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Mobility Issues in German Shepherd Dogs

Mobility may become a concern Despite the Breed-Standard of ‘Good Health’

German Shepherd dogs live long lives! This is a standard of the breeds often touted ‘good health’ designation. However, in relation to their size and activity level, German Shepherds can be stricken with mobility issues, such as hip and elbow dysplasia leading to mobility issues. Dysplasia is a disease that causes the ball and socket of the hip or elbow joints to have abnormal growth with insufficient coverage. This causes the joint to become loose and unstable. Long-term joint issues cause scar tissue around the joints.

German Shepherd Dogs are also prone to injury, given the need for an active lifestyle. Injury over time often leads to arthritis. To minimize the risk of future problems, add a mobility supplement to a healthy diet early in their life.

disabled german shepherd mobility cart in a field of tall grass and flowers

The German Shepherd Dog (GSD) is one of the Top Popular breeds in the U.S. and they are one of the most loyal dogs bred. GSDs have a calm, confident demeanor. These protective canines are keen to please and quick to master training and enjoy having a ‘job’ to complete.

Who wouldn’t enjoy a dog that is confident, intelligent, courageous, with a gentle disposition rounding out their traits?

GSD’s Living Happy Healthy Lives with Mobility Issues

With the help of the Walkin’ Wheels Dog Wheelchair, GSDs that have suffered from illness or injury can start enjoying a happy and healthy life again by walking, running, and playing again.

If your Shepherd is beginning to struggle with mobility issues whether from hip and elbow dysplasia, arthritis, post-surgery, or muscle-related disease and requires support to walk, or stand, consider a dog wheelchair (also referred to as a canine cart). A canine cart will support a pet’s weight while they use their able limbs to move themselves along. The German Shepherd Dog Wheelchair is designed to feel natural and comfortable for your dog so they can live their life happy and healthy.

More about these common diseases affecting our GSDs Mobility

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia is a disease that develops genetically in German Shepherds (GSD). The elbow and hip joints suffer from a structural defect in the cartilage. This will cause a lot of wear and tear to the joints, leading to the eventual degradation of the joint. German Shepherds who suffer from this disease sometimes lose their ability to walk or develop trouble walking on their own. The dog wheelchair can help dogs with dysplasia walk strong again.

Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)

Degenerative Myelopathy is a disease affecting a dog’s spinal cord. This disease eventually leads to complete paralysis of the rear limbs. DM is an autoimmune disease whereby the immune system attacks the central nervous system. Many dogs who suffer from DM have successfully used the Walkin’ Wheels Dog Wheelchair as a mobility aid. Employing a mobility cart facilitates walking while maintaining muscle tone as DM progresses.

Arthritis in Dogs

Arthritis affects one in five dogs. It affects dogs as it does humans. A dog will start to feel cramps and pain while joints become stiff and will ache. The symptoms will be most prominent when your pet wakes up. You will see them favor certain limbs or seem to struggle to hold their weight on a limb. There is no cure for canine arthritis, yet physical therapy, medications, supplements, and therapeutics will improve the symptoms.

Dog Wheelchair Benefits

The Walkin’ Wheels Dog Wheelchair is designed to help pets walk again when they have lost their ability to walk or have trouble with mobility. If your pet is mobility compromised, a cart will support and assist your companion, offering a new lease on life!

Our German shepherd dog Mace suffers from degenerative myelopathy – “DM”, and I didn’t realize how sad and depressed he was until we got the wheels. The very first day we received the wheels, he went to the back gate and wanted to go for a walk. Mace has his tracking dog title, and he is also a canine good citizen. And, most importantly, he plays ball again. He was given a second chance and I cannot thank you enough!!

– Jodi and Tim

Turner is the best dog in the entire universe (maybe I’m just a touch biased). Turner is a 15 year old German Shepherd who is full of life and vigor but who’s back legs simply don’t work anymore. In almost every house on my block lives 1 or more wonderful dogs. My Turner’s favorite thing in the world to do is to go on walks with his dog friends. For several months however, Turner has had to just lay in his front yard and bark as his friends walk past.

Walkin Wheels has brought back Turner’s biggest joy!!!

I received the Walkin Wheels on Thursday (1 day early!). That night my next door neighbor (who is good with tools) put together Turner’s Walkin Wheels in about 15 minutes. On Friday I was just trying to figure out how best to hook up Turner and before I had him completely hooked up he just took off walking. I was laughing and crying at the same time.

The 2nd time in his Walkin Wheels Turner took off RUNNING down the street after one of his dog friends. Today is his 3rd day with his wheels and he has had 5 walks so far. I have limited the length of these walks because of the heat and so we don’t overdo it but I have to force Turner to turn around to end his walks. This morning he started pulling himself towards the front door and whining when I brought out his Walkin Wheels. I couldn’t get it on him fast enough, even though it literally took me less than a minute (by myself) to get him hooked up.

– Rosemary and Turner

German Shepherd News

Abandoned and Injured German Shepherd Dog Rescued from Colorado Mountain (this is a news story from 2012. We love the story and think you will too)

While hiking Mount Bierstadt in Colorado, Scott Washburn and his wife, Amanda, wandered off course during a 14,000-foot, class 3 trail hike. As if by divine plan, they stumbled upon a dog bloodied and near-death. She was curled up in a small nook within a rock face. Too heavy to carry out and too injured to descend the mountain by her own power, the pair left her with some water and urgently descended to find help. The couple alerted the forest rangers but were regrettable informed there was nothing they could do to help.

They could not imagine leaving the dog to die. The Washburns called everyone they knew and posted on Facebook asking for help. Soon this led to a group of eight experienced hikers set to hike up the mountain and rescue the dog. After a nine-hour rescue mission, they were able to successfully carry the dog down the mountain to safety.

Missy, now known as Lucky poses in her Walkin Wheels aids in her mobility challenges
Lucky (formerly Missy)

The dog was identified as Missy, a five-year-old German Shepherd. She was brought to a nearby hospital and has seen a full recovery with the help of physical therapy. Misty used a Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchair to help her walk during her recovery, and would not have seen such a healthy recovery if weren’t for the help of her wheelchair.

A Word from a Happy Customer – Prince the German Shepherd Loves his Walkin’ Wheels

Prince in his mobility aid - Walkin' Wheels is clearly a happy customer posing with spring flowers

“Today was a big day for us. Prince’s cart arrived this afternoon. My daughter was excited and helped put it together. We took him outside and hooked him up in it. He is a little unsure of it, but he did manage a few steps with some coaxing (blog post on acclimating your dog to a wheelchair). When he is in the cart, I noticed that his back legs kind of go out some. I thought for sure he would roll over his feet, he didn’t. He seemed excited about it too!

We have been going on long walks, hikes, and taking plenty of trips to the local dog park. He truly is a Prince, as he is always a favorite of everyone at the parks, dogs and people alike. Thanks again for helping my little Prince walk again, we cannot express our happiness and gratitude. Thank you again Walkin’ Pets.”

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