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Deciding if a wheelchair is right for your pet is a decision you should make with help from your veterinarian. Every dog is unique, and the right choice for them will depend on a lot of factors. Your vet can help you decide if a wheelchair is right for your dog and help you determine when the right time will be for your pet to get a cart.
As a general rule of thumb, dogs that want to move and seem motivated to get up and go (even though they can’t without assistance) usually take well to a wheelchair.
A simple test to see if your dog is ready for a cart:
Want to see how your dog would do in a wheelchair? Try the towel test. While holding onto either end of a towel, gently place the towel directly under your dog’s hips and slowly lift. As you lightly lift your dog’s back legs off the ground, step forward. If your dog can support themselves with your help, they most likely need a rear dog wheelchair.
Can a dog live without the use of its back legs?
Not only can a dog survive without the use of its back legs, but it can thrive! Most disabled dogs have no idea they’re disabled. Dogs don’t feel bad for themselves, they simply adapt.
A dog wheelchair is the best way to keep a paralyzed dog active and healthy. And many dogs take to a wheelchair very quickly. Many dogs intuitively know that the wheelchair is there to help them and support them. Just remember, your dog probably hasn’t been active in a while and may tire quickly the first time they try out their cart. Even if your dog is having a lot of fun, keep that first time in the wheelchair relatively short. Give your dog time to adjust and rebuild its stamina. They can always take their new wheels out again later!
How does a wheelchair help a dog?
Dog wheelchairs help pets in a lot of different ways. With proper support, a wheelchair can help a paralyzed dog to run and walk without their owner’s help. This means the dog regains their independence and is able to go on their daily walk.
How it works:
Each dog wheelchair features a rear support called leg rings. The leg rings support directly under a dog’s pelvis to gently lift and support the hind legs. The wheelchair front harness helps to keep the wheelchair comfortably positioned at all times. Once the dog is secure in their cart, they are able to stand on their own, and the cart’s support will help them to exercise and go to the bathroom.
Dog wheelchair benefits:
Restore your dog’s natural mobility
Your dog is able to pee and poop while in the cart
An active dog will continue to work their muscles and help maintain the muscle mass they have
While in the cart, your dog can work to rebuild strength and stamina
The Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchair is available in a range of sizes. How much the wheelchair will cost will depend on the size of the wheelchair they need. A rear dog wheelchair will start at $219 for the smallest dog and up to $499 for larger breeds. If a dog needs support in both the back and front legs, a full support wheelchair can cost between $372 and $722.
How do I choose the right dog wheelchair?
Not sure which style dog wheelchair is right for your pet? Start by asking your veterinarian or canine rehab specialist. They are a great resource and can easily guide you to the right cart (and level of support) that your pet needs.
As a general rule of thumb, the right dog wheelchair for your pet really depends on whether your dog needs additional support in the back legs, front limbs, or all four. A rear wheelchair is best for pets who need hind leg support. A rear dog wheelchair is best for pets with hind leg paralysis or weakness or who need support as they recover from a leg injury. A four wheel wheelchair provides support to both the front and back legs. Pets who need a full support dog wheelchair may be dealing with balance issues, weakness in all four legs, or dealing with a degenerative condition that impacts their overall strength.
How do I measure my dog for a wheelchair?
It’s easier than you think to measure your dog for a wheelchair. You will only need to take one measurement: your dog’s rear leg height. A dog that needs a wheelchair probably won’t be able to stand tall on its own, so this measurement is best taken with your dog lying on its side.
As your dog lays on its side, position the leg in a naturally standing position. Now, measure from the point where the top of the leg connects to your dog’s body (at the crease), all the way down to the toe. This is your dog’s rear leg height. You want your measurements to be as accurate as possible, but luckily, with an adjustable cart, you will have a few inches of adjustability. However, an accurate measurement will help ensure your dog gets into the right range of adjustability.
How hard is it to take care of a dog in a wheelchair?
A paralyzed dog is still capable of living a comfortable, happy, and active life. They just require a little extra love and support. Your dog is still the same dog it always was; the only difference now is that they need wheels in order to run around.
The time and attention a wheelchair dog needs is probably more than you’re used to, but it’s something you will learn as you go. Pet professionals such as a vet or rehab specialist can help teach you tricks and tips to giving your dog the best care possible. Social media can be a huge source of information as well. Many pet parents have created online communities where they can support each other and give each other guidance as they adapt to life as a dog caregiver. Caring for a disabled dog certainly isn’t easy, but it’s definitely worth it!