Noticeable signs your dog’s mobility is changing, such as struggling to stand or signs of slowing down can trigger a frantic search for how to help them. For many pet parents this is their first experience with a dog wheelchair or the first time they have had a pet with mobility loss. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. We’re here to answer some of the most common questions pet parents ask about dog wheelchairs.
How do dog wheelchairs work?
Canine wheelchairs provide a simple solution for pets experiencing mobility challenges to regain their independence. The Walkin’ Wheels rear wheelchair is designed for pets who can still use their front legs, while back legs lightly touch the ground or are safely held up in stirrups.
The Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair frame size is determined by a dog’s weight, simple snap buttons expand the frame in length, width, and height. A front harness safely clips a dog in place in the front of the cart, while rear foam leg rings form a comfortable saddle to gently support their hind end.
Does a dog have to be paralyzed to use a wheelchair?
A common misconception about dog wheelchairs is that only paralyzed dogs need wheelchairs, this is simply not true. Dogs use wheelchairs for all types of mobility issues, not only paralysis. Wheelchairs benefit any pet who is experiencing hind leg weakness, balance issues or in need of support due to old age or a medical condition. Pets can continue to stand and walk on all fours while using their wheelchair, exercising all their muscles to maintain their strength and prevent atrophy.
Can dogs go to the bathroom in a wheelchair?
Yes, dog wheelchairs are designed to help dogs relieve themselves. Using a wheelchair can make it easier for your dog to go to the bathroom and move around. Dogs can pee and poop while using their wheelchair.
Does my dog need a wheelchair?
Changes in behavior, sudden loss of balance, and struggling to stand are just a few of the early signs your pet’s mobility needs may be changing. A simple test called the Towel Test can help determine if your dog is ready for a wheelchair. Place a towel under your dog’s abdomen, while holding both end of the towel, gently lift your dog’s hind end and encourage them to walk forward. If, with your assistance your dog can support themselves and walk forward, it’s time for a rear wheelchair. If your dog can walk but begins to sink down in the front, they will need a full support cart with both front and rear support.
How do I measure for a dog wheelchair?
Measuring for a Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair is simple, with your dog’s weight and one measurement (or two!) the SureFit Calculator can help you determine exactly what size wheelchair your dog needs.
Measurement #1: Rear Leg Height (determines the size wheel and strut for the wheelchair)
Measurement #2: Pet Length, from back of the front arm to end of the body (only needed for smaller dogs)
Will my dog lose muscle strength when using a wheelchair?
Not at all, the Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchair is designed to keep your pet active and encourage exercise. Wheelchairs are often incorporated into canine rehabilitation programs as a tool to build strength and increase a dog’s stamina. The wheelchair’s support helps to relieve pressure and take weight off aching joints making it easier for a dog to stay active. Once in their cart many pets can go for longer walks.
How long can a dog stay in a wheelchair?
Every pet is going to be different, just be aware that most dogs are so excited to use their wheelchair for the first time that they can tire quickly. Let your dog use their wheelchair for 5 to 10 minutes as they work to rebuild their strength. Watch for signs of them tiring, take them out of their wheelchair and give them time to rest before they try again.
Can other animals use a wheelchair?
Yes, wheelchairs have improved mobility for many different animals. Here are just a few of the animals who’s lives have been changed by a Walkin’ Wheels:
Learn More: Disabled Farm & Wild Animals Using Wheelchairs