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Is My Dog Ready for a Wheelchair?

Dogs are unable to tell us what hurts or where they hurt, it’s up to dog parents to stay alert and search for subtle changes in pet’s behavior that may indicate an issue. How do I know my dog is ready for a wheelchair? Determining the best way to care for your pet or when the best time to get a wheelchair can be a difficult choice to make. There are a lot of different factors to consider and every dog is different. With a better understanding of the symptoms of canine mobility loss, you will be better able to decide if your dog is ready for a dog wheelchair.

Signs of Mobility Issues

Handicapped dog wheelchair

The first step to determining if your dog needs a wheelchair is knowing the different symptoms of mobility loss. Dogs experiencing any of the following signs, are good candidates for a wheelchair:

  • Change in behavior or sudden irritability due to pain
  • Sudden loss of balance
  • Difficulty standing up from a laying position
  • Hind end sways periodically while standing
  • Dog tires quickly on their daily walk
  • Unwillingness to go outside: a trip outside may mean crossing slippery floors or going up or down stairs all things that may cause additional pain
  • Signs of weakness or muscle atrophy

If you pet is experiencing any changes in their mobility, signs of pain or behavioral changes speak to your Veterinarian immediately. Your Vet can work with you to determine the best course of treatment for your pet.

Common Causes of Mobility Problems in Dogs

There are many different conditions that may cause pain or lead to difficulties in canine mobility, some of these conditions include:

Walkin’ Wheels Dog Wheelchair
Walkin’ Wheels Dog Wheelchair
German Shepherd DM harness

Lifting Harnesses

drag bag for paralyzed dog
Walkin’ Drag Bag

Finding the Right Mobility Solution

The Towel Test is best at-home method to evaluate your dog’s mobility and leg strength. Place the center of an old towel under your dog’s abdomen, holding both ends of the towel gently lift while supporting your dog’s rear end. During the test, your dog should be in a “wheelbarrow” position with a flat back. While lifting, carefully encourage your dog to walk forward. Observe how your dog moves during this test to determine the level of support your dog needs.

Rear Support Dog Wheelchair

Your dog is able to support themselves on their front legs and walks strongly with your assistance.

Solution: Rear Support Wheelchair

Full Support Dog Wheelchair

Along with rear weakness, your dog is showing signs of front-end weakness. Signs may include: front legs splaying to maintain balance, sinking into a downward dog position, stumbling or knuckling in the front

Solution: Full Support or Quad Wheelchair

A 4-wheel wheelchair provides support to both their front and rear

Not Quite Ready for a Wheelchair?

BuddyUp Harness provides lifting support for dog

Many of the diseases that cause mobility loss are degenerative and the effects of the disease will evolve as it progresses. Your dog may not need a wheelchair yet, but they may in the future. Begin with a lifting harness that will allow you to gently support your dog.

  • Up-n-Go Rear Support Leash: a simple harness that can slide on while your dog lies down. Perfect for quick trips outside.
  • Warrior Rear Harness: provides rear support and is compatible with the Walkin’ Wheels.
  • Buddy Up Harness: evolves with your dog’s needs, both the front and rear harness can be used with the Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair. Best for larger dogs that require a lot of support and need to be lifted.

Benefits of a Wheelchair

A dog wheelchair is designed to improve canine mobility and offer a pain-free solution to help your dog stand and walk on their own. The Walkin’ Wheels Wheelchair is designed to help your dog get the exercise they need. With the continued use of their back legs, your dog can continue to strengthen their legs and help keep their muscles from atrophying. Preventing any unnecessary muscle loss, while also helping your dog to build up strength. The dog wheelchair was designed to support your dog from underneath, minimizing the stress and weight placed on your dog’s legs.

Boxer in Wheelchair

A wheelchair can be an important part of your dog’s rehab therapy and is commonly used for post-operative care.

Aside from the physical benefits, the emotional transformation is just as important. Your dog’s ability to exercise contributes to their overall health and well-being.  The ability to run and play again means seeing a happy, smiling dog again. Keeping them mobile and active helps your pet to live a longer, happier life and allows them to be a part of the family.

If your dog is alert and has the desire to move it’s a good sign that they are ready for a wheelchair and ready to regain their independence.

Changing Lives with the Walkin’ Wheels Wheelchair

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  1. […] permanent injuries, a wheelchair might be a dog’s best bet at staying mobile. If you see any of these signs, be sure to talk to your vet ASAP about a mobility device […]

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