5 Things You Must Know Before Buying a Dog Wheelchair

Puppy runs in dog wheelchair

Choosing the right dog wheelchair for your pet doesn’t have to be challenging. Want to become a dog wheelchair expert? Here are five things you need to know before buying a dog wheelchair.

1. How Dog Wheelchairs Work

The Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchair is designed to give your senior or disabled pet get back on their feet. So, your pet gets the exercise they need and back to what’s important, enjoying their family.

It’s never too early to get your dog a wheelchair. If your dog is stumbling, losing their balance or tiring easily it’s time to consider a wheelchair. It’s true that many wheelchair dogs are paralyzed or suffered a traumatic injury but, that’s not the case with every dog. Many wheelchair dogs still walk on all four paws and even stand on their own. The Walkin’ Wheels provides support, allowing your dog to stand upright and get the exercise they so desperately need. Even dogs that can still move their back legs, benefit from using a wheelchair!

Older dogs who tire easily on long walks or whose joint’s ache from arthritis or hip dysplasia can greatly benefit from a wheelchair. The wheelchair supports them from underneath, relieving the stress on their joints which allows your dog to walk with ease! How you dog uses their wheelchair is up to you! Many dogs use the wheelchair every day, while other pets only on days when they need a little extra help.

For dogs recovering from injury or surgery the Walkin’ Wheels can help them get back on their feet faster. A wheelchair can even be a wonderful addition to your dog’s rehabilitation program!

Wheelchairs Help Dogs With:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Arthritis
  • Paralysis
  • DM
  • IVDD
  • Neurological Issues
  • Surgical Recovery
  • Injuries
  • Improve Balance and Stability

2. Choosing the Right Wheelchair for Your Dog

Choosing the right cart for your dog can be overwhelming. How do you know if a dog wheelchair is the right choice for your pet? Luckily, the first step is an easy one, a simple test to help determine if your dog is a good candidate for a wheelchair.

To determine the level of support your dog needs, try this simple towel test:

Depending on your pet’s condition and mobility needs, they may require different levels of support. If your pet can easily work forward with your aid, they need a rear wheel dog wheelchair. If during the towel test your dog can step forward, but their front legs splay outward they need the support of a 4-wheel wheelchair.

Rear Dog Wheelchairs

Rear support wheelchairs are ideal for pets with hind leg weakness, injury or paralysis. The rear wheelchair supports your dog from underneath, providing balance and stability. This allows your dog to stand, walk, run and play again! Pets with completely paralyzed rear legs can use the stirrups to elevate your dog’s rear paws safely off the ground. Preventing injury caused from scraping or dragging feet.

Full Support Wheelchair

A four wheel or quad wheelchair is perfect for dogs who are experiencing weakened limbs in the front and back legs. Your dog’s front legs must be strong enough to drive and steer their quad wheelchair. The Full Support wheelchair is a great option for dog’ with progresses diseases like Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) that will worsen over time.

Adjusting to Life on Wheels

The transition into a wheelchair is an easy one for most pets. Dogs want to be moving and they learn quickly that their wheelchair is going to help them. Even dogs who haven’t ran in months are so happy to be back on their feet that when using their Walkin’ Wheels for the first time, they take off! The transformation is incredible. You can see the joy in their face as they run for the first time in months.

If your dog doesn’t take off running right away, the wheelchair may just need a few minor adjustments to make them more comfortable. If you’re not sure the wheelchair is set up perfectly, snap a few photos and send them to our Wheelchair Experts to review. With a few tweaks and some encouragement from you, your dog will be running around in no time!

Free guide 5 things you need to know before you buy a dog wheelchair

3. Key Wheelchair Features to Consider

Now that you know your dog needs a wheelchair, here are some key wheelchair features to help you select the best dog wheelchair for your pet:


Since dog’s come in all shapes and sizes, it’s important to choose one that can be sized to perfectly fit their needs.

The Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair is available in four frame sizes, Mini, Small, Medium and Large. And can accommodate pets as small as 2 lbs. and as large as 180 lbs. The Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair is fully adjustable with adjustments for width, height, and length.

The Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair frame is constructed of lightweight, durable aluminum. It’s light enough for even the smallest dogs to maneuver with ease and durable enough for your dog to hike up a mountain!

Size is especially important when dealing with large breed dogs. Custom carts can be too big or bulky to travel easily with. Some may not even fit into your car! Choose a wheelchair that can fold flat and easily packed.


Lou Hiking in Wheelchair

Choosing the right wheels can be tough. Air tires or foam wheels? Both wheel styles work well and are great for different reasons. You want to select the wheel that’s the right fit for your (and your pup’s) lifestyle!

Foam Wheels: By far the most popular wheel type! They are made of a dense, rugged foam and are very durable. These wheels can’t be punctured and will never go flat. They are also durable enough to take on any terrain.

Air-Filled Tires: provide a more natural suspension and great for active dogs that like to run, hike and navigate over rougher terrain.

Benefits of a Fully Adjustable Wheelchair

A fully adjustable wheelchair is going to be more versatile. And you might be able to use it for multiple dogs.

The Walkin’ Wheels features push button adjustability. Allowing you to easily adjust the height, length and width, allowing you to fine tune the size to perfectly fit your dog! An adjustable cart gives your dog a customized fit without the custom price.

Will it Adapt to Fit Your Dog’s Needs?

Often mobility loss begins with weakness in a dog’s rear legs and as the condition progresses the dog’s mobility worsens over time. In many cases, the weakness slowly works its way up the spine and eventually impacts the front leg strength as well. To ensure that your dog continues to get the support they need, choose a wheelchair that can adapt as your dog’s mobility and health needs change.

The Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair is designed to adapt to your dog’s changing health needs. It easily converts from a rear wheel wheelchair into a full support four-wheel wheelchair. Giving you dog support in both the front and rear legs when they need it.

4. Can My Dog Go to the Bathroom in a Wheelchair?

Yes, your dog can relieve themselves while using their Walkin’ Wheels! Both male and female pets can pee and poop freely while using their wheelchair.

Rear leg rings support your pet from underneath. And are positioned for your pet to comfortably relieve themselves. For dogs with a long tail, simply place your dog’s tail over the back bar of the wheelchair to keep it from being soiled.

Not only can go to the bathroom while using their Walkin’ Wheels, but it may help them to go! Injured and disabled dogs tend to be less active which can impact their internal functions. Once they are in their wheelchair, they are standing upright and moving more. This encourages their body to function correctly and relieve themselves more naturally.

5. Wheelchairs Aren’t Just for Dogs Anymore!

There was a time not too long ago when it was a shock to see a dog on wheels, but that’s not the case anymore! Now more than ever, pets are family! Pet parents around the world are willing to go above and beyond to help their fur baby. There was a time not too long ago, where it might have seemed odd to see a dog in a wheelchair. But that’s not true anymore!

Wheelchairs are recommended and commonly prescribed by pet care professionals for countless mobility issues and conditions. They’ve become a key component in animal rehabilitation and treatment. And the pet mobility movement has spread far beyond dogs. All different kinds of animals have used the Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair, including cats, rabbits, sheep, goats, ducks, chickens, turtles and even a raccoon!

Still have questions? We’re here to help! Contact our Wheelchair Experts at 888-253-0777.

Dogs Enjoying Life with Walkin’ Wheels

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17 thoughts on “5 Things You Must Know Before Buying a Dog Wheelchair

  1. Please send me information I have a German shepherd who has neurological issues and has issues with his back legs. I am disabled myself and was wondering if you have or know of any resources so I can get help so I can help him. He has taken care of me his whole life and it kills me that I dont have mo ney to help him now . Thank you very much!

    1. Hi Kimberly,

      Please give us a call at 888-253-0777, we would be happy to answer any questions you may have about you German Shepherd’s mobility loss. We do have a few resources to help answer your questions, including these blog posts: German Shepherd Health Issues, Increase Your Understanding of Degenerative Myelopathy, and Changing Your Dog’s Life with a Dog Wheelchair. Hopefully these help, but please give us a call if we can help you with anything else!

  2. We have a 14 year old German Shepherd with bad hips. She is in alot of pain, will it be painful for her in the wheelchair? How hard is it to get her in and out of it so she can rest and lay down? I love the idea of this.

    Thanks so much for your help.

    1. Hi Pamela – a wheelchair is a great idea for dogs who are struggling with bad hips. The wheelchair gently supports them from underneath, allowing them to walk fully supported without having to bear full weight on their back legs. Keeping a dog active. It’s very easy to take your dog out of the wheelchair, once your comfortable its a matter of seconds to get a dog in or out of their wheels. We even offer optional harnesses which make it even easier and create a nice comfy seat while your dog is in their wheelchair. German Shepherds do exceptionally well in wheelchairs and usually take to them right away. Please call us at 888-253-0777, we’re happy to answer any other questions you may have!

  3. Hi! Could you please send me information, I have 16 yrs old very happy Pug/Jack Russell, he weighs about 33 lbs and one of his back legs is giving him hard time. He has arthritis. I need help determining the size, price information and delivery times to Orlando, Florida. Thank you so much for your help.

    1. Good Morning Margherita, we are happy to help answer any of your questions. Someone will be reaching out to you shortly.

  4. Hi my moms German shepherd dog had an accident and fell down some of her stairs the vet says her two back legs are paralyzed. She has been dragging her back legs and is causing them to scrap and bleed. Which type of wheel chair would you recommend? Also can dogs sleep with the wheelchair on or does the wheelchair have to be taken off for the dog the lay down?

    1. Hi Regina – so sorry to hear about your mom’s German Shepherd. We see a lot of GSD with mobility issues and they do very well in the Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair, German Shepherd’s tend to adjust to a life on wheels very quickly. Dog wheelchairs are designed to help a dog get the exercise they need, so when it’s time to rest they would need to come out of the wheelchair. Please call us at 888-253-0777 our Wheelchair Specialists would be happy to answer any questions you may have!

  5. Pingback: Best Dog Wheelchair Australia (2021 Buyers Guide) - gentledogtrainers.com.au
  6. Great article. I however came to this article when searching for “how can a dog rest in a wheelchair”?.

    I’m considering getting one for my dog and wondering what would happen if I weren’t around to assist my dog get off the wheelchair.

    Is it possible for the dog to rest in it?

    1. Hi Collins,

      The wheelchair is designed to help your dog get the exercise they need. When it’s time to rest they would be taken out of the chair so that they can rest. If you’d like your dog to run and be able to lay down, I would recommend taking a look at the Walkin’ Scooter

  7. Is there a video for sizing and putting the unit together and where all the straps go. I was donated a Walkin Wheels for my Mini Schnauzer and it has been well used. Once on my baby, it does not seem like it is comfortable. it seems like it rubbing and that there should be a strap that goes over his back end as he is wanting to walk on his front legs which lifts his rear up.
    Please advise

  8. Hello, my medium size Staffie X Kelpie has had a rear leg amputation and the other 3 legs are not all that strong. What type of wheelchair would you recommend For a rear leg amputee.?

    1. Hi Lorraine – If your pup is weak in all three legs, it sounds like your Staffie mix needs a full support, four wheel wheelchair. This will support the front legs and back legs making it easier for your dog to get around and remain active. If you have any questions, please call us at 888-253-0777.

  9. Hello, I purchased your wheelchair for my 13 year old Lab/Pointer Mix Bruiser in October. I bough it second hand from a man who only was bale to use it twice with his dog who passed away. I have seen noticeable improvements since we began using the wheelchair. Would you still offer me customer support with adjustments. I would be more than happy to send videos and pictures. Thank you Elliot and Bruiser from St Petersburg, Florida

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