Gear + Gadgets: Giving dogs a leg (or more) up

Ruffwear Web Master Harness
Ruffwear Web Master Harness

Canine companions can be great company on road trips, but injuries and aging can hinder their mobility — including the perhaps once-simple act of jumping in and out of the car. Luckily for Fido — and your own vulnerable back — a new breed of dog harnesses is strategically designed to help (you) boost the burden.

Take the Ruffwear Web Master Harness (please). Originally designed to help super-fit dogs scale steep unstable terrain, the Web Master has been tweaked to also help dogs with physical challenges — and their humans — manage more mundane activities.

The redesigned system of padded straps and handles, strategically placed for balance and load dispersion, helps you help your buddy ascend and descend steps, get in and out of cars and just plain walk awhile when joints get jittery.

Once you’ve measured your dog carefully to choose the right size harness, five points of adjustment, cushioned by foam-padded chest and belly straps, help fine tune the fit. Two points of leash connection, fore and aft of the padded lift-handle, improve efficiency in varying situations. The Web Master Harness is a great mobility aid for challenged — but not seriously feeble — dogs. Ditto for their human handlers.

Ruffwear Web Master Harness, in red or black and in five sizes, is $59.95 at