Just because your dog can't use his rear legs doesn't necessarily mean he's ready to spend his days sleeping in your living room. Like any injured or disabled dog, he just needs assistance. With the help of dog mobility aids, your pup will continue living a full and active life.
A dog wheelchair suspends a padded sling between two wheels that support your pup's rear legs and pelvis. The wheelchairs come in a variety of wheel and sling sizes to give your dog the best fit based on his height. Once secure in the wheelchair, your pup will be able to walk on any flat surface he pleases while using his healthy front two legs to steer himself forward.
Support Sling & Harness
Use a support harness to assist your dog during short distances when a wheelchair would be too bulky, such as walking from the kitchen to the garage. The harness attaches around your dog's rear legs and contains handles so you can lift your dog's hind end a few inches off the ground. With his rear legs supported, he can then walk as he would normally, but using only his front legs. Another variation is the full body sling, which slides under his torso and enables you to lift him into the car or up the stairs, without using his legs at all.
Even though his feet aren't walking, they can still drag on the ground when he walks in his wheelchair. Small booties made of durable materials fasten around your pooch's rear paws to protect the skin and muscle. If your dog is young and paralyzed, he may attempt to drag himself around by his front legs without realizing the damage he's inflicting on his hind paws. This repeated dragging can lead to raw friction burns on his feet. Putting on his booties before every outing prevents his feet from scraping against the pavement.
Even with the assistance of wheelchairs and rear harnesses, moving even a short distance is too taxing for older dogs whose hind legs are disabled. These wagon-like carts are large enough to hold a water bowl and your fully reclined dog while you pull him along by an attached handle. Depending on the model, some carts include amenities such as awnings, entry ramps and built-in beds.
Christina Bednarz Schnell began writing full-time in 2010. Her areas of expertise include child development and behavior, medical conditions and pet health. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international relations.