My husband's 15 year old ACD mix has pretty bad arthritis in her spine. Stenosis has caused quite a bit of atrophy in her hind limbs. She's still happy enough, has a good appetite, etc...so euthanasia is not on the table quite yet. But, she's getting increasingly frustrated at not being able to participate in everything.
She's been having more and more trouble jumping up, even a little bit. My daily routine is to come home from work at 3:30pm, pick up both dogs and then take them along to pick up my son. This afternoon, ACD mix could NOT get her hind end up into the back seat of my car. My husband can lift her hind end for her, but she won't let me do it, she'll bite and snap at me if I do (NOT trying to solve that problem at this late date, it is what it is, she's his dog and pretty much trusts only him for something that might hurt). She tried several times to get in the car and couldn't do it. I used the queue my husband taught her that I'm about to boost her butt for her "Do you need some help?"...she'll then let him do it, but she snarled and snapped at me. So, I had to put her back in the house and go pick up the kid. She was pretty disappointed, she REALLY wanted to go along for the car ride.
I'd like of find a smallish, lightweight, portable ramp for her to solve this problem. My car is low to the ground (it's the smaller Saab wagon). It is a wagon, so I could put a ramp in the "way back" and have it ready to get her in the car on both ends of the trip.
Has anyone seen anything like this? It would need to have pretty good "grippy" footing as her hind feet slip a bit due to weakness.
Will she let you put a towel in front of her hips and so help her up with you pulling on the towel from above, where she can't bite you?
Petsmart and those places have the plastic, folding ramps for dogs and so do online catalogs.
I had a dobie with that problem and no, you don't discuss that with a dog that is hurting and don't want you to touch them and lift them.
If they are already warning you, they really can't help it and it is better to obligate them.
She did let me use a leather horse lead rope to help her up.
Ah, thank you, Bluey...sometimes it takes an outside eye to point out the obvious . Yes, I think putting a towel or something under her hips might work...it would get my hands out the way of a bite and, knowing her as well as I do, she wouldn't necessarily think it was "me" doing something to her. I've never had a medium/large dog live this long (she's right around 50 lbs), so though I knew about the "towel trick", I've never had to apply it.
I had that problem when my 140 pound Boerboel was suffering from osteo sarcoma in his hind leg. Lifting was NOT an option - not his behavior..i just could not lift him. DH made a 8' ramp 20" wide that I covered with a western saddle blanket. I schooled the dog to walk on the ramp when it was flat on the ground and then put it to the back seat of our 4 door one ton truck. (The dog NEVER got into the SUV - He LIKED the truck!) I could put one end of the board on the floor and he'd hobble right up, then I put the ramp in the bed of the truck. You could do the same thing with a hinge in the middle so it would fit in your wagon or use a shorter board so it would fit. The commercial ones I've seen are very expensive...the board and blanket was cheap!!
Be aware that the towel idea may not work. Like your dog, Shadow will bite and snap if we try to help him up the stairs. We tried the towel/blanket method and no go.
He can still get into my car which is low to the ground, but can't do the Highlander any more. I have been thinking about getting a ramp also. They are EXPENSIVE if you buy them new; I would check out Craigs List.
I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry
My brother used an aluminum ramp specifically for his older dog to get around, it was like the Prairie View one on this page, wide for the big dog. I think he got it for a better price than that but that was years ago... Note the other options on this page.
Rough surface to traction, folds into a fat but manageable rectangle, has a hook on one end to snap onto the door latch, whatever. Works well. I'm impatient, so I often just lift my dog inside but it does the job when I use it. It is not very wide, so I spot her going up and down.
Our dogs won't even try the ramps flat on the ground in the yard... sigh... we've gotten pretty good at picking up the back half of the 60 lb lab mix if she gets her front feet up on the edge of the doorframe to the back seat. Back seat is possible, but we'd never be able to get her into a hatchback at this point. Have you tried the back seat instead of the way back? (when you said that I knew you were from Mass! I am the only one in Wisconsin who calls it that!) The first time I ever truly trashed my back was getting a 90 lb Lab out of the back seat of the car after cruciate surgery - she had fallen off the seat and was stuck. If you're carrying kids in the car, you probably can't get one of the back seat hammock things (love ours from Duluth Trading Co) but maybe a doggy seatbelt?