant for outdoor stairs?

post #13 of 28
Thread Starter 

1000

 

Is this a face that you could say no to?  We adopted her at age 10 (she was spayed at age 10....so they speculate she was a backyard puppy producer).

Clearly, she deserves all the spoiling she can get in her later years??  But, sadly, adding a moving chair to a ski lease wouldn't work......

post #14 of 28

A stair-climbing handcart/fridgecart.  There's dozens of models, one of which should be adaptable to platform for your dog to lie/sit on.

Just google up some images.

post #15 of 28
We've got a 100 lb dog whose back legs are failing. I'm getting lots of weightlifting exercise to get him in and out of the car. Just tried out this rear harness. Works great.
post #16 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DesiredUsername View Post

We've got a 100 lb dog whose back legs are failing. I'm getting lots of weightlifting exercise to get him in and out of the car. Just tried out this rear harness. Works great.
 
Just got the harness we ordered, so I can see how it works.  Thanks for letting me know you're having success with it!
post #17 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

A stair-climbing handcart/fridgecart.  There's dozens of models, one of which should be adaptable to platform for your dog to lie/sit on.

Just google up some images.

 

 

I think this may be the most workable solution of all........what if I put her in a crate and carry her up the steps with a handtruck?  We already have a collapsible handtruck (for me to carry loads around).  Those stair climbing handcarts are super impressive.....never knew they existed.  May need to thoroughly look at prices/models to find one because that would make the process virtually labor-free!  Thank you for mentioning Ghost!!

post #18 of 28

The harness should be fine as your dog likely only needing a little added assistance, not all her weight lifted, photo makes sense that rear needs most.  

 

She's quite adorable, so what's her name?   Our 15+ yr old basenji has had some issues of late, she's only 21 lbs so she gets carried up the stairs, but can do it em if needed.

 

Is it ground level to 3 steps up to a landing, then 12 to the door?  

 

being cheap you maybe the harness with a ramp on the stairs would be the simple solution if needed especially if as others noted, you use a purchased folding ramp.  plywood wise, you can likely get by with a thin outdoor or painted 1/4 or 3/8 inch provided the wood will rest on each steps toe.  At 12 steps, standard rise run your at around 12-14 foot length, so a single sheet ripped would be sufficient.

 

I always thought Room With a View was cool for the basket used for the little dog,   Being a fan of Rube Goldberg, you can rig up a counter weighted cloth line pulley basket or buy an old lift and chair!  Kamen Industries had the chair climbing wheelchair but at $22K .. maybe cheaper to an assistant when visiting!  smile.gif

 

Labs, Goldens, bigger pooches have hind leg issues, my neighbor had his black lab worked on to resolve issues.

 

not promoting as you have one ... but in looking found this harness in Colorado!    http://www.dogliftharness.com/?gclid=CNmyxcz10rQCFao7MgodAUAANA

post #19 of 28

The only possible problem I see with the hind-quarter harness is that it still relies on the dog putting weight on and walking with its two front legs.  Ordinarily, that's fine, but since the steps in the OP's case are icy, the dog could still slip on its front paws, landing on it's chin or slipping down the steps around the OP, being restrained only by the hind-quarter harness.

 

The senior dog I had years ago had pretty severe degenerative disc disease, which made the jarring of a fall very painful.  He had to be lifted with his spine more or less straight, so the harness I had was like a canvas firewood carrier, except with longer handles.  The canvas bottom extended from his front armpits to the top of his hind legs, and the sides went up to about the top of his back.  The handles came together in a velcro grip 1-2' up and it was lifted just exactly like a suitcase.

 

The advantage was that it was quick to whip under him, easy to use, and you could still let him walk under his own power while holding it.  If he started to struggle or slipped, you still have a hold of the handles, so you could just take up the tiny amount of slack really quick and lift the dog just enough to prevent him from going down.  Of course, you can flat-out carry the dog, too.  That gets heavy after awhile, though....

 

I'd put up a pic, but I gave it to my Sister a couple of years ago for her old dog.

post #20 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thanks much everyone for suggestions and help.  Here is a better picture of Carmen:

 

 

1000

 

Skierish, the harness I just got supports both front and back.  (sorry problems uploading photo) and I also got boots so her paws wouldn't slip

but it may all be moot as husband thinks best thing for Carmen is to leave her home this season and, if doable next season, find a place without

outdoor steps (too bad this year's ski lease otherwise very nice house/people, etc). 

post #21 of 28
Beautiful old puppy!
post #22 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thanks!  We think so!

post #23 of 28

Since you posted in Humor and Fun Stuff perhaps a Cow-Ta-Pult?duck.gif

 

 

Our last old timer (12 year old hound dog) got carried lots of places before we had to take him for his "last ride"frown.gif.  Spoil the old timer for as long as you can.  They've served you well.

post #24 of 28
Thread Starter 

My husband keeps talking about a pulley system....but he's joking!  She is very dear to us, that's for sure!  I miss having her with me on trips to the ski lease.  She's been my backseat co-pilot.  Last time I left, she was poking her nose out the door as if to say....."What......you're leaving without me?".  But those steps are stressful for her.....that's clear too!

post #25 of 28
Whatever method you decide to try, keep in mind that your dog has to able to 'work with' the system. You can the most expensive and elegant setup in the world, but if your dog balks when using it, then it will be self defeating... Yes, one can train any dog to tolerate anything, but I think that in this phase of her life, you probably don't want to spend a lot of time training... In my experience, some kind of sling that you use to elevate a dog's hips/pelvis works best. You can make them or you can buy them; at my animal hospital we just sling a towel under the dog's belly and hoist up the hind end -- all dogs tolerate this well. If her hind end is failing and her front end is strong, then this will be enough to get her to walkp up stairs or a ramp.
post #26 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thanks bb!  We need to find some steps to practice on with the harness received in mail the other day!  In the meantime, she's getting lots of attention at home with the husband.

post #27 of 28

i pondered a nice cloth line as in the cities where they're on pulleys, then a basket ... her own personal gondola but ....

 

I figure the sling should be fine, I like Skierish's note on spine being straight as it's good to keep in mind.   keep us posted any progress, with luck all she needs is a bit of stability with a bit of weight off loading.  It may not take much to greatly aid her up some stairs, if not ... I'm certain some other ideas can come forth!

post #28 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pete View Post

i pondered a nice cloth line as in the cities where they're on pulleys, then a basket ... her own personal gondola but ....

 

I figure the sling should be fine, I like Skierish's note on spine being straight as it's good to keep in mind.   keep us posted any progress, with luck all she needs is a bit of stability with a bit of weight off loading.  It may not take much to greatly aid her up some stairs, if not ... I'm certain some other ideas can come forth!

Thanks Pete!  I appreciate everyone's suggestions and concern!

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