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Must-have Equipment for Dogs with Paralysis

1. An Adjustable Dog Wheelchair

Paralyzed husky runs in new Walkin' Wheels dog wheelchair

For paralyzed pets, a dog wheelchair is the single greatest gift you can give them. A wheelchair gives your pet back their freedom, allowing them to keep up with their family and engage with the world. Here are just a few ways that a wheelchair can benefit your dog:

  • Easily go to the bathroom – yes, a dog can pee and poop cleanly while using a wheelchair!
  • Enjoy their daily walk.
  • Help them to stay active and mobile.
  • Get them upright and standing in a natural position.
  • Regular exercise helps to maintain muscle mass, regain strength, and maintain a healthy weight.

Why you shouldn’t wait to get a cart

The decision to get your dog a wheelchair is one that should always be made alongside your veterinarian. Every pet’s needs are different, and using a wheelchair safely is an important part of keeping your pet healthy.

There are a lot of reasons why it’s a good idea to introduce your dog to a wheelchair early in the process. The wheelchair encourages your pet to exercise, paralyzed dogs working to regain function in their back leg will use a wheelchair as a tool to aid and support their recovery. Once in a cart, a mobile dog can work slowly to regain its strength. May pets will incorporate cart time into their rehabilitation sessions. Even if it’s just for a few minutes at a time, this can help your pet slowly increase their stamina and help to maintain the muscle they have.

2. A Lifting Harness

Lifting and carrying a paralyzed dog can place a lot of strain on your back, especially if you’re caring for a large dog. Look for a harness that can be used with your wheelchair and on its own.

How to Choose the Right Lift Harness for a Paralyzed Dog

Determine where your dog needs support

The majority of canine paralysis affects the back legs. You can choose a harness that will support your pet’s hind legs or one that will support the entire body. A harness that supports the front and rear legs is often the best option for larger paralyzed dogs as it offers the highest level of control and support.

Does your dog need a wheelchair?

If your paralyzed dog has a wheelchair or will be getting one soon, pick a harness that is wheelchair compatible. A harness that clips into your dog’s cart will make it easier to support them as you get them into their cart and can make for a more comfortable pet.

Understand your harness options:

Up-n-Go Rear Support Leash – simple to use harness, perfect for a paralyzed dog whose not using a wheelchair yet.

Warrior Rear Harness – best rear support harness for wheelchair compatibility. Can be used in or out of the Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair.

Buddy Up™ Harness – offers full support across the entire body. The Buddy Up Harness will give your paralyzed pet the highest level of support in and out of their Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair.

3. Drag Bag

Small paralyzed dog wears drag bag inside house

When your dog isn’t using their wheelchair, paralyzed pups spend a lot of time lying down or scooting across the floor. Wearing a drag bag protects your dog’s chest and dragging legs against painful sores and scrapes.

A drag bag is a great way to keep your paralyzed pet comfortable while also allowing them a safe way to move without injuring themselves. Since many paralyzed pets also deal with incontinence, it’s a good idea to have more than one drag bag on hand so that you can easily swap it out if one becomes soiled.

4. Paw Protection

Since a paralyzed dog may not be able to feel their feet and legs, dogs may drag their paws behind them. Protecting their paws is important to prevent injury.

How to prevent paw dragging when using the wheelchair:

The best way to protect your dog’s feet while in the wheelchair is to elevate them off the ground and prevent dragging toes. Each Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchair comes with a set of stirrups that attach to the back of the cart.

The stirrups should be worn by any paralyzed dog using a wheelchair. Place each hind leg through one stirrup, it should rest just above your dog’s hock and tighten to keep your dog’s leg lifted.

Protecting your dog’s feet around the house:

Need to protect your dog’s dragging paws when they’re inside? Not a problem, a rugged pair of dog boots is a great and simple solution to keep your paralyzed dog’s feet safe.

5. Daily Joint Support

When caring for a paralyzed, your dog’s joint health needs to be top of mind. When using a mobility device or wheelchair, your pet places their full weight into their front legs and the cart. A daily joint supplement can support healthy joint structure, ease occasional joint stiffness, and promotes a dog’s mobility.  

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