Frequently Asked Questions for Dog Carts
My pet has some use of the rear legs; will using a wheelchair encourage him/her to not use the rear legs?
Absolutely NOT! Pets that have limited use of the rear legs benefit by using the wheelchair as they enable the pet to exercise for a longer duration of time and more intensely. If your pet has a degenerative condition, it is best to use a wheelchair before your pet loses its ability to walk on its own. This will keep your pet in better physical condition. Wheelchairs also make an excellent rehabilitation tool- if your pet is recovering from surgery call to ask about our leasing option for use during rehabilitation.
Will my pet be able to urinate/defecate while in its wheelchair?
Yes! The saddle support system of a support Sling cart is designed to allow your pet to urinate and defecate while in the wheelchair or when used separately.
Dogs pee and poop standing up like a horse, and for dogs who are disabled, they are very happy to know that they are not going to land in their own waste any more. Some rare and very fastidious dogs may resist using the cart for toileting - those who might regard the cart as furniture, but with proper encouragement these dogs usually come around. The cart does make expressing the dog's bladder easy, as they are resting on their bladders in the cart. Some dogs piddle as they walk in the cart.
The most challenging carts to design are for intact males. We position the weld so that they are sitting between their testicles and their penis, on the pubic bone. The owner may need to manually arrange the position of the testicles so that they are not sitting on them, depending on their particular dog's physiognomy. We are of the opinion that the owners of such dogs are far more sensitive about their dog's comfort than the male dogs themselves - even those who appear to be squished, do not seem to be uncomfortable.
The male dachshund we work with has regrown his testicles since he was neutered, and his little balls are undamaged by being in contact with the saddle.
Can other pets besides dogs use a pet wheelchair?
Yes. Cats. ferrets, rabbits, and other pets use wheelchairs
Will my pet be able to run, and play in the sand on the beach?
Yes. Absolutely! As long as the rest of the animal's body can support it. There's a question on the order form about terrain that is used to help determine the proper size of the wheels.
What if my pet is weak in the forelimbs?
If your pet is weak in the front legs and just needs your assistance for short walks, or help going up or down stairs, you may want to consider a harness, sling, or rear end support leash. These are ideal for giving an older pet just the right amount of assistance.
Why do you need measurements?
We use the measurements to build a wheelchair that provides a custom fit tailored to your pet. Measurements are not always accurate, which is why we allow for adjustments that can be easily made. If we feel your measurements are out of proportion for the weight and breed of your pet, we may ask you to re-take them in order to provide your pet with the best possible fit.
How will I know if my pet is fitted in his/her wheelchair properly?
We will send you complete instructions, including step by step photos. We also will evaluate any photos you care to send of your pet in his/her wheelchair - this is done as a courtesy for our customers. If you have any doubts about the correct fit of your pet's wheelchair, take advantage of this free service.
Can my pet lay down or sit while in the wheelchair?
Some smaller dogs can lie down while in their wheelchair, however, all pets must be taken out of the wheelchair to rest... Additionally, we recommend that you never leave your pet in the wheelchair unsupervised.
Short-legged dogs like dachsies, corgies, and bassetts can plop down on their front legs and be quite comfortable "lying down" in a cart. They don't have very far to go, and if you give them a cushion in a sunny spot in the room, you'll find them at rest in their wheels. However, non-dwarf breeds can't do this, and for them the cart is for exercsie only. As for one cartmaker's claim (Dogmobile) that dogs can lie down in their carts, we have never met a dog who can operate the spring that releases the cart to a down position, nor does the cart rise at the dog's will.
How long will it take to build my pet's wheelchair?
Different manufacturers have different lead times depending on the complexity of the cart and the time of year.
How long will it take for my pet to adjust to using his/her wheelchair?
Most pets adapt quite readily to the freedom a wheelchair provides them, the time each pet takes to adapt to using the wheels varies - some pets take to using the wheelchairs instantly, others may need a few days to adjust and occasionally there are pets that need even longer.
What if I have other questions regarding pet wheelchairs or products?
Please ask them! We want you to make an informed decision as this an investment in your pet's health. Email us. We'll be glad to help.
Q. I have a 3lb female Min Pin. She is still at the vet recovering from a HBC accident. She received a concussion that possibly will leave paralysis in the front legs. I looked at your products, but only saw carts/wheelchairs for the rear legs. She is very tiny and I feel that conventional wheelchairs will be too heavy. Do you have any suggestions?
A. It would be best to get an evaluation from the vet to make sure that the rear legs are 100% functioning and strong before being able to determine what type of chair the dog is a candidate for.
This dog may end up being a candidate for a Quad Chair- we've done Quad Chairs for pets as small as ferrets. Its pretty rare for accidents to leave the front paralyzed with no neurological damage in the hind legs so that is why I question the rear leg strength and function.
If the rear legs are 100% normal in strength/function then a Front End Chair may be a possibility.
Q.Was your dog able to swim in the cart? And lay down? Do you have to put the cart on when the dog goes outside and then remove it for inside? Or does it stay on always?
Brenda Becker and Rosie, a 50#, 11 year old Black Lab (mostly) who has been struck with Degenerative Myelopathy and still loves swimming.
A.Yes, dogs do swim in their wheelchairs however this is not anything we promote but people let their dogs do it anyway and I let Ben in his wheelchair in the water but he only likes to wade in it to cool off). I have received several photos of dogs swimming in their wheelchairs, the tires allow it to float really well. This is something that no one should ever allow their pet to do on its own without supervision of course and it would be a good idea to be a strong swimmer in case you need to help your pet out.
2) Some dogs lay down in the wheelchairs though the chairs are not designed for this. The dogs that usually lay down are smaller dogs though larger dogs will rest their front legs up on an elevated surface the owner provides however I do not recommend this for any length of time as it does not allow the pet to fully rest and its easier for the pet to rest when out of the wheelchair.
3) I do recommend taking the wheelchair on and off, especially for larger breed dogs as the wheelchairs are not to stay on always.
Our wheelchairs are easy to use and if the pet has been given enough exercise when outside they are usually ready to get out when they come inside. Dogs that begin to show nuisance behavior (excessive barking, whining when you leave the room because they can not follow you due to their disability, inability to sleep through the night) usually do so out of boredom and lack of exercise. Clients usually see a major improvement within a short amount of time as the pet comes in from after using the wheelchair and is quite content and happy to rest on its bed. It is not unusual for me to receive letters thanking us for the owners finally being able to get a good nights sleep because the pet is tired enough to sleep through the night. Other benefits of course is that the additional exercise can help stimulate sluggish bowels to keep the pet more on schedule.
Q. How do you get an 80 lb. German Shepherd into the cart—by yourself? Also, she seems to 'wad up' in the cart—it seems to cut her into.
A. How you will put your shepherd into the cart depends on whether or not she can still stand some OR is completely down in the rear legs. If she is completely down in the rear legs, put the harness on her first. Leave saddle attached to wheelchair, then put the wheelchair so that is down behind her, side arms touching ground, lift her hind legs up and guide them into each leg hole. Then clip the harness into place. There is a photo in the instruction packet you would have received from us of me doing this for an 85 pound shepherd so please refer to that photo for a visual to see where to grab her legs at and how the chair is positioned.
If she can stand, even momentarily, its much easier. Put the saddle and harness on, help her into standing position, bring chair up behind her, buckle saddle and harness onto frame.
From your description it sounds like you need to have a fitting evaluation done and I'd be happy to help you with that- send in by regular mail or email photos of her in the wheelchair. One side shot taken straight on showing all of her and all of the wheelchair, another looking down over the top of her back. From there I can assist you in making any adjustment changes to the frame/straps so that we know that she is all set with the fitting.
Q. What's the difference between a quad cart and training wheels?
A. The Training wheels are not on castors. Castors, used on the front of a Quad cart, allow for a better turning radius as the wheel, like the front wheel of a shopping cart, can swivel completely around. Usually the training wheels are used for pets that have had an embolism and only one side of the body is affected and they need just a little help on that side to stabilize them. On a saddle sling cart the training wheel connects to the pets harness, a Quad Saddle sling Chair has a front support sling.
Adjusting the Saddle Sling cart: The height is adjustable on most wheelchairs in two locations, wheel placement and at the vertical posts. Saddle Sling carts use telescoping tubing. Simply remove the screws, slide up a notch then replace the screws. The length is adjustable at the side arms and telescoping tubing. The tools needed: Phillips screw driver and a crescent wrench (or a nut driver).
The length and height adjusts +/- on each side of the given measurements so that if the pet is taller in height/shorter in length etc than the measurements given to us, the wheelchair will adjust to accommodate the error in measurements.
When you're done, go to the dog wheelchair page to review the available options.