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Is your furry friend having trouble moving around? Are you unsure whether it’s the right time to get them a wheelchair? It can be challenging to determine when your dog is ready for a cart, and the fact is that your dog may benefit from a wheelchair much earlier than you realize! Here are six reasons why your dog could benefit from a set of wheels.
1. Signs of Leg Weakness: “My dog’s weak, but he can still walk…”
Shaking legs, hind end swaying, or occasional loss of balance can be easily attributed to a dog just getting older, but they can also indicate that your dog needs some help getting around.
Many people believe their dog’s mobility is not severely affected if they can still walk. And although a wheelchair might be in their future, their dog isn’t ready yet. However, the reality is that if a dog’s back legs collapse because they’re too weak to support, it indicates a loss of leg strength, and a wheelchair can help.
A few signs of weakening legs:
Sometimes struggling to stand up.
Occasional loss of balance
Dog falls over when squatting to go to the bathroom.
The back end slowly sinks as the dog walks.
Wobbling or swaying as the dog walks or stands.
Dragging paws, usually starts in the back feet.
Hind leg crossing
2. Dog Needs Occasional Assistance: “My dog can get around ok, but sometimes he wobbles or sways when walking…”
When dogs stumble or fall, they become unsteady on their feet, which can affect their confidence. They may start to doubt their ability to move around safely. However, a wheelchair can provide the stability and support they need to walk around without any worries. With a wheelchair, your dog can still use its four legs to walk while also receiving the necessary support. Their back legs will continue touching the ground, and they can move naturally.
3. Changes in Behavior or Activity Level: “He’s not playing as much as he used to…”
Slowing down can be a sign that a dog’s getting older. However, it can also indicate that a dog’s experiencing joint discomfort or having a more difficult time moving. Using a wheelchair can reduce the weight on your pet’s back legs, lessening joint strain and allowing your dog to run around more comfortably.
4. Dog Tires Easily: “He can still go for walks, just not as long…”
If your furry friend still enjoys their daily walks, but your dog gets tired or requires assistance partway through, you don’t necessarily have to shorten your route!
Consider using a dog wheelchair during your walk – the cart’s support can make it easier for your pup to exercise and help them gradually build their stamina. And you don’t need to worry that your dog will become lazy. Just because a dog uses a wheelchair doesn’t mean they need to rely on it all the time. Many dogs use a wheelchair only occasionally, on those “bad days” when tired or their joints are a bit stiff.
5. Chronic Joint Condition: “My dog has hip dysplasia, but it’s not that bad…”
Most pets with chronic joint conditions, like arthritis or hip dysplasia, are diagnosed very young. As they grow up, their veterinarian will check their joints regularly for any signs of stiffness changes in their range of motion. As the condition progresses, expect changes in how your dog moves. Dogs that can’t bear weight on their back leg or bunny hop are most likely finding it painful to walk unassisted. These can be signs that your dog needs a wheelchair. Any noticeable changes in mobility should be brought to your vet’s attention so that they can treat your pet.
6. Diagnosed with Neurological Issue or Degenerative Disease: “I know eventually he’ll need a wheelchair, but he’s not paralyzed…”
Dogs with a degenerative mobility condition, like DM, will need a wheelchair. Hind leg paralysis, balance issues, and leg strength can all be impacted by a neurological condition. You do not need to wait to buy a wheelchair until your dog is fully paralyzed. Studies have shown that dogs with Degenerative Myelopathy who regularly exercise can slow disease progression, which means they can be mobile for longer. A mobility cart is a great way to keep your dog active, even as their leg strength changes.
Talk to an Expert
Still not sure if a wheelchair is right for your dog? Ask your veterinarian. Tell them about the changes in your pet’s mobility and what you’ve observed, this can help your vet to get your pet on the right treatment plan. If you need more information on dog wheelchairs and how they can help your best friend, call us at 888-253-0777 and our wheelchair experts will be happy to help!