Dogs become such an integral part of the family that it’s impossible to imagine not providing them with the best quality of life. But, like humans, dogs are susceptible to disease and injury, sometimes resulting in mobility issues or even amputation.
Luckily, there are many options to manage your dog’s quality of life in regards to their mobility and comfort. One such option might be the use of a cart or a “dog wheelchair.” This device can help dogs who are suffering from paralysis, amputatio n, limb deformities, neurologic conditions and limb weakness.
There are many benefits to carts, beyond freedom; dogs suffering from neurologic conditions are essentially retraining their nervous system to stand in a normal position when they use a cart. It also reduces and relieves muscle tension and helps regain strength and a cart allows for better mobility and a decrease in the stress on parts of their body due to over-compensation.
But a poor fitting cart can be worse than no cart at all, which is why it is so important to have someone experienced fitting, measuring, adjusting and training your dog to use their cart. Without this important oversight there can be further stress on a dog’s back or limbs. Not every cart is appropriate for every dog. It is also important to consider that not every dog is a good candidate for a cart. Some animals don’t take well to a new device and with others, it’s a matter of personality.
“Sometimes, if a dog is older or more accustomed to a slower lifestyle the motivation to actually move in the cart might not be there. It definitely presents a challenge,” says Emma, certified canine rehabilitation therapist, who specializes in fitting and treating dogs with carts and other assistive orthotic devices.
At IPC our experienced staff can assess a patient’s physical condition and personality to weigh in on whether they will be a successful cart candidate. A dog that does have success with a cart can have a full and happy life! Walks and activities that were once thought to be a thing of the past may be reintroduced. These activities are physically and
mentally beneficial for pets, even (and sometimes especially) seniors!
“Even more important is the confidence that can come with the addition of a cart,” explains Emma. “Once a dog realizes that they can move better or even move at all, it’s like something flips in their personality and that’s always so positive to see.”