All About Wheelchairs For Dogs + Manufacturing Guide

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german-shepherd-with-wheelchair

The wheelchair can offer mobility to a dog that has lost it on its hind or front legs. Whether due to an accident or an illness such as dysplasia, having a disabled dog can fill us with despair, but there are different options to help us give it quality of life.

We must take into account the needs of our dog before purchasing one of these wheelchairs, in addition to knowing the types, sizes and their benefits. Below, we show you detailed information so you can learn which one is best for your puppy.

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Index of contents

  • 1 What is a wheelchair for dogs?
  • 2 When does a wheelchair need a dog?
  • 3 Benefits of using a wheelchair
  • 4 Types of wheelchairs for dogs
    • 4.1 Chair for rear legs
    • 4.2 Chair for front legs
    • 4.3 4-wheel chairs
  • 5 How to choose the perfect wheelchair?
  • 6 How to build an artisan wheelchair?
    • 6.1 Wheelchair materials for dogs:
    • 6.2 Steps to build a dog chair:
  • 7 Artisanal or commercial wheelchair?
  • 8 Pros
    • 8.1 Artisan wheelchair
    • 8.2 Commercial wheelchair
  • 9 Cons
    • 9.1 Artisan wheelchair
    • 9.2 Commercial wheelchair

What is a wheelchair for dogs?

Is about a commercial or handcrafted artifact used when the dog has lost the mobility of its paws. A few years ago, a disabled dog had little chance of survival, less of a normal life.

Today, wheelchairs are sold that allow our dog to run and play as before. In addition, it is also possible to build one at home if we have a little skill and patience.

When does a wheelchair need a dog?

There are multiple causes of disability in dogs. Immobility can be temporary, as after having an accident; In this case, our dog would only need the chair during its rehabilitation, just as it is used with people.

But it can also be permanent and require a wheelchair constantly. Some conditions can leave the dog paralyzed for life:

  • Accidents or serious trauma
  • Hip dysplasia in old dogs
  • Elbow dysplasia in elderly dogs
  • Arthritis
  • Congenital problems in the hip bones or legs

Benefits of using a wheelchair

Regardless of whether you use it temporarily or permanently, the wheelchair will will bring many benefits to our dog:

  • Contributes to recovery
  • Returns you the ability to move alone
  • Reduces the wounds produced by rubbing against the ground
  • The dog should not crawl towards the places
  • Improves digestion
  • We can take him for a walk
  • Improves health by avoiding complications from sedentary lifestyle
  • Encourage exercise practice

All these benefits result in the happiness of our dog.

retriever-with-dysplasia-uses-wheelchair

Types of wheelchairs for dogs

Before choosing the perfect chair for our dog, it is necessary to know the varieties that exist. Different classifications are possible; First of all, we must ask ourselves if the chair is:

  • Temporary
  • Permanent

Next, we must consider our budget:

  • Commercial chair by sizes (from 70 to 300 euros)
  • Handmade or homemade chair (between 40 and 50 euros)

In addition, if the use is temporary, there is the possibility of acquiring a second-hand dog wheelchair. These can be found on the Internet, as other owners sell them when their puppies stop needing them.

We must also take into account if our dog belongs to a breed:

  • Toy
  • Little
  • Median
  • Big
  • Giant

Since the chairs vary greatly depending on the size of the dog and each dog needs a chair adapted to its size, to be functional. In addition to this, chairs can be classified according to the damaged body part:

Chair for rear legs

These chairs they are for puppies that cannot move their hind legs. There are several brands, the ideal is that we acquire those with which the dog can urinate and defecate while using it.

Also, it is important that the wheels are sufficiently separated from the legs, otherwise rubbing will occur.

Chair for front legs

They are designed for dogs that cannot move the front paws. It is ideal if our dog has strength in its hind legs, but needs help with the other two.

4-wheel chairs

These chairs are for dogs with immobility or weakness on all four legs. Whether due to accidents involving the spine, illness or congenital problems, this chair provides full body support, while allowing movement.

We should never purchase such a chair if our dog is only unable to move a part of its body. In doing so, the wheels will hinder the healthy part and prevent it from exercising the muscles that are not atrophied.

Corgi-using-a-wheelchair

How to choose the perfect wheelchair?

The use of the chair should be recommended by our veterinaryn, according to the origin of the problem. In this way, the specialist will tell us if the chair is temporary or permanent. In addition, we will know if the dog needs front, rear or four-leg support.

Other aspects to consider before purchasing the dog wheelchair are:

  • Weight: In dogs that need to strengthen their paws because they will walk again, a solid and somewhat heavy chair could help them in this task (always under the supervision of the vet). On the contrary, if our dog will not walk again, it is best to acquire one of light materials.
  • Measurements: the chair must adapt to the size of the dog.
  • Exercise: It is not the same if our dog lives in a small apartment as if he spends a lot of time in the garden. Small, compact wheels are ideal for urban environments, while large wheels and a suspension chair are suitable for dogs that live in the country or frequently walk on the beach and other uneven terrain.
  • Material: the materials must be durable, resistant and stainless.
  • Ease of cleaning: it is better to choose those chairs that can be assembled and disassembled to facilitate cleaning.
  • Harness: the harness that supports our dog must be comfortable and functional, the body cannot be too stretched or suspended, let alone fall forward when the dog walks.
  • Mobility: Chairs that allow turning to the right or left with ease are ideal.
  • Comfort: Our dog must not feel pain or discomfort while using the chair, nor can it cause injuries. If any of these things happens, it is not the right chair.
  • Adjustment: In puppies, it is best to invest in an adjustable chair. In this way, we will adapt it as it grows.

How to build an artisan wheelchair?

Prices for commercial dog wheelchairs can be high. On many occasions, we do not have the resources to acquire them, but we still want to give the best to our dog.

With this objective, it is possible to build a handmade or homemade wheelchair. The materials can be obtained in hardware stores and the cost ranges between 40 and 50 euros. These chairs can be made for small or large dogs; however, we may need to adjust them as we build them.

Wheelchair materials for dogs:

  • 1 inch PVC pipes
  • 1-inch PVC T-joints
  • Tape measure
  • Wheels (diameter will depend on the size of the dog)
  • Nuts and bolts
  • Dog Chestpiece
  • Dog leashes
  • Pliers and pliers
  • Drill and saw
  • PVC glue
  • Paper and pencil
  • Dog size pad

Steps to build a dog chair:

  • Measure our dog: body length, leg length, distance from the ground, body width.
  • Designing the chair taking photographs as a model, you can find many on the Internet.
  • Cut the PVC pipes according to the measurements. We can make them a little longer; in this way, we can cut if necessary.
  • Join the tubes with the PVC glue, taking care that the pieces are straight and level. We may request help from someone else for this.
  • In the lower tubes, place the T joints to locate the wheels.
  • Screw the wheels.
  • Sew the dog leashes to the front, so that we can tie them to the frame of the chair.
  • Locate the cushion according to the needs of our dog. If the problem is in your back legs, we will sew some straps to the cushion to tie it to the chair; in this way, the dog’s body will rest on it. If the immobility is in the front legs, we will place it in the corresponding place.

Our chair is ready! The objective is that the body of the dog is supported with the chest, the immobilized area rests on the cushion and the healthy paws touch the ground so that it can be propelled with them.

On the Internet we can find many videos with detailed explanations, patterns and measurements for different races. We leave you a video where the assembly is explained:

Artisanal or commercial wheelchair?

The homemade and handmade dog chair offer different benefits, which one should we choose? Consider the following:

Pros

Artisan wheelchair

  • Economic
  • Materials can be purchased at any hardware store
  • We can adapt it to the measurements of the dog
  • We can build it at home
  • Spare parts are readily available

Commercial wheelchair

  • Light and resistant materials
  • Lists are acquired, just put them together
  • They can be made according to the dog’s measurements or adjusted
  • They offer comfort
  • They are designed so that the dog turns easily
  • They are durable
  • Most are foldable and easy to carry

Cons

Artisan wheelchair

  • They are usually heavy
  • Require manufacturing time
  • We may need to test several chairs until the correct size is obtained.
  • They can be uncomfortable not being manufactured by a professional
  • Wheels may not rotate properly
  • Durability depends on the quality of the materials
  • They can be unstable if the measurements are not correct
  • They are not folding

Commercial wheelchair

  • Prices can be high
  • They may not be available in some countries or must be purchased abroad.