Dog Support Sling Made from a T-Shirt
Dolly was fourteen years old when she began to have trouble walking. One day, she collapsed in the yard and couldn't get up on her own. The vet told us that she had a malignant tumor on her spleen that would probably not do well with surgery at her age.
She fought hard to get back on her feet after a few days in the vet hospital, returning home with an intravenous port in her foreleg. That made it easier to administer medication during her recuperation. As time went on, her condition worsened and her instability increased. At the point where she couldn't make it down the porch stairs leading to the yard we built a ramp leading from the deck to the back yard.
Cookie at Fifteen
Even with the handicap ramp, our senior dog needed help to stay on her feet when it came time for walkies outdoors. The solution was a support sling that would allow her to walk around without the fear of her falling down.
Making the sling took about two hours to cut, assemble and sew the cotton support made from an old T shirt. Instructions for making a sling are explained below.
Dolly and Cookie in Younger Days
Items You'll Need for the Project
Start with an old T-Shirt, preferably a size large. From the fabric store, you'll need about a yard of cotton twill. This is inexpensive and sold by the yard. Ask the clerk where to locate the twill if you have trouble finding it. You can also use fabric handles from a discarded item like an old canvas bag.
You'll want a good pair of scissors and a marking pencil, a ruler, white thread. A steam iron helps when folding the fabric but isn't essential.
Put your basic sewing skills to use on that old sewing machine to create this simple project.
- A Size Large T Shirt
- 1 yard of cotton twill
- Marking Pencil
- Sewing machine
- Steam Iron
Step One and Two
- Place an old T shirt flat on a work surface. Using a ruler and a marking pen, lightly draw a guideline across the shirt under the armpits. Cut across the guideline through both layers of the shirt to separate the arm section from the body.
- Cut off the bottom hem in the same manner leaving a tubular section about 16" from top to bottom.
- Cut along the side fold of the section to create a long narrow piece of fabric.
- Using a basting stitch, sew along the edge of the fabric about 1/4" from the edge.
- Turn the edge under along the stitch using a steam iron.
- Stitch along the cut edge of the folded fabric to form a facing.
- Turn the edge under again and sew the hem close to the edge to form a hem.
Repeat this step to make a hem on the opposite side of the fabric along the long edge.
Step Three - Cut along the outer edge of the fabric tube.
Create a Long Strip of Fabric
Steps 4, 5, 6 - Stitch the long edge and fold it under.
Step 7 and Step 8
Step 9 Fold lengthwise and iron.
9. Fold the fabric in half lengthwise and iron along the fold. Fold each half again lengthwise along either side of the original fold creating a fan shape.
10. Stitch across the folded end of the fabric and trim across the edge to make it even.
11. Cut two pieces of cotton twill about eighteen (18) inches long. You'll get two pieces out of one yard of twill.
12. Place the ends of one piece of twill across one end of the folded fabric creating a loop and stitch securely to the fabric.
Step 10 - Stitch Across the Ends
Step 11 - Trim the Excess
Step 12 - Stitch the Handles to the Fabric.
Dog Support Sling - The Finished Project
Using the Support Sling
During Dolly's slow convalescence after being hospitalized, we tried supporting her by holding a bath towel or a pillowcase underneath her. These items were hard to hold on to while she went on her daily walks.
With the aid of the dog sling, we comfortably stabilized Dolly so she could take care of business without falling down. She quickly adjusted to the process where we slipped one end of the support under her middle section and pulled the handles together above her back.
This machine washable sling is easy to make and requires only basic sewing skills. You'll spend less than two dollars on the cotton twill and thread. The reward for your time will be your dog's unfailing gratitude.
This device works best for a female dog.
Tip: Always be gentle when using the sling. Don't try to lift the dog with the support. Instead, place it under the dog's hind end once they are standing.
Caution: Never leave your pet in the sling without direct supervision.
Dolly, Buddy and Cookie
Cookie and her Friend Tony
Rate This Project - Five Stars for Easy - One Star for Difficult
Our Aging Dog
Cookie, our senior dog and her five year old companion, Tony formed a lasting bond over the past years since Tony joined our family. Cookie served as Dolly's nursemaid. Now, she has Tony to keep watch over her.
Cookie is suffering the debilitating effects of Cushing's Disease, caused by a tumor on the pituitary gland. Although her strength is waning, we have experienced surprising results with a product available online from Pet Wellbeing called Adrenal Harmony Gold. The homeopathic remedy, in the form of liquid drops, is not a cure but it has proven helpful to Cookie as she struggles with the effects of the disease.
Our veterinarian is impressed with her improvement and even recommended it for another of his canine patients. Using the product in her food has helped to reduce her urination frequency. She got to the point where she was going outside five times an hour. Now she can wait a few hours between times. Her level of anxiety is also reduced and her hair has started growing back in places where huge patches of fur had fallen out.
Getting OlderClick thumbnail to view full-size
The time will come when she can no longer support herself, but for now, she has taken to this change in her routine with her usual optimism and good spirit. And for her, every day is a special day.
"Dog and Butterfly" - Heart
© 2015 Peg Cole
More by this Author
Cookie suffers the symptoms of this debilitating disease that affects canines, felines, horses and humans. Described are symptoms and treatment options for dogs.
This active puppy developed a common health condition that easily could have been fatal. My experience with the signs, symptoms and remedy that saved his life.
When harvest brings in the butternut squash, it's time fire up the oven and bake this delicious vegetable in pies or serve it as a simple, nutritious side dish.