Over the years and dogs, we've tried a variety of devices designed to aid older, infirmed or disabled dogs get up, walk, and just get about. Since we've always had BIG dogs (Rotties, Newfoundland, and five Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs), we needed something strong enough to handle their weight.
There is only one device that keeps emerging from our "dog closet" now when our bigger, older guys need assistance. It's the Web Master™ Harness.
Originally designed to assist search-and-rescue organizations, this multi-use harness allows you to lift your dog up and over obstacles, in and out of a vehicle, or out of harm's way. It's also great for rehabilitation. Houdini dogs that manage to get out of traditional harnesses will find it nearly impossible to escape the Web Master.
I first got this when Atlas was having trouble getting up from the floor. He was old, weak in the hindquarters, and it was uncomfortable for him when I tried to grab him around the middle and help him to his feet. I ordered him a black Web Master, and he wore it almost nonstop for the last several months of his life. The handle on the back makes it easy as pie to lift even a large dog from the floor and help him get his feet under him again. It was a great aid when trying to get him in and out of vehicles or even up and down small stairs.
More recently I used it with Kosmo, our last Swissy. At nearly 13 years of age, Kosmo started wearing out. When he couldn't quite find enough traction or strength to stand up, I put the Web Master on him, and I could easily life his 100 pounds to his feet, without hurting myself or Kosmo.
These Web Masters come in black or red, in sizes XXS to L. They run about $49.95 and are available from REI, Altrec, or Ruffwear.com. They're expensive...but the next time your dog needs help getting up and you can't lift him with your arms, you'll be glad you spent $50 on this harness!