Looking for the best dog wheelchairs to give your best friend the maximum possible mobility?
Our dogs are treasured members of our families and our best friends.
But sometimes, our best friend needs a little extra help to keep up with us – enter the dog wheelchair.
We share some of our most fun and happy moments with them and take comfort from their companionship. When we get a dog, we commit to caring for them throughout their lifetime – even when things get rough – and some dogs require a little more help than others.
Just like us humans, some dogs, whether through accident or ill health, become disabled and require the use of a wheelchair to live life to the full and to enable you to continue to enjoy life with your pet.
This can be a heartbreaking situation for owners – and distressing for your pup – but thankfully, help is at hand, as there are plenty of affordable, quality wheelchairs for dogs on the market.
Let’s find out more…
- Why Do We Need Wheelchairs for Dogs?
- How Does a Dog Wheelchair Work?
- The Best Dog Wheelchairs
- How to Find the Best Dog Wheelchairs
- How to Introduce Your Dog to the New Wheelchair
Why Do We Need Wheelchairs for Dogs?
There are many reasons why dogs may need wheelchairs. Even the most well-trained and seemingly healthy pups can suffer injury or succumb to disease or age-related problems that affect mobility.
With a dog wheelchair, your dog can continue to enjoy life even when the odds are stacked against him. Dog wheelchairs can give your dog a new lease of life, ensuring he gets the exercise he needs and the fun and mental stimulation he craves despite his handicap.
Here are some of the conditions that may necessitate your dog having a wheelchair – both in the short and long term…
- Hip dysplasia
- Degenerative myelopathy (loss of connectivity between the brain and the spinal cord)
- Luxated patella
- Slipped or disintegrated spinal discs
- Certain cancers
- Loss of limb due to trauma
- Age-related aches and pains
- Limb weakness (e.g., severe sudden hind leg weakness)
- Post-surgery rehabilitation
- Neurological problems
- Damaged ligaments
A dog wheelchair for back legs supports the dog when walking, running, and playing.
This means that despite whatever other physical problems they may have, they can still enjoy the crucial exercise they need to be as healthy as possible and prevent them from gaining weight.
For handicapped dogs who have restricted mobility but are responsive, motivated, and show a lust for life, they can be a complete life changer.
How Does a Dog Wheelchair Work?
Generally, wheelchairs for dogs are two-wheeled carts that provide support for damaged rear limbs, taking most or all of the weight and leaving the front legs to do the hard work.
Usually, the body is supported by a fabric harness or sling, with the back legs tucked up and kept out of harm’s way (unless the wheelchair is being used to rehabilitate the back legs).
This means that in most situations, your dog must be able to walk strongly with his front legs, with his back held in a level position, to use a dog wheelchair.
That said, however, there are many different designs on the market that cater to different handicaps and give different degrees of support to the front legs and the back legs.
Wheelchairs can be used indoors, but they are most practical outside, and there are a variety of different tires available to suit different terrains, including rough terrain.
And, of course, the bigger the dog, the bigger the wheelchair, so you must take this into account when considering which dog wheelchair to buy.
A small dog with shorter legs may lie down while in the wheelchair, but larger dogs may need to have the wheelchair removed to rest.
In most cases, dog wheelchairs are not meant to be used for extended periods of time, and a disabled dog in a wheelchair should never be left unattended, just in case the wheelchair should get stuck or caught on something when you’re not around to help.
Most dogs love to exercise and play outside while in their chairs, but they also need time to relax and recuperate from the activity, so time out of the wheelchair is no bad thing.
If your dog is unhappy and not motivated to exercise, a wheelchair may not be the right solution, but in most cases, it can give your dog the freedom and fun he yearns for.
Your vet can work with you to decide if a dog wheelchair is the best choice for your furry friend.
The Best Dog Wheelchairs
When it was first released in 2008, the Walkin Wheels Dog Wheelchair caused a bit of a sensation.
It was the first dog wheelchair model that was not custom-built. Instead, it is a kit that comes in a range of base sizes (small for dogs under 25 lbs, medium for dogs from 25 to 69 lbs, large for dogs 70 lbs and over) that can then be adjusted to fit your dog’s unique dimensions perfectly.
The Walkin Wheels dog wheelchair frame is made from lightweight aluminum that is strong and durable yet easy for your dog to use and pull around. The wheels are designed to be effective with a variety of different terrains.
Both the frame and the comfortable fabric harness are adjustable, and you can choose from three cheerful colors: camouflage, blue or pink.
- Veterinarian approved
- 3 different sizes that are suitable for all shapes and sizes of dog
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Medium and larger dog sizes fold flat for simple transportation or storage
- Comfortable for your pet
- Adjustable size means it can grow with your pup if necessary
- Easy to put on and take off
- Individual parts are replaceable – good longevity
- Customers must assemble the parts themselves (instructions and DVD included)
- Some of the plastic parts feel a little flimsy
Here’s a quick video on how easy it is to put one of these wheelchairs on your dog:
Truly revolutionary, the SitGo dog wheelchair enables your dog to move around freely and sit or lie down whenever they like.
This has an added benefit for larger or heavier dogs as the back can be lowered to allow you to get them in place and attach the chair with ease, causing less stress to your dog and you.
The sturdy adjustable frame is constructed using lightweight aluminum and stainless steel, and the adjustable harness is made from a practical neoprene fabric that is comfortable for your dog and easy to keep clean.
The SitGo is available in extra small (9″ – 14″), small (13″ – 17″), medium (16″ – 20″), and large (20″ – 29″) sizes: simply measure your dog’s height at their hindquarters to find the best fit.
- Designed by an orthopedic veterinarian
- Highly durable, yet lightweight
- Offers an excellent range of mobility and independence
- Allows your dog to sit and relax with ease
- Easy assembly
- Most dogs take to the design with ease
- Great as a rehabilitation aid or for total rear support
- Assembly required
- Screws can loosen over time, so be sure to carry out regular maintenance checks
One of the most affordable options in our review, the Best Friend Mobility, is a dog wheelchair for back legs, giving dogs full or partial weight-bearing assistance.
Like the other models on our list, the adjustable frame is lightweight aluminum which is a comfortable weight for your dog to pull and easy for you to pick up and move around.
This dog wheelchair comes with an excellent set of all terrain wheels, allowing your dog greater movement in various environments.
The padded neoprene harness clips on easily, is easy to keep clean, and doesn’t restrict your dog’s toilet needs. This chair is available in six different sizes at the hindquarters: extra extra small (8″ – 11″), extra small (9″ – 14″), small (13″ – 17″), medium (16″ – 20″), large (20″ -26″), and extra-large (23″ – 29″).
- Good range of base sizes to ensure a good fit
- Very affordable compared to other brands
- Practical, non-corrosive frame
- Good quality for the price
- Effective for a wide range of mobility problems
- Assembly can be a little complicated
- Build quality is not as high as more expensive models
- Screws and adjustment points may need ongoing adjustment and tightening
K9 Carts are veterinarian designed, built, and tested. They are handmade with care and are one of the lightest dog wheelchair options today. These dog wheelchairs fit most breeds between 40-100 pounds. They come in several sizes suitable for an extra small to large dog.
The K9 Cart dog wheelchair can also be used as a walking dog cart. The dog’s rear paws stay on the ground. It can also be used as a suspension with the dog’s rear legs up in protective slings, making it a versatile dog wheelchair option.
The cable leg rings of the Original dog wheelchair are covered with contoured, dense foam padding to provide comfort and pelvic support. With this mobility wheelchair, your handicapped pets can walk normally with their front legs, which is good if your pet is only experiencing rear limb weakness or have a paralyzed dog.
- Designed by vets, tested, and approved
- Lightweight and easy to assemble
- Allows for quick adjustments when needed
- Padded slings for comfort and safety
- Is on the more expensive side
The Sylphid Adjustable Dog Wheelchair is a good option if you have a small dog. It is not suitable for bigger dogs like a German Shepherd or Husky. The available sizes include an XS that measures 9.8″-13.4″ and is suitable for a small dog weighing between 9 and 18 pounds. The other XS small option measures 5.9″-12.6″ and can accommodate a dog between 9 and 22 pounds.
This Sylphid Adjustable Dog Wheelchair is made with a durable and lightweight aluminum frame. It has an adjustable harness that provides optimal comfort and mobility. The adjustability of the harness is push-button and allows you to adjust the height, length, and width, so you can find the perfect fit for your canine companion.
- Durable and lightweight
- Adjustable harness for a better fit
- Affordable option
- Easy to adjust and assemble
- Only has canine wheelchair sizes for a small dog
- Instructions included only show how to assemble the wheelchair and doesn’t show how to put your dog into it
How to Find the Best Dog Wheelchairs
Before buying a new dog wheelchair, there are a few factors you want to consider.
A wheelchair that is lighter in weight will be a lot easier for your dog to maneuver. Aluminum is a good choice because it is a lightweight material. It is also incredibly durable and rust-proof.
Different dog breeds have different body types and shapes. The dog wheelchair you get should be adjustable to provide your dog with the most comfort. Adjustments should also be easy to make, so you aren’t spending extra time adjusting the wheelchair while your pup becomes inpatient.
When looking at materials, consider what the frame of the wheelchair is made of. As we already mentioned, aluminum is a lighter weight material that is ideal for a dog wheelchair. Also, consider the materials that will touch the dog. Everything should be soft and comfortable. Make sure all pressure points are covered so there are no wounds or soreness resulting from the wheelchair.
The Ease of Use
Once you have the dog wheelchair assembled, it should be easy to adjust the height, length, and width for a more custom fit. It should also be easy to get your dog in and out of the wheelchair. Even the best dog wheelchairs weren’t designed for long time use. They are designed to help your dog with mobility and allow your dog to exercise. They shouldn’t be in the wheelchair for extended lengths of time.
The higher the quality of the wheelchair, the more it will cost. Keep this in mind when setting your budget for the best dog wheelchairs. Make sure to find one with all the features you are looking for and is the right size for your dog.
How to Introduce Your Dog to the New Wheelchair
Finally, here are a few tips for introducing your canine companion to the best dog wheelchair. Remember, as a dog owner, you will need to have a fair amount of patience, and you don’t want to add more stress to the situation.
- Start slowly. While some dogs are more laidback than others, you will still want to do this very slowly so that your dog doesn’t begin to associate the wheelchair with fear and anxiety.
- Once your pup gets used to seeing the dog wheelchair, put the adjustable harness on and give them time to get used to it.
- As time goes on, add more wheelchair parts until your dog is comfortable and used to it. When done, your dog will be fully hooked up to the wheelchair and ready to go.
- Use treats as a reward. They are also a great way to encourage your pup as they get used to the wheelchair.
- Always stay positive. Dogs feed off our energy. If we feel stressed and anxious, they will too. So, show them how exciting the process can be!
- Finally, if you are still having difficulty with the dog wheelchair, you should consult with your veterinarian or an animal rehab clinic. They can offer tips, advice, and assistance when you need it the most.
And that’s our complete guide to wheelchairs for dogs!