Deciding when the right time to buy your dog a wheelchair is a difficult decision for any pet parent. By buying your dog a wheelchair you are giving your best friend a chance to walk again, lessen their pain, and improve their quality of life. But, how do you know the time is right to purchase your dog a mobility cart? Here are a few simple ways to determine if your dog is ready for a wheelchair:
Evaluate Your Pet’s Health and Mobility
Unsure if your dog needs a wheelchair? There’s a simple mobility test you can do at home called the towel test. Here’s how to find out if your dog needs a wheelchair: slide a bath towel (or beach towel for a larger dog) and place the towel in front of your dog’s back legs. While holding on to each end of a towel gently lift your dog’s back legs off the ground. With your dog supporting their weight with only their front legs, slowly step forward. If your dog is able to walk well you support their rear legs, they need a dog wheelchair. If your dog is still struggling to step forward and their front legs splay outwards, they need a full support wheelchair with front and back wheels.
The Will to Move and Desire to Play
Whether your pet is paralyzed or has hind leg weakness ask yourself this question, do they want to move? Most dogs, regardless of their disability, want to play and run after you when you leave the room.
Look for indicators that your dog wants to be active. If your dog is scooting across the floor and trying to move, they are alert and a great candidate for a dog wheelchair. This means that they still desire to play and engage with you, these are the dogs that take to their wheelchair right away! A dog mobility cart will give your pet the best chance at a happy, active life.
Dog Wheelchair and Rehabilitation
If you’re asking yourself, will a wheelchair help rehabilitate my pet? The answer is yes! Dog wheelchairs can play a big part of a pet’s rehabilitation program.
The wheelchair allows them to stand and move naturally, encouraging them to be active and rebuild their strength. Don’t worry that your dog will become dependent on their cart, this simply isn’t true. A dog wheelchair supports your dog and reduces the weight they’re placing on their joints, making it easier for them to walk. So even a dog with full use of their back legs will benefit from using a dog wheelchair, especially during their rehabilitation exercises.
Wheelchairs don’t make dogs “lazy”. Dogs are motivated by exercise and being with their family and their wheelchair is a tool to help them do the things they love. As they use their wheelchair your dog will start to rebuild their strength and gain muscle, it is possible that they may eventually stand and walk on their own without the support of their wheelchair. Just because your pet needs a wheelchair today does not mean they will need one for forever.
Don’t Wait Too Long
A dog wheelchair can aid your dog as they recover and encourage your dog to exercise more. The longer a dog is “down” or struggles with their mobility, the harder it will be to rebuild their strength. A healthy dog is an active dog.
Although paralyzed dogs benefit greatly from use of a canine mobility cart, a dog can still have use of their back legs and need a wheelchair. In fact, in many cases introducing a wheelchair to your dog before they need to rely on it full time can help your dog get used to using a wheelchair. Oftentimes, this helps to ease the adjustment into a life on wheels and helps teach the dog that their wheelchair is there to help them. For example a dog with hip dysplasia or arthritis may use a cart “bad days” when their joint pain makes it difficult to move. If you think your dog needs a wheelchair, don’t wait. A dog wheelchair is designed to improve your dog’s mobility and their quality of life, so let’s get rolling!