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Cat in Walkin' Wheels wheelchair

5 things you should know before buying a wheelchair

Five Things You Should Know Before Buying a Dog Wheelchair

Choosing a Dog Wheelchair

Article originally published on the Walkin’ Pets Blog in April, 2021. Read it here.

Choosing the right dog wheelchair for your pet doesn’t have to be challenging. Want to become a dog wheelchair expert? Here are five things you need to know before buying a dog wheelchair.

1. How Dog Wheelchairs Work

The Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchair is designed toLabrador in wheelchair help your senior or disabled pet get back on their feet. So, your pet can exercise and get back to what’s important, enjoying their family.

It’s never too early to get your dog a wheelchair. If your dog is stumbling, losing its balance, or tiring easily it’s time to consider a wheelchair. It’s true that many wheelchair dogs are paralyzed or suffer a traumatic injury but, that’s not the case with every dog. Many wheelchair dogs still walk on all four paws and even stand on their own. The Walkin’ Wheels provides support, allowing your dog to stand upright and get the exercise they so desperately need. Even dogs that can still move their back legs, benefit from using a wheelchair!

Older dogs who tire easily on long walks or whose joints ache from arthritis or hip dysplasia can greatly benefit from a wheelchair. The wheelchair supports them from underneath, relieving the stress on their joints which allows your dog to walk with ease! How your dog uses their wheelchair is up to you! Many dogs use the wheelchair every day, while other pets only on days when they need a little extra help.

For dogs recovering from injury or surgery, the Walkin’ Wheels can help them get back on their feet faster. A wheelchair can even be a wonderful addition to your dog’s rehabilitation program!

Wheelchairs Help Dogs With:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Arthritis
  • Paralysis
  • Degenerative Myelopathy or DM
  • IVDD
  • Neurological Issues
  • Surgical Recovery
  • Injuries
  • Improve Balance and Stability

2. Choosing the Right Wheelchair for Your Dog

Choosing the right cart for your dog can be overwhelming. How do you know if a dog wheelchair is the right choice for your pet? Luckily, the first step is an easy one, a simple test to help determine if your dog is a good candidate for a wheelchair.

To determine the level of support your dog needs, try this simple towel test:

Depending on your pet’s condition and mobility needs, they may require different levels of support. If your pet can easily work forward with your aid, they need a rear wheel dog wheelchair. If during the towel test your dog can step forward, but their front legs splay outward they need the support of a 4-wheel wheelchair.

Towel test

Rear Dog Wheelchairs

Rear support wheelchairs are ideal for pets with hind leg weakness, injury or paralysis. The rear wheelchair supports your dog from underneath, providing balance and stability. This allows your dog to stand, walk, run and play again! Pets with completely paralyzed rear legs can use the stirrups to elevate your dog’s rear paws safely off the ground, preventing injury caused by scraping or dragging feet.

Full Support Wheelchair

A four-wheel or quad wheelchair is perfect for dogs who are experiencing weakened limbs in the front and back legs. Your dog’s front legs must be strong enough to drive and steer their quad wheelchair. The Full Support wheelchair is a great option for dogs with progressive diseases like Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) that will worsen over time.

Rear or quad wheelchair

Adjusting to Life on Wheels

The transition into a wheelchair is an easy one for most pets. Dogs want to be moving and they learn quickly that their wheelchair is going to help them. Even dogs who haven’t run in months are so happy to be back on their feet that when using their Walkin’ Wheels for the first time, they take off! The transformation is incredible. You can see the joy in their face as they run for the first time in months.

If your dog doesn’t take off running right away, the wheelchair may just need a few minor adjustments to make them more comfortable. If you’re not sure the wheelchair is set up perfectly, snap a few photos and send them to our Wheelchair Experts to review. With a few tweaks and some encouragement from you, your dog will be running around in no time!

3. Key Wheelchair Features to Consider

Now that you know your dog needs a wheelchair, here are some key wheelchair features to help you select the best dog wheelchair for your pet:

Size

Since dogs come in all shapes and sizes, it’s important to choose one that can be sized to perfectly fit their needs.

The Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair is available in four frame sizes, Mini, Small, Medium and Large. And can accommodate pets as small as 2 lbs. and as large as 180 lbs. The Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair is fully adjustable with adjustments for width, height, and length.

Wheelchair sizes

The Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair frame is constructed of lightweight, durable aluminum. It’s light enough for even the smallest dogs to maneuver with ease and durable enough for your dog to hike up a mountain!

Size is especially important when dealing with large breed dogs. Custom carts can be too big or bulky to travel easily with. Some may not even fit into your car! Choose a wheelchair that can fold flat and be easily packed.

Wheels

Dog on wheels

Choosing the right wheels can be tough. Air tires or foam wheels? Both wheel styles work well and are great for different reasons. You want to select the wheel that’s the right fit for your (and your pup’s) lifestyle!

Foam Wheels: By far the most popular wheel type! They are made of dense, rugged foam and are very durable. These wheels can’t be punctured and will never go flat. They are also durable enough to take on any terrain.

Air-Filled Tires: provide a more natural suspension and are great for active dogs that like to run, hike and navigate over rougher terrain.

Benefits of a Fully Adjustable Wheelchair

A fully adjustable wheelchair is going to be more versatile. And you might be able to use it for multiple dogs.

The Walkin’ Wheels features push-button adjustability, allowing you to easily adjust the height, length and width, allowing you to fine-tune the size to perfectly fit your dog! An adjustable wheelchair gives your dog a customized fit without the custom price.

Will it Adapt to Fit Your Dog’s Needs?

Often mobility loss begins with weakness in a dog’s rear legs and as the condition progresses the dog’s mobility worsens over time. In many cases, the weakness slowly works its way up the spine and eventually impacts the front leg strength as well. To ensure that your dog continues to get the support they need, choose a wheelchair that can adapt as your dog’s mobility and health needs change.

The Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair is designed to adapt to your dog’s changing health needs. It easily converts from a rear-wheel wheelchair into a full support four-wheel wheelchair, giving your dog support in both the front and rear legs when they need it.

4. Can My Dog Go to the Bathroom in a Wheelchair?

Yes, your dog can relieve themselves while using their Walkin’ Wheels! Both male and female pets can pee and poop freely while using their wheelchair.

Rear leg rings support your pet from underneath and are positioned for your pet to comfortably relieve themselves. For dogs with a long tail, simply place your dog’s tail over the back bar of the wheelchair to keep it from being soiled.

Not only can they go to the bathroom while using their Walkin’ Wheels, but it may help them to go! Injured and disabled dogs tend to be less active which can impact their internal functions. Once they are in their wheelchair, they are standing upright and moving more. This encourages their body to function correctly and relieve themselves more naturally.

5. Wheelchairs Aren’t Just for Dogs Anymore!

There was a time not too long ago when it might have seemed odd to see a dog in a wheelchair, but that’s not the case anymore! Now more than ever, pets are family! Pet parents around the world are willing to go above and beyond to help their fur babies.

Wheelchairs are recommended and commonly prescribed by pet care professionals for countless mobility issues and conditions. They’ve become a key component in animal rehabilitation and treatment. And the pet mobility movement has spread far beyond dogs. All different kinds of animals have used the Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair, including cats, rabbits, sheep, goats, ducks, chickens, turtles and even a raccoon.

Sheep in wheelchair

A very happy sheep

We often have second-hand wheelchairs available for sale.

Still have questions? We’re here to help! Contact us at Training Lines.

Dogs Enjoying Life with Walkin’ Wheels

Dr Sarah Wooton

Many thanks to Guest Author: Dr. Sarah J. Wooten DVM, CVJ

Dr. Sarah J. Wooten DVM, CVJ is a small animal veterinarian, writer, public speaker, and established leader in veterinary medicine. Her passion is writing and speaking from the heart on client communication and service.

Our favourite things

Our Favourite Things

KONG for your pup

The KONG Classic

These are a few of our favourite things – unassuming yet amazingly useful enrichment toys

Thanks to the pandemic, many people new to pet ownership are finding their feet with their new paws and wading through the thousands of available aids, toys, and enrichment games on the market.

We see a lot of different toys for pets and there are plenty of choices, but what if you want a “toy” that has more than one purpose? One that can become a hit with your pet and your go-to item for entertainment, comfort or learning. Have a quick browse through our well-tested, favourite things.

KONG

KONG sizes

KONG – available in a range of sizes and varieties

Years ago, when we bought our pups their first KONGs, neither we nor the youngsters were impressed. We tried throwing them, but there wasn’t a lot of interest in them and they may have chewed on them for a while, but they just weren’t very stimulating. If only we had known!

KONGs solve these problems

What use is a KONG?

Fast forward a few years and we learned the secret of the KONG – the filling! Fill them with all sorts of goodies and the dogs were drooling the moment they saw them. That is the value of a KONG. Freeze them in the hot weather for a nice refreshing treat and prolong the entertainment.

KONG Stuffing

Learn to stuff ’em

Cats too, can get to enjoy this far from boring gift that keeps on giving.

Kitty KONG for cats

The Kitty KONG

Puller

Puller pup

The Puller Dog Exercise Toy

Another product that doesn’t initially excite you when you first set eyes on it. The Puller has become the number one favourite toy in our household. They all love it, even Jack, who doesn’t play with toys.

Puller range

The Puller comes in a wide range of sizes to suit all breeds

It will fly like a frisbee, roll along the ground, float in water and not surprisingly, you can use it as a puller or tuggy. If you have more than one dog, they can play tug together. Our dogs adore it, especially our Daisy, who would swim to it in the pool and even chase it in her wheelchair.

But that’s not all it does, it is also a dog fitness aid, and with it, you get instructions on just how to use it to get your dog fit. But, if fun is all you’re after, you can’t beat it!

Puller train

Train your dog to fitness with the Puller

Tug n Toss Jolly Ball

Tug n Toss Jolly Ball Floats

The Tug n Toss Jolly Ball

The Tug n Toss Jolly Ball is actually lovely to look at, but it is far more than just an ornament. This toy floats beautifully in water and, with the handle, is perfect for a dog to grab. Although our big boy Blitz never bothered with the handle, he enjoyed chomping into the body with his powerful jaws. And that’s the beauty of a Tug n Toss Jolly Ball, they may puncture, but they don’t deflate.

Jolly Ball Range

Available in a range of sizes and even scented varieties

Great for tossing, retrieving and for mouthing. They are also brilliant enrichment toys for horses and come in scented varieties to entice the equine nose!

Jolly Horse

An enrichment toy for your horse or pony

HOL-EE Roller

Hol-EE Roller

The HOL-EE Roller

This one took us by surprise. We have stocked the HOL-EE Roller for a while, but had no idea that there was a whole movement out there – #hackyourholee.

Hack your HOL-EE

#hackyourholee

Such a simple, unassuming “toy”, and yet it has a cult following. Inventive owners have come up with all sorts of wonderful ideas to turn this into probably one of the best, most cost-effective enrichment toys around at the moment.

HOL-EE Sizes

The HOL-EE Roller comes in a range of sizes

Use the HOL-EE Roller for a simple game of fetch if you wish, but you can go so much further. Attach a handle to it for an instant tuggy. Fill it with treats, or don’t just fill it with treats! Cut up some felt strips, roll the treats inside and then push them through the holes of the HOL-EE for longer-lasting fun and a handy brain game. Alternatively, put a ball or squeaker inside for some exciting entertainment. And horses can enjoy it too!

Hol-EE Roller horse

Fill the HOL-EE Roller with hay or treats to make snack time more fun

Walkin’ Wheels Second-Hand Wheelchairs

Dog wheelchairs

Does your dog need a wheelchair?

How do you know when your dog needs a wheelchair?

This is a difficult question and one we pondered on for quite a while, probably too long. It can be a big investment, so it needs to offer a lot of benefits.

With Daisy and her DM, we knew only too well the progression of the illness, but we had no idea whether a wheelchair would help her or if she would even accept it.

We eventually decided we would go ahead and try one when she still had use of all 4 legs. DM was creeping along, and she was already unsteady on her back legs but could still run and walk about indoors.

If you are struggling with this same conundrum, why not read this article for some inspiration: Dog Wheelchair – Independent Dog Wheelchair Reviews – Canine Compilation

Which is the best wheelchair for my dog?

Walkin' Wheels Wheelchairs

Walkin’ Wheels Wheelchairs

Another difficult question. We started out buying a second-hand Eddies Wheels wheelchair that wasn’t the ideal size for Daisy. However, we spent a lot of time and effort customising it to fit her needs. We pretty much took it apart and put it back together again in a way that suited her best. It was perfect for a few months but then started to deteriorate. We found ourselves constantly repairing it on every outing.

Her second wheelchair was from Best Friends. It was also used and on loan to us from a charity. This one was a much better fit, but our customising options were limited since it didn’t belong to us. Several other dogs had used it before we got it, so again, it was in constant need of repair. When we noticed that Daisy was struggling on her front legs, we looked around for something more suitable.

We came across Walkin’ Wheels and purchased the 4-wheel option to future-proof it. This wheelchair was the perfect fit. We were impressed by how customisable it was out of the box and the sturdiness of the frame. She seemed far more comfortable in this one than the previous ones.

Will my dog take to a wheelchair?

Daisy in her Walkin' Wheels Wheelchair

Daisy in her camo Walkin’ Wheels Wheelchair

For us, this was the most critical question and one that could only be addressed the first time we put her in it.

At first, the answer was no! She refused to move. Remember, she still had the use of four legs. She much preferred being walked in a sling where she would run around quite happily with one of us trying to keep up with her.

By combining her sling with her first wheelchair, we finally got her to use it. Once she realised she had her freedom back and could chase her beloved Puller, there was no stopping her – all she had needed was the right motivation.

Wheelchairs are not just for dogs

Walkin' Wheels Wheelchairs for cats

Other animals can benefit from a wheelchair

We’ve seen cats, goats, sheep, and even ducks benefit from a wheelchair, whether it be long-term or short-term, to cope with surgery or injury.

Take a look at our range of second-hand, hardly used wheelchairs

Second-hand Walkin' Wheels Wheelchairs

Second-hand Walkin’ Wheels Wheelchairs

If you face this dilemma and are undecided, we are now offering a range of second-hand/hardly used Walkin’ Wheels Wheelchairs for sale.

We may not have the ideal size available for your dog, so if you don’t see what you need or would like further advice, please contact us, and we will be happy to help.

Daisy

We never did use the front wheels. We lost Daisy in December 2019 and miss her every day. She was such a character. One thing we don’t ever regret was getting her that wheelchair. Watching her run around in her Wakin’ Wheels wheelchair was our greatest pleasure and left us with many happy memories. It gave her back some of what DM had taken away, and you could see on her face how happy and contented she was pottering around the field, sniffing out rabbits – just one of the gang and being a normal dog in her last few months.

Daisy in her Walkin' Wheels Wheelchair

Daisy – just one of the gang!

Wheels for Hope Margo

Rescue dog in Romania with her Walkin' Wheels

Hope Margo in her new Walkin’ Wheels

Wheels to Romania

We recently received a wheelchair order from a customer in the USA, which we shipped to a dog rescue in Romania. A week or so later, we were delighted to receive this picture from Negris place – dog rescue (WARNING: this Facebook page does show some distressing images) where we got to see Hope Margo’s first outing in her shiny new wheels. This beautiful soul was hit by a car and left by the road until she was discovered in a bad way two days later.

Rescue dog in Romania recovering from surgery

Hope Margo recovering from surgery

She had surgery and has made an amazing recovery, and thanks to the tireless efforts of the rescue and the generosity of the wheelchair donor, she is now ready to embark on a new life in a loving family home.

Could you rescue a pet?

We have been lucky enough to have shared our lives with two amazing rescue GSDs from Vigil GSD Rescue, Blitz and Fin. They were both fantastic dogs. It took a while for them to settle in and they never truly got along together. However, we were able to find a simple way to manage that situation and both dogs led wonderfully happy, fulfilled lives with us. Watching them blossom after their unsettled start was a lovely experience.

If you are seriously considering taking on a rescue animal and giving them a fresh start in a new home, you may face a few challenges to start with, but you too can discover just how immensely rewarding it can be.

Adopt don’t Shop

Taking on a dog or any pet is a huge commitment. If you have decided that it’s for you, then it’s worthwhile thinking Adopt Don’t Shop!

Pet rescue organisations in the UK:

Walkin’ Wheels Wheelchairs

Talkin’ Wheels

Daisy in her wheels

Daisy in her Walkin’ Wheels

Wheelchairs for pets are growing in popularity

During lockdown, we’ve been taken aback by the volume of calls we’ve received from owners considering a wheelchair for their dog.

Is it because people are spending more time with their pets and have been forced to confront the reality that they are ageing or becoming less mobile? We know we buried our heads in the sand for some time and were reluctant to admit that Daisy had a problem.

Whether like Daisy, your dog has DM (degenerative myelopathy), another problem, or just old age creeping up, there is no doubt that a dog wheelchair can bring immense benefits.

Let’s face it, when you see your pet in the early stages, still walking but starting to struggle, you may consider euthanasia. No one wants to see a beloved pet suffer, and for some, that may be the correct course of action. Also, financially, it can be a difficult choice as a dog wheelchair is a considerable investment.

Should you consider wheels?

Daisy digging in her wheelchair

Daisy still able to dig up molehills!

If you are facing this situation and you are undecided, let’s consider some of the pros and cons of taking that step.

Wheels can be a viable option. They give your dog (or cat) back the freedom that they once had to run free, chase their ball, or just potter around sniffing if that’s their thing.

With the correct introduction and encouragement, a dog wheelchair can enhance your pet’s life by giving them back the independence of movement. They can still pee and poop whilst in their chair too.

A dog wheelchair can also give pets a huge mental boost, particularly if they have become frustrated or depressed when they cannot move around as freely as they once could. It is incredible how quickly they adapt to the wheels.

On the negative side, it is true that some pets simply don’t take to dog wheelchairs. We believe that with a little work, and right incentive, most hurdles can be overcome, but of course, each dog is different.

For larger pets, wheelchairs can be less practical for indoor use – the larger the wheelchair, the wider the wheelbase becomes, so doorways and furniture (and your feet!) are difficult to navigate around.

You should also consider how you will lift your pet in and out of their wheelchair. Technique is everything, but even so, your dog may be heavy and need to be manoeuvred into place. Additional accessories may be needed to help you (such as harness that can be fitted onto your dog first, before clipping straight into the wheelchair frame).

Think about the terrain on which the dog wheelchair will be used. Long grass or large obstacles will make it more difficult for your pet to move around, and you may need to choose a less hazardous route when out and about.

Do your research

Before you make your decision, think about what you want your dog’s wheelchair to do for them. Do some research, and talk to other owners who have taken the plunge. They will be the first to tell you the highs and the lows of wheelchair life, and talking about their experiences can really help you.

When one of our GSDs, Blitz, was diagnosed with DM, dog wheelchairs were not a very accessible option. He was happy when he was around us, but he would have loved to be mobile again.

By the time Daisy was diagnosed 8 years later, dog wheelchairs were becoming more prevalent. We were sceptical of them, and unsure whether Daisy would be willing, but we are so glad we gave one a try. Daisy was gifted nearly two years of happy ramblings with her wheelchairs, chasing her beloved Puller. Even when she could no longer run after it, walking around the field with it clamped firmly between her jaws was enough to put a smile on her face!

Daisy’s wheelchair journey:

Sabrina

From a happy new Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchair user:

Sabrina in her wheelchair

Sabrina in her new Walkin Wheels wheelchair

“It has been great to see our dog have some quality of life back. We can’t get her out every day, but when we, can she loves it.”

Sabrina in her wheelchair

Rolling happily along!

“I was worried she wouldn’t take to it as she has always been scared of most things (she doesn’t even like squeaky toys) but as soon as we put it on her she was off”.

Walkin’ Wheels Wheelchairs