Fido Pro(tection) is a small team of dedicated outdoorsy people whose mission is to help dogs and their owners stay safe while on adventures. Paul Hoskinson founded the company after he needed to carry his 65 lbs dog out in his backpack with a leg injury. The incident made him realize that the already traumatic experience could have ended very differently if he is unable to carry the dog - which is why he created the Airlift!
The Fido Pro Airlift Emergency Dog Rescue Sling is a one-piece sling with four holes for the legs. This packable and lightweight carry-out harness comes in a small stuff sack so you can easily keep it in your backpack. It only weighs 8-9.5 oz, depending on the size.
It comes in M, L, and XL size to fit medium and large dogs. In addition, the Airlift XL-2 Package includes accessories to convert the XL size Airlift into a two-person, assisted carry system for extra-large dogs. One person still needs to be the primary carrier, but the other can support them on steep terrain and take over some load when standing up.
You can order the Shoulder Padding separately for $25, but the XL-2 package already includes two. They fit over the shoulder straps and only weigh 1 oz.
The carry bag itself has detailed instructions on them - even small images showing how the sling should look, which was super helpful in figuring out the right way to put it on Mia.
The sling has marks on it showing which way is the front/back and inside/outside. This again might seem trivial at home but was tremendously helpful while figuring out the setup on a cold and windy day.
The material is a very thin, breathable pack cloth that is flexible enough not to cause any chafing for the dog. They use a lightweight, 1.5 inches wide polypropylene webbing and The YKK buckles, which are durable and robust enough to carry heavy loads.
When we received ours, it already came with a tiny hole covered with a bit of tape. The material seems to be some kind of ripstop because the hole never extended or caused issues so far.
They use a unique V-strap system that provides eight-points-of-contact which means the Y-shaped-straps attach to the webbing frame and cloth body using eight points along with the webbing frame. The sternum strap also helps to narrow the shoulder straps and prevent them from sliding off. The sling is wider at the front and narrower at the back to provide an ergonomic and safe fit for most dogs.
The Airlift holds the US Utility Patent Number 10,932,438, and it is made in Colorado, USA.
Airlift's one-piece design makes using it easier, but the lack of adjustment options around the dog can also potentially cause issues with circulation if it doesn't fit the dog well. For example, Mia is a reasonably long dog compared to her chest circumference, which caused the front of the Medium harness to sit pretty low on her shoulders (see below).
We also received their bigger size (large) to check if that would fit her better, but that was too large to support her safely. When walking on rugged terrain, she started sliding out head first. This was still fixable with setting the shoulder straps somewhat shorter on that side to keep her from sliding, but the Large sling altogether didn't provide a secure fit like the Medium did (see Large below).
As far as I'm aware, there aren't any researches on the ideal weight support for dogs in these carry harnesses, so I asked Dr. Landry's opinion on how they should fit a dog.
I was mainly concerned about the chest section sitting low across Mia's shoulders. This would be a problem with regular harness designs, but Dr. Laundry wasn't concerned about it since the weight distribution is pretty even across the dog - most of the weight-bearing section being in the middle of the dog's body anyways. The role of the neck/shoulder section is primarily to stop the dog from sliding out.
Dr. Landry also raised an interesting point that I hadn't considered before. Having the front section fit higher on the neck could cut the circulation if the dog is unconscious or just hanging its head for any other reason. So from this perspective, an emergency carry-out harness sitting low on the dog's shoulder could be actually better - as long as it is not cutting circulation anywhere.
The Airlift was the most straightforward rescue harness to set up between the four different rescue harness options we tested. Since there aren't many adjustment points all around, and the front/back, inside/outside is marked on the harness itself, it is straightforward to put it on the dog. The only thing I wish they would have is a loose buckle on the back of the dog - not to bear any weight, just so the sling is not falling to the ground if you let go of the straps for a second.
Having a simple sling design also means there isn't much room to customize the fit. The Airlift's leg holes are relatively big and offer three sizes covering most medium-large dogs, but it will still not work for all. A slightly larger design can still work to carry a dog, but a somewhat smaller sling can cut into the legs and cause issues with circulation.
Another con for the one-piece design is that it can be hard to put on the dog if they are seriously injured or unable to stand up since you need to pull the legs through the holes.
We wrote a separate article comparing the Airlift to the other three emergency carry-out systems on the market, that you can check out.
To summarize the main points here: the Airlift was the second most packable emergency harness. It also seems to be the middle ground between its two competitors in fitting: it doesn't provide as much adjustability as The Back Country, but its sizing and bigger leg holes make it easier to fit than the incredibly packable Pack-A-Paw.
The Fido Pro Airlift is a very well-made, easy-to-use carry-out harness. I can't emphasize the latter enough: having a sling that's easy to set up without needing to read a step-by-step guide can decrease one's stress so much in an emergency. Again, the only thing I would change is adding a small buckle or snap solution to the back to hold the two sides on the dog when there is no upward pressure on the straps. This would make getting it in position and gathering other gear much more manageable.
It packs down small enough that it can stay in your backpack, and you don't have to think about it (hopefully never). Even though it is lightweight, it feels robust, durable and provides excellent support for the dog.
You can buy the Fido Pro's products on their website.
Many of you asked Mia's measurements to better understand the different products’ fit. Your best chance of finding a good fitting gear is always to measure (and remeasure) your dog. Even we grab the measuring tape before getting a new product - even though we tested a lot of them, and have a good feeling of her size by now.
I share her measurements below, but don't go ahead and order the same size just because your dog is similar to Mia ;)
• Shoulder height: 19.5 inches (50 cm)
• Weight: 37-44 pounds (17-20 kg)
• Widest chest circumference (where the most harness would have the chest strap): 25-26 inches (63-65 cm)
• Neck circumference for collars: 15-16 inches (38-40 cm)
• Back lengths: 22 inches (56 cm)