Is the thought of getting a wheelchair for your dog overwhelming? And you have no idea or whatsoever from what to how it ended up that you have to get one for your pet! There are many reasons that a dog may need a wheelchair.
Among the many causes, old age and joint pain are the most prominent. Other common causes are Arthritis, Hip dysplasia, Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD), Degenerative Myelopathy (DM), Neurological Disorders, Sudden Paralysis, Injury due to accident or trauma, Knee injuries, ACL injuries, Recovery from surgery, etc.
As dogs can not express themselves with words, their actions/body language are the only means of communication we as pet owners can rely on.
The signs that you can observe to deduce if your dog is having mobility issues are:
- Having difficulty standing up from a lying or sitting position.
- Refusing outdoor activities.
- An unexpected behaviour change (due to pain).
- Loss of balance.
Getting A Wheelchair
When you take your dog to a vet, they may suggest getting a wheelchair. This can frighten you, as many people have very little or no knowledge about dog wheelchairs. Some do not even know about its existence.
Do not worry, as the vet will walk you through the process to help you and your pet during this transition. Over the years, there has been improvement in pet wheelchair manufacture. Nowadays, one can get them customized, according to the pet’s needs, at reasonable prices.
There is nothing to be disheartened about. Getting a wheelchair for your dog will prolong its lifespan and ease its pain. It will take some time, but eventually will help your pet get back to its feet and with socialization. The wheelchair will provide support from underneath so it can reduce pressure while standing and walking. Also, it will help with their exercises as they can stand, walk on their own. This will stop their muscles from deteriorating and build back the bone strength.
As for how much and how long you need to use a wheelchair for your dog. It will be up to your dog’s particular conditions and what the vets suggest. Sometimes you might have to use it for a short period until your dog gets back on its feet without help.
Or maybe you’ll have to use it on and off just to help your dog support itself when it’s painful/tired. Or perhaps it will be a lifetime companion for your pet. Thus choosing the appropriate wheelchair is a must.
Research And Know The Wheelchair Before Buying
Knowing what kind of wheelchair is suitable and fit best for your dog is highly important. As said earlier, many are not very knowledgeable about the existence of wheelchairs. Now there are many types of wheelchairs. Some are customized depending on the medical conditions and the size of your dog.
Choosing a fully adjustable wheelchair will ease your and your pet’s life as you can readjust it according to your pet’s needs and comfort.
Rear Dog Wheelchairs
Suppose your dog has a hind leg injury, weakness, or even paralysis. The rear support dog wheelchair is very suitable for dogs. This wheelchair will provide stable and balanced assistance for your dog to stand up, walk, run and play again with ease with time. This is done by supporting the dog from underneath.
The rear wheelchairs lift their paws off the ground to prevent further injuries or scrapes. Even completely paralyzed dogs can lead a much easier life with the aid of this wheelchair.
Full Support Wheelchairs
These are made for dogs who do not have strong front legs, or their frog legs are injured. And even it is proper for dogs that lack strength in both front and back legs. As this wheelchair will provide full support for their body.
This wheelchair is an enormous help with diseases that worsen over time, like Degenerative Myelopathy (DM).
Usually, pet wheelchairs come in two types:
1.Foam Wheels or
Choosing the correct wheel can be complex, as both work great in many situations. You have to select the best fit for your dog.
This is quite suitable for active pets and rugged roads as it gives better suspension. Air wheels are also helpful for hiking and running.
These wheels are very durable; they can not be punctured or go flat. They are enduring enough so they can be walked on any road. These are made of rugged and dense foams, so they are prevalent among users.
Choosing A Proper Size Wheelchair
Selecting a proper size wheelchair for your dog is crucial to make your pet’s life more comfortable. Dogs need time to get accustomed to wheelchairs, and if it does not fit their needs, it will be excruciating.
Manufacturers customized different wheelchairs for dogs in different sizes and shapes. For smaller dogs, there are wheelchairs with smaller, lightweight adjustable forms. These help smaller dogs move more freely, and the lightweight frames relieve them from feeling the extra weight.
For bigger sized dogs, there are wheelchairs with more durable and stronger frames and wheels. Which can take their weight. These also can be adjusted with the length width of the dog. And made with lightweight material for the comfort of the pet.
There are also adjustable carts for lowriders like Croggies and Basset Hounds, with long legs with short legs.
(Pro-tip: choose a wheelchair or cart that can be folded and carried with ease wherever you go with your pet dog.)
Can My Pet Relieve Itself In A Wheelchair?
These questions arise in many pet parent’s minds when they first think of getting a wheelchair for their dog. As it concerns the comfort of the pet, but do not fret. Wheelchairs are manufactured as such, so when a pet wants to relive itself, it’ll not have any problem whatsoever.
Sometimes due to injuries and long term reduced movement, dogs internal systems began to work slower. With wheelchairs, they are basically standing in an upright position. This helps the internal organs to work more efficiently.
Getting your pet accustomed to the wheelchair
Mobility issues can cause damage physically as well as mentally to your pet. So if you wish to get your dog to adopt the wheelchair. You’ll need to have a lot of patience and give time to your dog.
It can be an easy transition for some dogs; for some, it may take a longer time and more effort. As they need to adapt to it both physically and mentally. Physically their legs, joints, and spine become weakened due to injury or medical condition. Thus it is advised to start using the wheelchair for short periods then increase the time length gradually until the dog is fully accustomed to it.
We need to mentally prepare our dogs for the wheelchair, beginning with placing the wheelchair near their sight. When they are used to seeing the cart, try putting on the belts/frames without the wheels. This will help them realise the presence of the structures.
Start with standing up on wheelchairs for a minute or so, then add more time with it. Gradually began walking with the wheelchairs inside the house, do not forget to treat and encourage them. With time your dog will become adapted to the wheelchair and return to its previous active and playful life.
The most critical job for a pet parent in a wheelchair is supervision is needed all the time. Always have your pet under surveillance to prevent any kind of further accidents.
Sometimes your pet might not need a wheelchair yet. It might just need a little support for the body to stand up or walk. Lifting harnesses/leashes can be helpful in this case. There are many lifting harnesses in different sizes and shapes according to the need.
Whether you are getting a wheelchair or a lifting harness, a ramp is a must needed. Placing ramps in a different part of the house. Will reduce pressure on its body during climbing or moving up.
Climbing the staircase for an injured dog can be very painful. Adding a ramp will reduce the effort the pet would have used otherwise. Overall, make sure your home is adjusted so that your little pal in the wheelchair can move about freely inside the house.