Choosing the right wheelchair for your dog
Who Needs a Cart?
Most of us think of wheelchairs for paralysis, but there are many more conditions that benefit!
- Missing rear limb(s)
- Missing forelimb(s)
- Elbow arthritis with hindlimb weakness
- Degenerative myelopathy
- Vestibular disease
- Pug myelopathy
- Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD)
What types of carts are available?
- Rear wheel
- Front wheel
- Variable axel ( changes as a dog loses function over time)
- Quad cart (all 4 legs are affected)
- Training wheels (animals that are relearning walking skills)
The “people” factor:
Not every household is right for a wheelchair dog.
- Dogs cannot lie down in their carts, which means they can’t tell you when they are tired.
- They must be closely supervised so if they get hung up on something the can be rescued.
- They must still be taken out with a harness or other support to urinate and defecate, as they cannot do this in a cart.
- They cannot be around open stairs or in rooms that have a sunken living room.
- They must be lifted in and out, so must have a human capable of this.
- They still require time out of their cart so having a “scootable” living area is essential
Why should I get a custom cart?
We’ve all shopped for shoes and found ones that despite being “the right size”, the shoes just don’t fit your foot. As you want around they hurt or cause blisters or make your back hurt. Maybe you have short toes, a tall arch, or a wide ball of your foot. Now imagine a small dog. The shape of a small Pug and a Dachshund are entirely different, needing different areas of support.
Sometimes we find that “off the shelf” carts work fine — just like sometimes your right size shoe does fit right. The challenge is when it doesn’t…..a cart too short or too long puts additional pressure on an already compromised spine. A cart that is too wide allows too much swing, compromising the spine and shoulders. Carts that don’t properly support the bulk of the dog (too flimsy) create bounce in the front limbs putting additional pressure on elbows and shoulders. And dogs that have degenerative myelopathy or arthritis in both the forelimbs and the hindlimbs need a cart that can change its center of gravity as the dog becomes weaker.
Eddie’s Wheels: (eddieswheels.com)
We want you to have a right cart for your dog’s longevity! Therefore we partner with Eddie’s Wheels to create a custom cart to support all the different needs specific to YOUR dog. The Eddie’s company makes every cart custom to your dog’s special needs and is always there for us and for you afterwards to trouble-shoot and to help as your dog’s body changes over time.
We do not recommend measuring for a cart yourself. Getting the right positioning to get proper measurements usually takes 3 of our team to get just right. We measure for 2-3 carts per month so really know the ins and outs of getting it just right. Even so, some carts need adjustments at their first fitting, something we are adept at. And if we have an issue, Eddie’s works with us by email, by photos and by Skype to make sure ever cart is a success.