How To Help Your Dog Get Used to Using a Wheelchair

When your furry companion lives with a life-altering ailment, you want to do everything possible to keep them comfortable and mobile. Incorporating a canine wheelchair can reduce pain and discomfort and allow your dog to remain mobile and have fun. Read on to better understand your dog’s condition, why they might need a wheelchair, and how to help your dog acclimate to a canine wheelchair.

Signs of Canine Mobility Issues

Mobility issues in your pup can come about in different ways. Neurological problems, physical trauma, and illness can considerably impact your pup’s movement. Your dog may show signs of mobility pain through groaning and yelping, along with not wanting to move around. In addition, some damage to the joints, muscles, or bones can cause your pup discomfort while moving.

If you see your pup dragging their hind legs, having difficulty going up the stairs, collapsing while sitting down, or struggling immensely to get up or walk, contact your veterinarian. They will examine your pooch for any underlying issues. Upon diagnosis, pet specialists can point you in the right direction to help your dog’s mobility pain.

Reasons To Use a Dog Wheelchair

So, what are some reasons dogs may need a wheelchair? Let’s look at the various medical issues that can help determine whether a dog wheelchair is suitable for your furry friend.

Arthritis Pain

Arthritis is a complicated condition that causes inflammation and joint degeneration. Dogs can experience arthritis, especially as they grow into their senior years.

While it’s common to prescribe your pooch medications to manage arthritis, you can also use a canine wheelchair to help reduce their pain and discomfort. Wheelchairs can help take the pressure off your dog’s afflicted joints and help slow the deterioration.

Spinal Cord Problems

Certain breeds are susceptible to spinal cord disorders and ailments. Spinal-related diseases can cause rear limb weakness, nerve damage, and paralysis.

If your pooch lives with spinal cord issues and disease, a standard solution to reduce their discomfort is to use a wheelchair. It can help them during rehabilitation while removing the strain from their legs. A dog wheelchair can also help them remain mobile, allowing them to play and enjoy themselves with minor pain.

Joint or Ligament Issues

If your dog lives with skeletal diseases like hip dysplasia or severe ligament and joint issues, they require invasive surgery to help correct the ailments. During their post-op recovery period, you can provide your pooch with a canine wheelchair. It helps take pressure off articulations and repaired limbs and hips while allowing them to have as little pain as possible.


Amputations can become necessary for many reasons, from an accident to a problematic infection. It can be a devastating experience for both you and your pup, but you can help improve their quality of life using a wheelchair. You can find canine wheelchairs to help prop your dog in a sling that allows them to become mobile again.

Tips for Acclimating Your Dog to a Wheelchair

Regardless of why your dog needs a wheelchair, you will want some tips to help them get used to using it. A little bit of positive reinforcement, practice, and patience can significantly help your furry companion’s confidence and help them become more mobile.

Pick the Appropriate Wheelchair

Depending on your dog’s disability, choosing a suitable wheelchair is essential. Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all for dogs, especially ones living with complex disabilities and health issues. Therefore, finding an appropriate wheelchair is a must to ensure your dog’s comfort and safety.

You can find dog wheelchairs with customized wheels, so your pooch can walk at the appropriate height. Furthermore, there are dog wheelchairs meant to support front or back legs, along with other characteristics to fit your pup’s unique mobility. Your pup’s wheelchair should make it easy for them to get around with little to no difficulty. See which harnesses, wheelchair wheels, and stirrups best suit your dog’s needs.

Gradually Put On the Harness

As your dog acclimates to the wheelchair in your home, you can start by slowly putting them in the harness. It might take some time for them to get used to it, but give it some time and allow your dog to pace themselves. As time passes, your pooch will notice it less, and it will become a natural part of their everyday life.

In this, ensuring the harness fits is an essential step. Appropriate harnesses should fit comfortably and snuggly around your dog’s body while putting them at ease. While the harness should fit snuggly, you should have two fingers fit easily under each strap. A too-loose harness can prevent your pup’s form from being appropriately positioned, while an overly tight harness can make it difficult for your dog to move.

Use Positive Reinforcement

After your dog is comfortable with the harness, you can start moving them into the canine wheelchair. However, this might be scary for them. Perhaps your pup feels intimidated by their wheelchair and won’t go near it. Positive reinforcement can teach them their wheelchair is a good thing, not something to fear. Sometimes, all your dog needs to know they’re doing the right thing is you cheering them on and rewarding them for their efforts.

For example, if you have the wheelchair displayed in your home, having your pup interact with it is the first step. Every time they go over to investigate or sniff it, reward them. It’ll help build your pooch’s confidence and help them learn to see their wheelchair as less of a threat. Overall, positive reinforcement can be a beneficial tool to help your pup overcome their fear of their wheelchair.

Allow Your Dog Time To Adjust

When your dog first goes into their wheelchair, it can feel scary or stressful for them. To help them, go through short periods of them being in their wheelchair and take breaks regularly. You can start by putting your dog in their wheelchair for just a few minutes before taking them back out. Over time, you can increase their time spent in the wheelchair until they’re more comfortable and less timid.

Once your pooch has acclimated to their wheelchair in a stationary position, you can encourage them to walk. Choosing the right location can help increase their feelings of safety and comfort. For example, start in a large, open area to give your dog room to move around and get accustomed to their wheelchair without encountering obstacles. Soon, your pup will be able to navigate trickier spaces with skill and comfort!

We at Best Friendly Mobility dedicate ourselves to helping your pets move more easily. Our goal is to provide affordable pet mobility aids to animals in need. Our rear support dog wheelchair offers a quicker, easier, and friendlier method of getting your pooch around, whether they’re recovering from surgery or living with bodily discomfort. Contact us today to learn more about our animal products.

How To Help Your Dog Get Used to Using a Wheelchair