CareProper HandlingHow to Lift a Dog With a Towel: The Sling Method

How to Lift a Dog With a Towel: The Sling Method

The best way to lift a dog with a towel is to use the towel as a sling. Fold the towel in half (longways) and then fold it again. Place the towel under the dog’s stomach while they’re laying down and pull the ends up to slowly lift the dog.

Whether your dog is injured, has special needs, or just needs a way to get around, high-tech and bulky options aren’t always possible. 

Not only that, but a dog may get injured somewhere where a high-tech option to carry them isn’t available, or maybe your dog is simply too heavy to be lifted in a crate. 

Regardless of the circumstance, knowing how to lift a dog with a towel is a necessary skill to learn if you’re a dog-owner. 

You never know when it will come in handy, whether a big dog needs help with mobility, a smaller dog is injured, or a crate isn’t available to you. 

Read on to find out the best ways to lift a dog with a towel in case of emergency. 

Why Would You Need to Pick Up a Dog With a Towel?

There are many reasons you may need to pick up a dog with a towel. 

One of the main reasons is to use it as a replacement for a lifting harness or rear support for your dog. Injured dogs or dogs with special needs may require rear support or a harness to lift them. 

A rear support is used to help spread weight evenly throughout your dog by giving them support in their rear, relieving stress on their muscles and joints. 

This is especially important if a dog has a physical disability, injury, or arthritis. Reducing stress on their joints can help them become mobile again. 

A rear support is the preferred way to help your dog while also being convenient for the owner.

A lifting harness works in the same way: it supports your dog’s spine, hips, and joints by pulling on the harness, reducing the weight the dog has to carry. 

It can be used for the same reasons as rear support. It’s especially helpful for everyday tasks for dogs who have different needs or abilities, such as going up and down the stairs or going on a walk.

Both rear supports and lifting harnesses increase your dog’s stability, shielding them from further injury or discomfort. 

No matter the reason, a towel is a versatile option to help you and your dog stay safe. 

How to Prepare Yourself and Your Dog

It’s essential to do your research before attempting to lift your dog in any way. 

Ensure you understand your dog’s specific needs as far as any sensitive spots or injuries to avoid when you pick up your dog. Picking your dog up in the wrong way could lead to further injury or discomfort for you and your dog. 

If you have a larger or heavier dog, it may be necessary to bring some backup. Get a family or friend to help you lift them. Make sure to get close to your dog on the ground and bend your knees, or else you risk injuring your back.

To make sure your dog is compliant and safe, catch them at a time when they’re relaxed. Dogs, especially ones that are prone to nervousness or anxiety, may not react well to being picked up at first.

To protect yourself and keep your dog happy, you need to gain their trust before attempting to lift them up with a towel. 

To gain a dog’s trust, the number one rule is to take things slow. 

You can’t force your dog to trust you, but using positive training methods and doing things you know they enjoy will help build the bond. Don’t pick up your dog before they’re ready.

How to Pick Up Your Dog With a Towel

The best way to pick up a dog with a towel is by using the towel as a sling.

If you’re using the towel as a makeshift lift harness or rear support, it’s important to understand how to do it right so you don’t hurt your dog. 

To begin, fold the towel in half the long way and then fold it again. 

Place the towel under the dog’s stomach while they’re laying down and pull the ends up to slowly lift the dog, being careful not to hurt them. 

You should have enough room to use the ends of the towel like a leash to guide them. 

You can use this makeshift sling to walk your dog, lift them up or down the stairs, or lift them on or off a vehicle. 

If your dog seems unsure or uncomfortable with the sling, let them get used to it before trying to do any activities with it. 

Additional Tips/Tricks

Besides providing support, lifting a dog with a towel using this method has a number of other uses. 

Getting Tired on Walks

If your smaller dog gets tired quickly on walks, keeping a towel in your bag may be a good idea. However, make sure you have the collar and leash just in case they get loose. A towel is not a fool-proof option to keep your dog safe.

Check For Weak Spots

It’s also important to inspect the towel and make sure there are no large holes or weak spots before attempting to lift your dog. Wash the towel beforehand to make sure it’s clean and sanitary for your pup. 


If you keep your dog wrapped in a towel or sling on a hot day, they may be prone to overheating. Know the signs of overheating, such as excessive panting or paw sweat. If this occurs, take the towel off immediately and give your dog plenty of water and time to cool down. 

When lifting your dog, remember to always be safe and take the proper precautions. If attempting to lift a larger dog, get a friend or family member to help you so you don’t hurt the dog or yourself. 

If your dog has any type of medical issue or injury, always consult with your veterinarian before attempting a towel sling or any kind of lift harness. 

Whether you’re using a towel as a sling or simply to carry your dog from one place to another, a towel can be a versatile tool. When done right, it can provide support for your dog and help you give them a better and more mobile life.

Recommended For You

Latest Posts

More article