A dog wheelchair plays a pivotal role in a dog’s degenerative myelopathy journey. Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) is a progressive neurological disease that takes its toll on a dog’s mobility. As DM progresses, a dog’s back legs will slowly weaken before becoming paralyzed. Eventually, the mobility loss progresses up a dog’s spine to impact its front leg strength as well. Without a wheelchair, a DM dog is unable to walk, stand, or exercise.
When is the right time to get a cart for my DM dog?
A dog wheelchair is a life-changing tool for dogs with DM. The earliest signs of degenerative myelopathy often begin with a dog knuckling, dragging its back paws, or hind leg weakness. Although these early DM symptoms can be easy to miss, they may only happen occasionally or only when a dog is exhausted. However, when a dog’s back legs collapse underneath them or a dog struggles to push up off the ground, the signs are harder to ignore.
A dog does not have to struggle with mobility loss. So don’t wait to get a mobility cart for your dog. Instead, introduce a mobility cart early on at the first signs of weakening back legs. Not only does this make for an easier transition for your dog, but it also gives the pet parent a chance to adjust to using the wheelchair too! Every dog diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy will need a wheelchair eventually. So starting early on in a dog’s diagnosis will be easier for you and your best friend.
What kind of wheelchair should I get for a dog with Degenerative Myelopathy?
The ideal degenerative myelopathy wheelchair for your pet is a cart that can be adapted to fit every stage of your dog’s diagnosis. DM affects a dog’s back leg strength first before slowly moving up the spine. As the disease progresses, you need a wheelchair that will progress with it. The Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchair can easily convert from a rear support wheelchair to a four-wheeled wheelchair by simply adding a front attachment. This gives you the flexibility to adjust the level of support your dog needs as their leg strength changes.
Choose a fully adjustable dog wheelchair that allows you to adjust the height, length, and, most importantly, the width of the wheelchair. An adjustable width means that your dog’s wheelchair will always fit, even if your dog loses muscle mass or weight over time.
Custom-built dog wheelchairs are made based on your dog’s measurements the day you place the order. If your dog’s weight fluctuates over time, the custom cart will no longer fit your dog comfortably. Also, know that a custom rear dog wheelchair will not convert into a quad cart when your dog’s front legs weaken. When your dog requires additional assistance with its front legs, it will likely need a whole new wheelchair.
Is exercise beneficial for dogs with DM?
A dog in motion stays in motion. Therefore, continued exercise and regular activity are vital for any dog, even those struggling with mobility loss. A recent study showed that regular exercise could improve a DM dog’s quality of life and life expectancy.
Dog wheelchairs are crucial to helping dogs with Degenerative Myelopathy to stand upright, walk normally, and stay active.