I’ve been hiking with my Dachshund for over 15 years and one of the most important first aid considerations for me is how I will get my dog out if she can’t walk out by herself.
That’s why I always carry some type of dog emergency rescue sling.
In this article, I discuss the importance of having an emergency evacuation plan, and talk about which slings I think are the best for Dachshunds.
I worked for a large outdoor retailer for many years, and am a self professed gear snob, so I really know how to evaluate gear and put it to the test.
Why Carrying an Emergency Dog Rescue Sling is Important
Despite taking every precaution, accidents can still happen. Every new situation can lead to an unforeseen injury.
I remember the first time it happened to us and how worried I was. But everything worked out ok because I had something I could use as a sling to carry him out.
Although I had been hiking with my Dachshund for years, I had never hiked above treeline where it was rocky for miles with him.
When we returned to camp, Chester seemed fine but he was reluctant to walk over to his food bowl at dinner time, which was not at all like him because was so food motivated.
After panicking that it was his back and ruling that out, I discovered that the tiny bits of shale covering the trail had rubbed the space in between his paw pads raw.
He was completely fine in all respects except that he wasn’t going to be able to hike the 8 miles out on his own because his feet hurt.
There was no way that I was going to be able to carry him in my arms for that distance either.
It’s amazing how heavy 15 lbs feels after even a mile!
Luckily, I found something in my pack that I could use as an emergency sling.
That emergency sling turned what could have been a disaster into a no-problem-we-got-this experience.
Top reasons you may need to carry your dog out
Paw pad scrapes and cuts are the #1 trail injury for dogs that hike.
However, there are other reasons your dog may not be able to hike out on their own including:
- Heatstroke or heat exhaustion
- Ate something poisonous
- Allergic reaction to a bug bite
- A back injury or IVDD flareup
- Injured by another dog or wildlife
- Bite from a venomous snake
What to Look for in an Emergency Dog Rescue Sling for Dachshunds
If you are hiking, it’s likely that you wore a backpack.
That means that you will want to use an emergency carry out solution that you can wear on your front at the same time.
Finding one that is comfortable for you is ideal, too, since you might be wearing it for miles.
At a minimum, you’ll want one with adjustable straps so you can dial the fit in as best that you can.
It’s ideal if the shoulder and straps that cross your back aren’t too bulky so they don’t get compressed by your backpack and dig into your back and shoulders.
Since you will be carrying the dog emergency sling your pack in addition to all of your other supplies, you will also want something that isn’t bulky and is lightweight.
There are several dog emergency rescue slings on the market today. However, the majority of those are made for medium to large dogs.
Besides being a challenge to find one small enough for a Dachshund, there are other Dachshund-specific considerations.
Primarily, given the breed’s genetic predisposition to back problems, ideally, an emergency sling will allow a Dachshund to lay horizontally (flat) and keep their spine straight.
It must also be long enough but narrow enough to fully support their body since they are skinnier than a “normal” dog of the same length would be.
The Best Emergency Dog Rescue Slings for Dachshunds
Ruff Rescue Gear Pup Traveler Sling
The Pup Traveler dog sling from Ruff Rescue Gear is my #1 choice for emergency evacuation sling.
While not completely IVDD safe in my book, it’s about the safest you are going to get for a Dachshund as it allows the dog to lay flat, supporting the spine in a natural position.
My two dislikes about it is that it curves a little around my body, thus bending the spine slightly sideways, and it doesn’t allow a dog to shift around until they are comfortable.
While wearing it, I frequently supported Gretel’s body and legs with my hands though and she did not seem uncomfortable.
That felt effortless compared to carrying her in my arms so I was confident I would be able to carry her as long as needed to hike her out safely.
She was quite relaxed being carried in it actually as you can see in this quick video review.
Highlights of the Pup Traveler Sling are:
- Fits dogs up to 30 lbs
- Is quick to put on (once you figure out the strap system – definitely practice at home first)
- Comes with a stuff sack and weights only 10 oz
- Padded Shoulder & Back Supports: Adjustable straps give you ergonomic support for easy carrying.
- Breathable Materials: Prevent you or your pup from overheating
- It’s designed to wear on your front so you can wear your hiking backpack at the same time.
REI Flash 18 Backpack
The REI Flash 18 pack was my saving grace when my dog hurt his paw pads and I had to carry him out.
We were on a backpacking trip and I had brought along the REI Flash 18 pack to use as a small daypack for side trips from camp.
It’s not ideal to use as an emergency sling, but it is nice that it can be dual-purpose when you already need to bring a small daypack and weight is an issue (it only weighs 9.5 oz).
Although the Flash 18 pack is meant to wear on the back, it can be worn on the front by putting it on backwards and fastening the sternum strap behind your back.
It’s most definitely not ideal for a Dachshund spine because your dog will have to sit upright, putting pressure on the hips, and the lack of support can cause a slight slump and a curve in the spine.
It’s certainly better than carrying your Dachshund out in your arms though and, depending on the emergency, pressure on the hips and spine may be the least of your worries.
Even though Dachshunds are small dogs, it’s still very important to have an emergency plan for them when hiking.
There are many different scenarios that can result in your dog not being able to walk out of the woods on their own.
Many people think, “my dog is small, I will just carry him” but you would be surprised how heavy even 10 lbs gets after a mile of hiking, especially over uneven terrain.
If you are in a place where you need to use your hands to scramble down a slope or ledge, but have an injured dog you need to carry, you will be in a very bad situation if you don’t have a hands-free way to do it.
So, please, I implore you: If you hike with your dog, always carry an emergency dog sling.
About the Author
Hi, I’m Jessica. I’ve been studying the Dachshund breed since 2007, owned 3 of my own, and shared in the lives of thousands of others through their owner’s stories. When I’m not sharing what I know on this blog, you can find me hiking, camping, and traveling with my adventurous wiener dogs.