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What to Do If Your Dog Needs a Wheelchair

It’s heartbreaking watching a dog struggle to stand up or walk on their own. But, what do you do if your dog needs a wheelchair? You’re not alone, luckily, there are mobility aids available to help your dog regain their independence. 

If you think your dog is ready for a wheelchair, your first stop should be at your vet’s office. Any change in a dog’s mobility should always be discussed with your veterinarian. A dog’s mobility loss can be caused by many different mobility problems and your vet will examine your dog to help determine what’s causing their hind leg weakness. When it comes to buying a dog wheelchair, here is everything you need to know: 

Determine If Your Dog is Ready for a Wheelchair

disabled puppy enjoys new rear dog wheelchair

Does my dog need a wheelchair? For every pet, deciding when the right time is to get a wheelchair is different is different for every pet. A wheelchair is a life-changing tool that can help pets with mobility loss regain the ability to walk on their own.

There is a multitude of reasons why a dog may need a wheelchair. A rear dog wheelchair can be used for a senior dog who tires easily on long walks or a dog with bad hips or knees. Another common reason for using a dog wheelchair is because your dog’s back legs are losing strength or have become paralyzed. 

Although the reasons why a dog needs a wheelchair can vary, most dogs need a wheelchair because they are experiencing hind leg weakness or either partial or complete paralysis. A dog wheelchair helps pets regain mobility and improve their quality of life. Before you investigate the best dog wheelchair for your pet, you must determine if your dog would benefit from a mobility cart. Testing how strong your dog’s legs are is easier than you might think. 

How to Test Your Dog’s Leg Strength

Take a towel, roll it up, and place it directly in front of your dog’s back legs. Gently lift up until you are supporting your dog’s hind end and walk forward. Is your dog able to walk easily with their back legs supported? If so, your dog needs a rear support wheelchair. If your dog could walk, but their front legs splayed outward or they slowly sank to the ground they’re going to require a bit more support. Dogs that show signs of weakness in both their front and back legs will need a full-support or quad wheelchair. 

Evaluate Your Pet’s Health and Mobility

Remember, it’s never too early to start using a dog wheelchair. Paralyzed pets aren’t the only dogs who need mobility assistance. Dog mobility conditions, such as arthritis, actually benefit from continued exercise and the use of a wheelchair can actually slow down the progression of the mobility loss. Pets with just a little difficulty walking can benefit from a wheelchair’s support as well, the added support can even work to prevent further mobility issues. So, if you don’t think it’s quite time, but are starting to see the signs of mobility loss in your dog, don’t wait. A cart will allow your dog to stay active longer, why wait when you know your dog can be happy and live every day to the fullest. 

Research the Best Dog Wheelchair

Choosing the best dog wheelchair for your pet means understanding how dog wheelchairs work and the many benefits of a dog wheelchair. A mobility cart is a big purchase and can be an overwhelming decision for pet owners. There’s a lot to learn about pet mobility loss, here’s what you need to know about dog wheelchairs: 

How Dog Wheelchairs Work

The single most important feature of a dog wheelchair is also their main function: to help senior and disabled dogs to stand and walk on their own. A rear dog wheelchair provides support from underneath the back legs with the wheels of the cart positioned at your dog’s back legs. This allows the dog wheelchair to support your dog where they need it most, allowing the wheelchair to act as the dog’s back legs so they can run and play. A dog’s mobility and the ability to get the exercise they need is critical to your pet’s overall health. A dog wheelchair gives your pet the support they need so that they can remain active longer. 

Benefits of a Dog Wheelchair


The benefits of a dog wheelchair are endless and so are the reasons why a dog might need one. Here are just a few ways that wheelchair can change a dog’s life:

  • Keeping your dog mobile extends their life
  • Exercise contributes to your dog’s physical and mental health
  • Wheelchairs can be used for short term rehabilitation or long term use
  • Continued activity can encourage your dog to relieve themselves naturally
  • Help a dog stay mobile during recovery from a traumatic injury or surgery
  • Stop the progression of muscle loss and atrophy
  • Regain strength and muscle tone 
  • Reduce pressure and weight placed on a dog’s aching joints 

Determine What Your Dog Needs in a Wheelchair

Take your dog’s mobility needs into consideration when selecting the right dog wheelchair. Diagnosis, age, breed, and your dog’s activity level are all factors when determining the right mobility aid for your dog. 

Choose the Wheelchair that Suits a Pet’s Mobility Needs

Understanding your dog’s current and future mobility needs is key to selecting the right wheelchair for your pet. Will your dog’s mobility conditions get progressively worsen over time? If so, it’s possible that your dog’s rear leg weakness can lead to leg paralysis or even impact the mobility in a dog’s front legs as well. Dogs diagnosed with progressive mobility problems, such as DM, need a fully adjustable dog wheelchair that can adapt and change with them. The Walkin’ Wheels rear dog wheelchair can easily convert to a full support wheelchair with four wheels by adding a front attachment. 

How a Dog’s Age and Breed Can Factor Into Finding the Perfect Cart


Believe it or not, your dog’s age and their breed matter when selecting a dog wheelchair. A puppy or growing dog with mobility issues, needs a cart that will grow with them. An adjustable dog wheelchair is ideal for a growing dog since you can adjust the width, length, and height as they grow. Speak with a wheelchair expert when trying to determine the right size wheelchair for a puppy. They can help determine what size wheelchair will work for your puppy the longest!

Even a dog’s breed can determine the right size and style of dog wheelchair. The mobility needs of a large dog are very different from a small dog. Dog breeds with long bodies such as a corgi or dachshund need a longer wheelchair frame or extenders. Both the dachshund and corgi breeds also benefit from a belly support that helps support their spine and abdomen. 

Dog Wheelchairs for Outdoor Warriors

How active and adventurous is your dog? Your dog’s activity level and their favorite outdoor activities can be crucial in choosing the right wheelchair for your pet. A dog that enjoys hiking or other outdoor adventures needs a durable wheelchair that can keep up with them. Pets that like to explore rugged terrain, need a wheelchair tire with more bounce and tread. An air tire, like a mountain bike tire, is best for navigating trails and mountains. 


german shepherd wheelchair for DM


  1. Our 2 yo cattle dog has ACL on both hind legs and needs surgery which as aged pensioners we just can’t meet right now. She is perfectly fine in any other ways but just can’t contemplate putting her to sleep. We thought this could help her. At the moment we give her pain kill by mouth(Meloxicom) every evening . We would appreciate your feedback on this. Many thanks.

    • Hi Peter and Doreka, I’m so sorry to hear about your cattle dog. Your dog is so young and has so much ahead of her, an ACL injury does not necessitate putting your dog down. We see a lot of pets use a wheelchair for ACL issues and even as an alternative to surgery. The wheelchair reduces the weight the dog places on their back legs, but they can continue to walk on all fours if they are able. It’s a great way to rehab your dog and keep them active. Please give us a call at 888-253-0777 and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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