Steady Gives Elderly Dogs a New Leash on Life

Every pet owner dreads the day when their 4-legged friend begins to show the signs of slowing down. Dogs in particular are apt to suffer from hip dysplasia, a condition associated with a steady debilitating trajectory toward immobility, affecting various breeds large and small. Fortunately for the modern canine there are dog-loving designers looking to keep senior dogs happy and moving. Steady is a seatbelt-inspired walking aid for elderly dogs designed to add safe and secure support, while also tracking their movements via digital app.

Small dog in support wheeled walking aid with yellow tube handles and harness, with line graphics showing kinematics of dog limb movement points.

The study of motion regarding the body and limbs, or kinematics, was integral in developing a walking support accessory that aids natural dog movement. The single contact point under the animal’s stomach provides just enough support to allow for walking freely with the owner always safely behind. A brake mechanism also allows the pet owner to stop movement when needed.

Developed by designers Chaewon Lee and Jungmin Park, with the veterinarian expertise of Antonio Pozzi and Dr. Brian Park at the University of Zurich, the team looked beyond existing geriatric mobility solutions like wheel carts and wheelchairs, which have a tendency to tip over easily, for something unencumbered. Instead, Steady is designed around an adjustable height support system and magnetic cloth harness engineered to provide constant and comfortable support.

Hongik University’s Seungha Baek lent additional help in designing the fabric support harness. The strap operates similarly to seat belts in automobiles. With normal steady motion, the harness permits uninhibited movement allowing the dog to pull forward, but if sudden disturbance is registered, the strap tightens.

Harness belt securing mechanism for Steady dog walking aid, unassembled to reveal its design.

Man in black jeans and sweater assembling bright yellow Steady dog walking aid.

Man in black jeans and sweater holding bright yellow Steady dog walking aid handle with one hand.

Steady dog walking aid with dog in harness, with overlay of data graphics about weekly walk distances and limb usage.

To keep tabs on an aging dog’s mobility, Steady also incorporates the aid of an app to analyze and track total distance traveled. What differentiates Steady’s technology compared to something like Tractive is the app’s ability to record the percentage of how much the dog is using its front limbs versus all four legs. The data gathered can be used to inform a veterinarian about whether any walking-related issues have improved or worsened over time.

Person using Steady app to review dog named Barbie's walking analytics and map view of their walks together.

They say an old dog can’t learn new tricks, but we’d argue that the adage seems a lot less true today with the aid of technology like Steady to help your beloved pet companion stay healthier and happier – longer.

Gregory Han is a Senior Editor at Design Milk. A Los Angeles native with a profound love and curiosity for design, hiking, tide pools, and road trips, a selection of his adventures and musings can be found at