- 1 Selection Of The Best Dog Wheelchairs
- 2 Best Dog Wheelchair Buying Guide
- 2.1 Type of Disability
- 2.2 Dog’s Size
- 2.3 Dog’s Activity Level
- 2.4 Vet Designed or Recommended
- 2.5 Attachment to the Dog
- 2.6 Number of Wheels
- 2.7 Wheel Type and Material
- 2.8 Frame Material
- 2.9 Portability
- 2.10 Part Time or Full Time?
- 2.11 Adjustability
- 2.12 Additional Padding
- 2.13 Front and/or Back Leg Support
- 2.14 Weight
- 2.15 Color
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
- 4 Sources
There’s a lot to be said about having a disabled pet, and getting them the best dog wheelchair so that they can stay mobile is a big part of helping them out.
A great wheelchair can help your furry companion to live their best life and thrive in fun, new ways.
If you have a dog, you know that they’re always active and excited. Even if they are in a dog recovery suit or a dog cone after a vet visit, they’re still down for going on a walk in their dog harness or a ride in the dog bike carrier.
It can take some time to get them used to getting groomed, and they may wiggle a lot when you use dog conditioner and shampoo or put them on the dog grooming table to use the nail clippers or the dog dematting tool and special brush to get out nasty knots in their fur.
Keeping your dog safe when you’re not home takes some time and effort. For example, you may hook up a dog camera and keep them in a certain part of the house with a dog gate. Just don’t forget to put their automatic dog feeder and/or dog bowl in there. A dog cooling pad can also be helpful if it’s warm out.
When you go on a walk, don’t forget the dog repellent (in case you meet an unfriendly dog), their service dog vest (if applicable), and their dog training collar. Hook them up to their dog leash or dog bicycle leash and enjoy your outdoor fun! Don’t forget the dog poop bags, though.
Disabled dogs can be a joy, and have just as much energy as their able-bodied friends. Instead of cooping them up in a dog carrier or crate, find other solutions. The best dog wheelchair can ensure that they’re able to enjoy life just as much, too!
Selection Of The Best Dog Wheelchairs
Here are the best dog wheelchairs for most people according to Outlinist:
Best Dog Wheelchair Buying Guide
Type of Disability
Different dogs have different needs and this is especially true when you’re looking at life with a disabled dog. If your dog has a back issue or a problem with arthritis, they may need different supports and adjustments than if they are missing a leg or paw.
For example, a 2-legged dog wheelchair is going to have a lot more support in the front or back end than a 3-legged dog wheelchair would (depending on which legs are missing). Knowing your dog’s disability makes it simpler to get a chair that is best for them.
Obviously, your dog’s size plays a significant role. They need to be able to fit into the harness or other connectors and the wheels need to be an appropriate size for the dog’s mobility. Too big, and your dog will not be able to use it. Too small, and it could cause your dog discomfort.
If your dog weighs more than 85 lbs., it can be difficult to find the right wheelchair. Their chairs are much more heavy-duty and they often require a lot more heft behind them.
Dog’s Activity Level
If you have a dog that is more laid back, then they’re just fine getting a standard wheelchair. These will allow them to get around from place to place and make it easy to take walks and such.
But, in cases where you may own a larger or more energetic dog, then you want to find something that has all-terrain tires and that is made from heavy-duty materials. These chairs will last a lot longer and make it easy for your furry friend to get out and enjoy activities.
Vet Designed or Recommended
Veterinarians have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to sorting out what it is that animals may need in order to thrive, especially if your dog has a disability.
For example, if you decide to get a dog wheelchair for degenerative myelopathy, you want it to be approved and/or designed by a major vet’s association. While they don’t fully understand the disease, they know what it does to the body and will be able to determine if the wheelchair is right for the dog’s needs.
Attachment to the Dog
How does the wheelchair attach to the dog’s body? The most common option is the dog harness wheelchair, where the dog is wearing something that looks like a standard walking harness, but the harness is attached to the bars on the sides of the wheelchair.
Also, you want to be certain that they can wear any necessary accessories while in their wheelchair. If they need a dog raincoat, winter sweater or boots, there should be plenty of space for you to put it on.
Number of Wheels
Different dogs have different needs, and some disabled dogs only need two wheels in order to get from place to place.
A 4-wheel dog wheelchair is great for a dog that has general mobility issues and needs some help propelling themselves from place to place. But, if only the front or backside is affected by the disability, then you may only need to look at a 2-wheeled chair.
Wheel Type and Material
The wheels on your dog wheelchair can be made from all sorts of materials. Rubber and plastic are the most common, but some will even use some type of metal if the chair is meant for larger dogs.
You also want to look at how wide the dog wheelchair tires are. The wider that the tires are, the easier time they’ll have dealing with rocky terrain and going uphill. You can also find tires with different types of traction, allowing you to find what works best for your dog.
Most frames are either made of plastic or metal. While heavy-duty plastic can be just fine, it’s often much easier to damage the frame, and they don’t always work as well for larger dogs.
Metal, like stainless steel or similar options, can be a great option for any dog. These are typically lightweight enough for a dog to move around well, but sturdy enough to ensure that the dog isn’t going to have problems getting around or staying upright.
When your dog is riding in the car or just hanging out in bed, you want to be sure that you can store the wheelchair somewhere or take it with you without it taking up a whole lot of space.
A folding dog wheelchair is always a solid option. These are often lightweight and they fold up into something that’s a lot easier to get from place to place. Some of them will even have a bag included so that it’s that much more portable.
Part Time or Full Time?
Some dogs won’t need to use their wheelchair all of the time, so it won’t need specialized tires or heavy-duty frames. Obviously, you want them to still be mobile, but you may not need to spend quite as much.
Dogs that need to use their wheelchair full time are going to need something much more durable and that’s a lot more flexible in where it can go and how your dog is going to be able to use it.
Dogs grow and change in size throughout their lives. Even if they don’t get their wheelchair until they are an adult, they may need adjustments based on weight, height, and posture.
You should be able to make changes to the harness so that it fits the dog properly and it should be easy to make those changes. You may also be able to upgrade the harness or straps so that you can take care of things more easily.
You want your dog’s wheelchair to have padding for a few reasons. First, so that metal on the frame doesn’t end up causing them any sort of pain or discomfort.
Padding is also great for really active dogs that may be in wheelchairs. While they’re running around, they could run into things (or other dogs), and the padding ensures that they aren’t going to get injured by the framing or anything else that they may run into.
Front and/or Back Leg Support
What end of the dog needs to have support? If your dog is having issues with one set of legs or the other, then you want to know that the support they have is for that part of their body.
You can also find a dog wheelchair with full support, which helps their back and ensures that they are able to get around a lot more easily. Dogs that have neurological issues (which can affect their walking) often do better if the wheelchair has full support.
When you’re looking at the dog wheelchair measurements, you want to know that you’ve also looked at the weight. It needs to be heavy enough to keep them upright, without being so heavy that you (and they) can’t maneuver it.
Most wheelchairs weigh between 5 and 25 lbs., with a handful going above that so that giant breeds (Newfies, St. Bernards) are able to use them. Try to get a chair that is no more than 10%-15% of your dog’s body weight.
What color is the chair, and does it have reflective options? You want people to be able to see your dog, especially at dawn or dusk, and having a bright colored chair with reflective tape or wheels can make your dog much more visible.
The best dog wheelchair will have a choice between colors, so you can find what works best for what you want and what you think your dog will enjoy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a wheelchair always the best solution?
Not always. There are some three-legged dogs that do just fine without any sort of assistance. They can get around with just a little bit of help. It’s especially common for dogs who always went without a leg to actually adapt because it’s what they’ve always known.
But, in some cases, if your dog needs a little help in the mobility department, a wheelchair can make a world of difference. You just want to be sure that you get the one that’s meant for your dog and their particular needs and concerns.
What other considerations should I make for my disabled dog?
If you have a disabled dog, you want to be certain that you have as many aids as possible for them. You may want to get a dog wheelchair ramp installed so that they don’t have to try and navigate their way up a set of stairs or around your house.
On top of that, be sure that you give the dog enough space to get around the furniture in your home. You don’t want them getting caught on corners or on junk in your house.
How can I prevent my dog from developing sores?
Sores are a common problem for many dogs in wheelchairs, because they’re constantly running and bumping against things in their chair. If the wheelchair is properly fitted to their body, it’s less likely, but it can still happen.
Look for models that have plenty of padding, or consider adding another layer of cloth to the parts that are touching your dog’s body. It’ll help to reduce the rubbing, cause less irritation, and make it easy to prevent any sort of sores from forming.
How do I help my dog get used to using a wheelchair?
When your dog is first using a dog wheelchair, you want to do it for a short period of time. Wheelchairs force your dog to use its body in different ways than they would normally, which can cause them to tire easily.
Take your time and do short spurts of activity. Inside, outside, and enjoying the things that you normally enjoy doing. Soon enough, your dog will be able to adapt and they’ll find that it’s much easier to go ahead and use their wheelchair with ease.
What if I have other dogs?
If you have one disabled dog and your other dogs are able-bodied, it may be a strange thing to adapt to. As long as you train your other dogs to be gentle with your disabled pup and you allow them to sniff and check things out, they are going to be much more willing to adapt to this different dog.
The best dog wheelchair may take some time for your furry family to get used to, but if they’re allowed to be curious and adapt, it’ll be like nothing ever changed.
- NMSU College of Engineering students design, build wheelchair device for dog, New Mexico State University, Jan 10, 2017
- Small Front Leg Dog Wheelchair, AbleData
- Bioengineer designs improved dog wheelchair, University of Louisville, Aug 14, 2008
- Dog Wheelchair, eBay
- DIY French Bulldog PVC Dog Wheelchair, YouTube, Mar 17, 2016
- Dog Wheelchair Veterinarian Approved, Walmart
- How to Help a Dog On Wheels: Dog Wheelchair Advice, Purina
- How to Build a Dog Wheelchair, How Stuff Works
- Dog Wheels, eBay
- Community Rallies for Disabled Dog Whose Wheelchair Was Stolen, ABC News, Aug 17, 2016