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Full Support Dog Wheelchairs Explained

Getting your dog a wheelchair is a life-changing solution for you and your best friend. It’s a major decision, and you want to give your pet the support they need to live a happy and active life. If you’re considering a full support or four-wheel wheelchair, your dog has likely experienced significant mobility loss. 

What Is a Full Support Dog Wheelchair? 

Dog with Cerebellar Hypoplasia uses Walkin' Wheels Full Support dog wheelchair

A full support dog wheelchair is a wheelchair for all four legs, which is necessary for any dog that has lost strength in its front and back legs. A quad wheelchair features four wheels, two in the back and two in the front, giving the dog balanced support.

It’s relatively common for a dog in a four-wheel cart to be paralyzed in the rear legs, but that’s not always the case. Although a quad cart is built to help a paralyzed or quadriplegic dog, it can benefit pets with a wide range of mobility issues. A well-made quad wheelchair will include:

  • A durable, lightweight aluminum frame – adjustable is best. Many pets will experience some weight fluctuation and need a wheelchair that can adjust to their changing needs.
  • Four snap-in wheels and struts that can adjust in height 
  • A supportive front and back harness to cradle your dog comfortably – ideally soft to avoid chafing and discomfort.
  • Mid-body support under the dog’s abdomen, such as a belly belt or belly support. Which is beneficial for pets dealing with spinal conditions. 
  • Front wheels should be on casters for easy maneuvering. 

Benefits of a Full Support Dog Wheelchair:

  • Increased balance and stability
  • Allows a dog to stand and move naturally with balanced support in the front and back legs
  • Encourages continued activity and helps the dog to exercise
  • Can be incorporated into physical therapy sessions
  • Minimize muscle atrophy and help pets maintain muscle tone
  • Allows pets to relieve themselves naturally in a standing position

Does My Dog Need a Full Support Dog Wheelchair?

Two disabled dogs in their quad dog wheelchair

Dog’s legs weaken for many reasons, including old age. Here are a few mobility conditions that benefit from a full support wheelchair:

  • Wobbler Syndrome
  • Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)
  • Cerebellar Hypoplasia (CH)
  • Arthritis
  • Stroke 
  • Neurological conditions
  • Recovery from a traumatic accident
  • Rehab after spinal surgery

Unsure if your dog needs a rear wheelchair or a full support wheelchair? You can try a simple test at home called the towel test to see what level of support your pet needs. Take a bath towel, place it under your dog’s hips (right in front of the back legs), and slowly lift while holding onto either end of the towel. Then, while supporting your dog’s hind legs, slowly walk forward. If your dog can easily step forward with your aid, they need a rear wheelchair. On the other hand, if the front legs splay outwards or slowly sink as you walk, the dog struggles to walk, or even stumbles, then your dog needs a quad wheelchair. 

Buy a full support dog wheelchair

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