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Why Do Some Dogs Need Wheelchairs?

January 24, 2022

Why Do Some Dogs Need Wheelchairs?

Wheelchairs, such as the Haute Wheels Pet Wheelchair, provide injured, ailing, or aging dogs greater mobility and freedom. That makes them a wonderful means of repaying your dog for years of loyalty, companionship, and endless play. 


Common Conditions That Benefit from a Wheelchair

 

There are many reasons that a dog might benefit from a wheelchair. One of the most common is some form of partial or complete paralysis in the legs. Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) is a common cause of partial paralysis, and in late stages the paralysis often proves irreversible. Other degenerative spine diseases such as diabetic neuropathy, degenerative myelopathy, and even arthritis may cause excessive weakness in the hind limbs. Dogs with any of these conditions may benefit from a wheelchair. 

 


Another condition improved by the use of a wheelchair is loss of motor control resulting from neurological damage. In the case of unilateral (single leg) hind limb amputees, the support of a wheelchair prevents the dog from placing all of their rear weight on one limb, which may lead to early arthritis or knee injuries. 

 


Benefits of a Dog Wheelchair


Our dog wheelchairs are designed to provide support and mobility to dogs who struggle to get around on their own. It is well known that exercise has numerous positive effects for any animal, including increases in blood circulation, mental awareness, and muscle growth. The increased muscle growth is especially important for dogs with weakened leg muscles. Wheelchairs allow dogs to use their weakened limbs in minor ways in order to regain some of the muscle that may have atrophied due to their condition. In addition to allowing your dog to maintain their health through more regular exercise, a wheelchair can return a sense of independence, freedom, and fun to dogs who have had their mobility restricted by sudden or chronic conditions. The adjustability of our wheelchair design also allows you to work with your pet to find the best balance of wheel support, and even change it as your dog recovers strength and confidence.

 

Wheelchairs also prevent secondary injuries that might result from hind limb weakness. When a dog's hind limbs are weak or paralyzed, they tend to try holding one close to their body while they walk. This causes tension and stress to the muscles in the leg, eventually becoming even more painful. When dogs are incapable of holding their legs close to the body - or when there is weakness in both back legs - they will often drag them on the ground as they walk. This behavior can lead to cuts, bruises, and abrasions. The extra weight also puts stress on the spine and can lead to further damage. Whether due to paralysis or lack of control, dogs who cannot use their hind limbs at all also benefit from our wheelchair’s padded foot straps to keep their rear limbs comfortable and supported. 

 

 

Lastly - and most importantly, many pet parents who are taking care of a special needs pet forget about the benefits a wheelchair may bring to themselves.  When a dog is dependent on their owner to get from one place to another, there is a considerable amount of time that is devoted to carrying the dog from place to place, cleaning up bathroom accidents, and potentially even hand-feeding. The freedom a wheelchair offers can reduce stress and sadness  for the whole family - not just your beloved pet!

 



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