A common question among dog owners is whether they should put their dogs in a wheelchair. The answer depends on the physical condition of the dog. A dog that has lost partial or complete mobility needs help to walk.
Can I Put My Dog in a Wheelchair?
Mobility issues are the major indicator your furry buddy needs a wheelchair. It’s better to call a vet if you notice your dog cannot walk or feels pain when walking. Depending on the condition, the veterinarian might recommend a wheelchair.
You may also need to conduct a towel test to assess whether your dog needs a wheelchair. This test checks whether the pooch’s limps are strong enough to support its body.
Many senior dogs have trouble walking. So, they may require wheelchairs to walk appropriately.
Healthy dogs can also experience mobility problems. Below are common conditions that might necessitate a rollator.
Dysplasia and Arthritis
Arthritis and dysplasia are joint problems. Arthritis is common in senior dogs, while dysplasia occurs in any dog. The latter is a growth deformity that prevents the dog’s hip joint from developing as it should.
Both conditions are painful, meaning your dog will have problems walking. It might need a wheelchair to move around comfortably.
Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)
IVDD is a degenerative condition that affects the spinal code of dogs. It may weaken or even paralyse your dog’s legs. A wheelchair might help with rehabilitation, but it will be a mainstay in paralysed dogs.
Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)
DM is a spinal code condition that causes progressive hind leg weakness. It might eventually result in paralysis. If your dog is diagnosed with DM, it will benefit from using a wheelchair.
A wheelchair may also help dogs suffering from:
- Neurological issues
- Surgery recovery
- General limb weakness
More Reading: 10 Best Rollators in Ireland
How Long Can a Dog Stay in a Wheelchair?
The duration your dog spends on a wheelchair varies, depending on its age, condition, and stamina.
Dogs that are starting on wheelchairs require time getting used to them. Such dogs need a daily 10-minute session to strengthen their functioning limbs and get used to the wheelchair.
You can increase the session to one hour if you feel your dog has adapted and developed stamina.
That said, your pooch shouldn’t use a wheelchair for long durations. Extended sessions can cause discomfort or soreness.
Sessions on a rollator are necessary when exercising, playing, or socialising. Remember, there should be periods of rest where you take the dog off the wheelchair.
Never leave an unattended dog in a wheelchair. It’s advisable to take the dog off the wheelchair if you aren’t around. You could enlist a dog sitter, but you must train them to handle your disabled dog.
Are Dog Wheelchairs Cruel?
No. Dog wheelchairs aren’t cruel. When used correctly, a dog cart can be very beneficial. This chair extends the functional life of disabled dogs. Instead of lying down helplessly, your dog can enjoy a happy, normal life.
Dog carts can help your four-legged friend to overcome injuries and minor surgeries. A wheelchair relieves the stress the dog puts on its fractured leg. The affected limb can therefore heal faster without interference.
Wheelchairs also play a significant role in rehabilitating dogs that suffer from bone or spinal code conditions. They provide much-needed exercise. More workout leads to the production of joint fluid, which can help lubricate sore joints.
Overall, dog rollators help improve the life quality of disabled dogs.
How Do I Make My Dog Get Used to a Wheelchair?
Transitioning to wheelchair life isn’t easy. Your dog will require several training sessions to adapt. Training needs patience, and you might use treats to motivate your pet.
Dogs that are partially impaired pose lots of challenges. Such dogs may try to move the affected limb, which is usually painful. Contrary, paralysed dogs might be easier to train. They don’t feel pain, meaning you can easily place them on dog carts.
The first session on a wheelchair is usually uncomfortable for a dog. That’s why you should try making this first experience a positive one.
Start by introducing the wheelchair to the dog. You can let the dog touch it and get used to staying around it. Let it accustom to the sounds the harness produces.
Once it gets familiar with the wheelchair, proceed to put on the harness and other components. Of course, this is the hardest part. Timid dogs might require more time, so don’t force the issue.
When putting on the harness, pay attention to the dog’s behaviour. Try to adjust the wheelchair if you notice any discomforts. Also, ensure the straps aren’t too tight. You can distract the dog with treats as you fasten the cart.
Fit the wheelchair correctly such that the dog feels its limbs are touching the ground. Use a belly strap to reinforce a dog that has weak core muscles.
Your dog should start walking a few seconds after everything is set up correctly. You can use treats or favourite foods to motivate the dog to walk longer distances.
Limit the first sessions to 10-15 minutes daily. You can extend it to 60 minutes when the dog builds muscles and feels comfortable in the rollator.
Remember to research and use a suitable wheelchair for your dog. The dog’s condition and its mobility needs should guide you when purchasing a chair. Most disabled dogs use either rear support chairs or full support wheelchairs.
Rear support carts suit dogs with weak hind limbs, while full support wheelchairs benefit dogs with weak front and back legs.
Other things to consider when shopping for dog carts include:
Can a Dog Poop in a Wheelchair?
Yes. A dog can poop while in a wheelchair. Most manufacturers design chairs in a way that reinforces the dog’s legs. This means dogs in wheelchairs can relieve themselves without any problem. New dogs might need some training and encouragement before they are used to the wheelchair.