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VOTED SME NEWS BEST PET TRAVEL SOLUTIONS RETAILER 2023

Dog Wheelchairs: A Complete Buying Guide

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Dog Wheelchairs: A Complete Buying Guide

 

What to Consider When Buying a Dog Wheelchair

Dog wheelchairs and dog mobility aids have become increasingly popular in recent years, providing renewed freedom and independence to dogs with mobility issues. As a nation of pet lovers, we want the best for our beloved furry friends. As an authorised retailer of Walkin' Pets dog wheelchairs from Walkin' Wheels, we, at Silver Circle Pets, want to provide you with the information you need to make the best purchase for your furry friend. Here is our complete guide to buying a dog wheelchair.

 

Which wheelchair size is right for my pet? 

Choosing the correct size wheelchair for your pet is simpler than you may imagine. You need just two pieces of information to find the right dog wheelchair for your best animal friend: their weight and the height measurement of their rear leg.

 

Why measuring matters

The weight of your furry friend will determine which Walkin' Pets wheelchair is best for them. The size and weight capacity of dog wheelchairs vary, so choosing one that is appropriate for their weight will provide comfort and correct support while using the wheelchair.

 

 


Measuring rear leg height

In order to find out what size wheelchair your canine companion needs, you should measure their rear leg height.

Here's how to measure accurately:

  1. Ensure they are relaxed and lying down on their side.
  2. Hold their hind leg in a natural standing position with a slight bend, rather than fully stretched out.
  3. Measure from the point where the leg meets the torso down to the bottom of the paw.

Using their size and weight, you can refer to the guide below to determine which wheelchair is best suited for them:

0.9 to 4.5 kg: Mini Wheelchair

5 to 11.3 kg: Small Wheelchair

11.8 to 22.2 kg: Medium Wheelchair

22.7 to 31.3 kg: Medium/Large Wheelchair

31.8 to 81.6 kg: Large Wheelchair

For Dachshunds and Corgis, due to their elongated bodies, there are special wheelchair sizes available.

 

a diagram showing how to measure your dogs rear leg height for a wheels4dogs wheelchair

Which Type of Support Does Your Dog Need?

 

There are three different types of Walkin' Pets animal wheelchairs:

1. Front: The front-support pet wheelchair is designed to support dogs who have lost mobility in their front legs due to an injury or medical condition. These wheelchairs are also useful for dogs who are born without front legs or have had their front legs amputated. The front support wheelchair is designed to provide maximum support to the dog's chest, shoulders, and front legs, allowing them to maintain an upright position and move around more easily.

Please note that the below images show how the front support wheelchair assists animals. It is not possible to purchase front support only due to its impracticality. A front support wheelchair comes with the rear attachment for stability. 

    a side by side image of the front dog wheels4dogs wheel chair and how it fits on a dog

     

    2. Rear: The rear support pet wheelchair is designed for dogs who have lost mobility in their back legs due to an injury or medical condition. These wheelchairs are also useful for dogs who are born without hind legs or have had their hind legs amputated. The rear support wheelchair is designed to provide maximum support to the dog's hips, pelvis, and hind legs, allowing them to maintain an upright position and move around more easily.

     

    a side by side comparison of the rear dog wheels4dogs wheelchair and how it fits on your dog

     

    3. Four-Wheel/Full Support: The 4-wheel or full support pet wheelchair is designed for dogs who require support for both their front and hind legs. This type of wheelchair is useful for dogs who have suffered from spinal cord injuries, degenerative myelopathy, or other conditions that affect both their front and back legs. The quad wheelchair is designed to provide maximum support to the dog's entire body, allowing them to maintain an upright position and move around more easily.

     

    a side by side comparison of the 4-wheel dog wheelchair and how it fits your dog

     

    It is important to consult with your veterinarian to determine which type of Walkin' Pets wheelchair is best suited for your dog's specific needs. Factors such as the nature and extent of any condition they may have, their weight, and their overall health will need to be taken into consideration when choosing the appropriate type of mobility support.

     

    Common medical reasons for dog wheelchair usage

    There are many medical conditions and injuries that may cause a dog to require a wheelchair or a mobility support product. Some of the most common medical reasons that a dog may need a wheelchair include:

    1. Degenerative Myelopathy: This is a progressive neurological disease that affects the spinal cord and can lead to weakness, loss of coordination, and eventually paralysis in the hind legs.

    2. Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD): This is a condition that affects the spinal discs in the back and can lead to pain, weakness, and paralysis in the hind legs.

    3. Arthritis: Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease that can cause pain and stiffness in the joints and may eventually lead to mobility issues.

    4. Hip Dysplasia: This is a hereditary condition that affects the hip joint and can cause pain, lameness, and difficulty walking.

    5. Traumatic Injuries: Dogs can suffer from traumatic injuries such as spinal cord injuries, fractures, and amputations that can cause paralysis or mobility issues.

    6. Neurological Disorders: Various neurological conditions such as stroke, brain tumours, and infections can cause mobility issues in dogs.

    If you think your canine companion might be having trouble moving around or has been diagnosed with a condition that might call for a wheelchair, it's crucial to have a chat with your vet. They can help you figure out the most suitable treatment and assistance for your beloved pet.

     

    Discussion Questions

     

    • How much do dog wheelchairs cost?

    The cost of a Walkin' Wheels dog wheelchair in the UK can vary based on differing factors, such as the type of wheelchair and size. Here's a general price range for different types of dog wheelchairs:


    1. Rear Support Wheelchairs:

    These are designed for dogs with back-leg mobility issues. Prices can range from £200 to £450, depending on the size and type.

     

    2. Front Support Wheelchairs:

    These are for dogs with front-leg mobility issues. Prices may start at around £220.


    3. Full Support (Quad) Wheelchairs:

    These are for dogs needing support for both front and hind legs. Prices can vary, starting at around £600 or more.


    It's important to note that the price may vary depending on the specific type of Walkin' Wheels wheelchair you may need.

    • How long can a dog use a wheelchair?
    While there are no definitive rules on continuous use of a wheelchair, as this depends on varying factors like your dog's age and condition, there are guidelines: 
    For pets that have just become or are in the process of becoming accustomed to a Walkin' Pets wheelchair, it is best to limit their use to 5 to 15 minutes - checking for any sore spots after use. 

    Once they have become familiar with the wheelchair, you can gradually increase their usage time to 2 - 4 hours. The time it takes for a dog to reach this stage varies, so it's important to support them with encouragement, praise, and a pace that suits them.

    For elderly dogs, and dogs with injuries or conditions, you may find that shorter usage times of 1-2 hours are better to begin with, increasing the time as and when necessary. 
     
    When they become settled with their new Walkin' Wheels, they are safe to use them for 8-10 hours. 

    It is important to allow dogs regular breaks from being in the wheelchair when using it for an extended period of time. 

     

    • Can I take a wheelchair outdoors?
    Absolutely! Dog wheelchairs are designed for both outdoor and indoor use. They are built to handle various terrains, from grassy fields to street pavements. Just make sure the wheelchair fits your fur buddy comfortably, and you're ready for newfound adventures together.

     

    • Can a dog use a wheelchair indoors?

    Certainly! Before you buy one with the intention of indoor use, just make sure to measure the width of your doorways and compare this with the width of the wheelchair. This will ensure your furry friend can navigate around the house in their new wheels with ease.

    • Can dogs use the bathroom in a dog wheelchair?
    Yes, they can, comfortably and conveniently, too!



    • Can my dog sit in a wheelchair?

    No, they cannot. Wheelchairs for dogs by Walkin' Wheels are designed to provide safe and secure support. Allowing a wheelchair to collapse at any moment, would risk injury to the dog and, therefore, would not be safe support for their spines.

    spring-loaded style wheelchair has been tested in the past, however, this did not receive positive reviews. 

    • Can dogs lay down with a dog wheelchair?

    No, they cannot. The 4-wheel/quad wheelchair is designed to provide mobility.

    • Can my pet use their rear legs in the wheelchair?
    Yes, they can! This is encouraged to help them maintain muscle use in their legs with their newfound freedom. If, for any reason, your dog is unable to use their back legs, the stirrups in the wheelchair will hold them up to prevent them from dragging along the ground.
    • Will this wheelchair rehabilitate my dog?
    While some dogs have improved to the point of only needing the wheelchair temporarily, it is important to remember that this is unique to each use case. The main benefit of Walkin' Wheels is that it gives your furry family member freedom, which in turn improves their physical and mental well-being.  
    • What is the difference between foam wheels and air tires?

    Foam Wheels: These wheels are made with a dense foam interior and an outer layer of rubber. They are puncture-proof and require minimal maintenance. Foam wheels provide a smooth and comfortable ride for the dog, and they are excellent for use both indoors and outdoors. They don't require inflation and are generally hassle-free.

    Air Tires: Air tires are similar to those on bicycles or cars. They are filled with air, which allows for better shock absorption and a smoother ride, especially on rough outdoor terrain. However, they are susceptible to punctures and may require periodic maintenance to ensure they are properly inflated.

    • What is the best wheelchair for a dog? 

    Walkin' Wheels, collaborative with Wheels4Dogs are a market leader and here's a few reasons why:

    - Every wheelchair is packaged with all the essentials for your pet's mobility.
    - Constructed from robust and lightweight aircraft-grade aluminum.
    - Simple snap buttons allow for easy adjustments.
    - Larger wheelchairs can be folded to conserve space when not in use.
    - Pets can still maintain independence when going to the toilet while using the wheelchair.
    - Sizing requires just one or two straightforward measurements.
    - Ideal for active dogs across a variety of terrains.
    - Choose between foam or air-filled options for larger wheels.


    Conclusion

    To summarise, a pet wheelchair, or even a mobility aid, can be a life-changing device for dogs and other animals with mobility issues. With a dog wheelchair, you can give your animal friend a brand new lease of life. Remember, it is important to consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions about your dog's mobility needs. For a closer look at how a Walkin' Pets animal wheelchair and the fitting of one works, be sure to check out the video below. And don't forget, pet wheelchairs aren't just for dogs - they can also be used for goats, cats, and other animals. 

     

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