Wheelchairs For Dogs: How To Know If Your Dog Needs One

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It is always heart-breaking to face the fact that old age will affect your trusty four-legged friend in numerous ways. Your pupper is a part of the family and a dear friend, and it is never easy to see them deal with the issues that come with senior years. Arthritis and lack of mobility are amongst the most common problems that old dogs experience. These – and other similar health issues – can severely limit your dog’s mobility, or even make it totally impossible for them to walk on their own. Luckily, there are new and advanced methods of alleviating this issue – and wheelchairs for dogs are amongst the best! Comfortable and supportive, wheelchairs for dogs are a great way to once more bring joy and mobility back into your dog’s life. 

Limited mobility in dogs can stem from a variety of reasons. These can be genetic or result of injuries or simply come with old age. In the case of the first two, where your dog is for example born paralyzed or lost the use of the rear legs due to some trauma, wheelchairs come as a number one solution. But when to know if your dog needs a wheelchair in other cases – such as old age?

There are a few symptoms you can observe in order to get an overall idea. Muscle atrophy is one of the foremost signs of impaired mobility. As extremities gradually fall out of use, the muscles atrophy due to lack of activity. Loss of balance is another clear sign of the onset of gradual paralysis. If your dog has issues standing up or walking independently, it is a big indicator that a wheelchair is needed. You can also observe your furry friend for any sudden and new changes in their behavior, which could stem from pain in their joints or their lack of confidence around stairs and other obstacles around the house. These issues, paired with advanced age, can be best remedied with a special wheelchair for dogs. 

Luckily, these wheelchairs are becoming increasingly versatile and efficient – and best of all, widely available. Of course, your vet will always be the best source of advice. They can perform a detailed evaluation and recommend dog wheelchairs if they are necessary. This will usually be the case if your dog happens to suffer from conditions such as hip dysplasia, severe arthritis, paralysis, atrophy of spinal muscles and nerves, amputation, or simply recovery from surgery. 

One great and easy way to test your dog’s mobility at home is the towel test. This is a simple way to see whether your dog can benefit from a wheelchair, especially when you observe a lack of mobility. To do this, you simply take a towel and place it underneath your dog’s abdomen. By gently lifting the towel ends – and thus your dog’s rear legs – you can observe whether they can use their front legs for walking. In case they do, a wheelchair will be needed to support just the rear end. If their front legs however can’t function during the towel test, it is likely that your dog will need support for their whole body.