Is a dog wheelchair safe for your dog?
First, determine with your veterinarian if your pet is healthy enough to drive a dog stroller. With the “towel test” you can assess the health and mobility of your pet at home. Place a towel in front of your dog’s hind legs. While holding onto each end of a towel, gently lift your dog’s hind legs off the ground. While your dog is supporting his weight with only his front legs, slowly step forward.
- If your dog can walk well with you supporting his hind legs, he needs a dog wheelchair (Outcome 1).
- If your dog is still having trouble taking a step forward and his front legs are spread outward, he needs a full-assist wheelchair (quad) with front and rear wheels (Outcome 2).
Monitor your pet’s skills
Continue to be vigilant in monitoring your pet’s abilities and the amount of time they can realistically “bear” in the cart. Your pet should never be in the dog wheelchair for more than an hour. The safe range is 15 minutes to an hour, a few times a day. Offers plenty of time between sessions in the cart. We recommend starting with short wheelchair sessions first and building up to longer periods as the dog builds endurance.
When your pet needs rehabilitation (physical therapy), a dog wheelchair is the perfect tool for an easier, safer and faster recovery. Our wheeled cart is safe for water if you are considering hydrotherapy for injury or recovery from surgery. A dog wheelchair can help your dog recover and encourage them to exercise more. The longer a dog is down or struggling with mobility, the more difficult it will be to regain strength. A healthy dog is an active dog.
People have asked, ‘Are dog wheelchairs safe for my dog?’
In short, YES BUT to avoid mishaps in your pet’s wheelchair got to:
Pet wheelchairs are not like human wheelchairs
When getting your pet used to a cart–
- Introduce your pet to the harness first, and then to the wheelchair. Always use positive reinforcement
- Start with short supervised sessions. Five or ten minutes until the comfort level increases
- Have special treats ready and reward your pet as they adapt
- Hold the leash to prevent zoomie mode with this newfound, untested mobility
- Continue to hold the leash as your pet adjusts to turns
- Hold the leash while your pet gets used to different terrains
- Always start the acclimatization period on a hard, smooth and level surface
- Always be aware that your dog will not create a situation where it can tip over
- Be aware that your dog will not bump into children, other dogs and people
- If you walk on or near sidewalks, make sure your dog is trained to get used to stepping on or off curbs
- If you are on a hike, be aware of the surroundings and terrain: rocks, exposed tree roots, fallen branches, holes, squirrels and other hikers
- If you’re going for a walk on the beach, you may need to help your dog until you reach the shore’s firm sand
- Your Walkin’ Wheels are designed to withstand salt water. See post-water care article. (link) The car is NOT a swimming device. Use it in the water with extreme care and guidance
- Most importantly, your dog can only be in his wheelchair (or carriage) for a Limited time
Wheelchair (dog stroller) safety tips
At any given time of day, a pet should only be in a wheelchair for a certain amount of time 15 minutes to an hour and get significant and long breaks from the car.
Your pet shouldn’t have to work so hard to manage the cart that they lose interest.
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Tips for getting your dog used to a dog wheelchair
For most of the day, when your pet is not in a wheelchair and is paralyzed in the hindquarters, use a Walkin’ Drag Bag (in your house and your fenced yard). Also available for non-wheelchair mobility is the walking scooter.
The right cart that is right for your pet and your pet’s injury or “condition”.
- wheelchair size
- Which harness is suitable for pet and cart?
- Does your pet need abdominal/back support?
- Correct wheels – size and type
Harness, front and/or rear (adjustable)
- Secure stirrup placement and adjustment (if needed)
- Wheel height adjustment
- Are leg rings required?
- Adjustment of leg rings (paralyzed, female or intact male)
- Put a big dog in a cart
- Does your pet need (or will) have a front wheel attachment to convert to a quad stroller?
Contact our Customer Service Representatives if you have any questions about pet stroller identification, fitting, measuring, harnesses, tow bags, scooters, etc.
Toll Free USA & Canada: (888) 253-0777
Take care of your pet’s wheelchair like a bicycle
Plan or do a tune-up a few times a year
- The shank caps are snug and in the right place on either side
- Struts are secure and at the correct height
- Your Walkin’ Wheels frame will be flexible, this is normal.
- If you decide to tighten the frame (less flexible), only do so when your dog is in the stroller.
- Make sure the leg ring tubing is in the shape of 2 Cs and is clipped over the frame and snapped into place. They hang down 2-3 inches below the frame.
- Check the wheels for condition and make sure they are secure and move easily.
- Check the tire tread regularly.
A local bike shop can also do a tune up if you’re more comfortable having a professional with wheels do the tuning.
On the subject of matching items