It can be heartbreaking to watch your furry best friend lose their mobility. Dogs can suffer a range of ailments that can affect their mobility, most commonly the result of trauma, degenerative neurological diseases, or a range of age-related conditions such as arthritis. Thankfully, there are now a wide range of products available to help your special needs dog regain their independence and enjoy a new lease on life.
Dog wheelchairs, also known as dog carts, are one of the most common and successful options for improving your dog’s mobility. Wheelchairs come in many shapes and sizes, and have a range of accessories to accommodate different physical needs. They are available for sale by several different manufacturers mostly based in the USA.
Dog wheelchairs are all comprised of a seat, typically to support the front or rear of the dog (or in some cases both ends). When fitted correctly, the wheelchair is perfectly balanced so that the seat carries all of the weight and a shoulder harness provides stability. This ensures that the fit is comfortable for your dog and does not add further pressure to other parts of the spine.
Some dogs adapt almost immediately and will be off running in their new wheels, while other dogs may need a bit more encouragement and practice. Here are a few tips for those pooches who need some encouragement:
- Don’t let your dog walk backwards. For an inexperienced dog it will be easier for them to push backwards rather than pull themselves forward. Keep your foot behind them so they quickly know which way they should be moving.
- Start downhill. Using a wheelchair requires your dog to use a different set of muscles that will need some development over time. You may need to spend a few walking only down hill to help them develop their strength.
- Distractions and bribes. It’s best to try to keep their mind off the new and unusual feeling of the wheelchair. A trip to the dog park or distraction with treats and toys will certainly help!
Each manufacturer will provide a measuring guide so that the right size can be purchased, and an adjustment guide so that minor corrections can be made at home once it arrives.
However, the most important factor is making sure your dog wheelchair is the correct style and fit for your dog. Not all wheelchairs are created equal, and each has its pro’s and con’s. Thankfully, the folks at TheseDogDays.com have surveyed customers of the five major dog wheelchair brands and created this great dog wheelchair review. Make sure you choose the right wheelchair for your dog!