Click for UPDATE: This post has been updated to provide pet owners with information about the different types of dog wheelchairs and how to best determine if your dog needs a rear wheelchair, a front cart of a full support wheelchair. It also has the most current information on the leading dog wheelchair manufacturers. Click here to read: Dog Wheelchair Review Update.
The dog wheelchair has given the gift of mobility to dogs and other pets that would have been left helpless because of paralysis, disease, old age and injuries. Popularity of the carts is growing so I thought it was the perfect time to share a review of the top models.
Walkin’ Wheels® sold by HandicappedPets.com is a lightweight, balanced and reliable cart. It is a fully adjustable dog wheelchair that expands in length, width and height so it can grow with your dog. Owner’s select from a mini version, medium or large size and then adjust the cart with simple snap buttons and snap-in wheels to fit your dog. The wheelchair can be used on any dog and folds flat for transport and storage.
HandicappedPets.com also offers custom carts for dogs that weigh less than 6lbs or more than 170lbs. Pet owners can also buy a full support Quad Cart for dogs that need assistance in moving all four of their limbs and a Front Support wheelchair for dogs that have amputated or deformed front legs.
Eddie’s Wheels for Pets is owned by Eddie and Leslie Grinnell. The company’s goal is to “help animals and their people enjoy a great quality of life in spite of their handicaps.” They build custom wheelchairs for all four-legged pets with mobility challenges. Everything for the wheelchair, except the tires, is manufactured from scratch at their workshop for your dog’s special needs.
In addition, the Grinnell’s have personally been the caregivers to a variety of disabled pets that have suffered from paralysis, IVDD, spondylosis and amputation.
Eddie’s Wheels offers front wheelchairs, quads carts and used carts.
K9 Carts have been pet mobility experts since 1961and have their own Veterinary Orthopedic Specialty Hospital. Their dog wheelchairs are designed under veterinary guidance and built individually by experienced staff. K9 Carts believes that one wheelchair does not fit every pet and should be made for the specific needs of an individual dog.
K9 Carts is the only dog wheelchair manufacturer with a rental program. This is especially helpful for dogs that are recovering from an injury or surgery and may not have to use a cart for the rest of their lives. Carts come in rear support and full support.
Best Friend Mobility offers dog wheelchairs that were designed by veterinary orthopedic surgeon, Dr. William Vachon. Their universal, but customizable carts are made of lightweight adjustable aluminum and come in five sizes and weight classifications. The company sells only rear wheel carts.
Pet owners can buy these reasonably priced dog wheelchairs on the Best Friend Mobility website or by conveniently ordering the product on Amazon.
The Real World
Dog wheelchairs are amazing, but not every pup will understand their benefit, especially when they first start to use them. A good tip is to go for short walks on a very flat surface until your dog builds up confidence.
My dog Sophie trembled the first time I strapped her into her wheelchair and when I encouraged her to take a few steps, she tipped the cart on its side. It takes practice for some dogs to get used to their cart. And even with lots of practice and patience, there are dogs that will never warmup to a wheelchair.
A second important point is that doggie wheelchairs are best used for exercise and playtime or if your pup has to walk with you somewhere such as a veterinary appointment. They are not designed to be worn all day long. Dogs can’t sit down to rest in a wheelchair and because you are already dealing with a dog that has special medical needs, giving them ample time to rest is important.
When your family no longer needs the wheelchair you will probably want to sell it or donate it to another handicapped dog. Both HandicappedPets.com and Eddie’s Wheels have places on their website to sell or donate carts.
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