Wheelchairs for dogs have finally enabled pets with mobility issues to be active again, despite their disability. Although they are not quite a novel discovery, some pet owners are still skeptical about them.
That's not a surprise, given that not every pet wheelchair is veterinarian-approved, so it's really important to choose high-quality devices that won't put additional stress on your dog's legs and cause even more issues.
Today we're debunking the most popular dog wheelchairs and choosing the best dog wheelchair according to real experiences and reviews.
Table of Contents
- Best Dog Wheelchairs for Larger Dog Breeds
- The Best Wheelchairs for Small Dogs
- The Best Inexpensive Dog Wheelchairs
- The Buyer's Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Very Best Dog Wheelchair in 2021?
- Final Thoughts
$$$$ — K9 Carts ~ 5.5 pounds - Absolutely the best support dog wheelchair you can find. Reliable, veterinarian-designed, approved, and tested with more than 50 years of market experience. No negative sides. Suitable for: dogs between 6 and 45 pounds.
$$$ — Walkin' Wheels Lightweight ~ 5.85 pounds - Highly rated popular wheelchair for smaller dogs, fairly lightweight with solid design. Still too heavy for some breeds. Suitable for: dogs between 11-25 pounds.
$$$ — Walking Wheels Large Dogs ~ 17 pounds - High-end sturdy wheelchair for larger dogs, built for all terrains and designed to last. Plastic parts break easily. Suitable for: dogs between 70-180 pounds.
$$ — HobeyHove Adjustable Dog Cart/Wheelchair ~ 2.85 pounds - Affordable and pretty comfortable canine wheelchair for cats and small dogs, easy to install and adjust. Small plastic wheels. Suitable for: dogs between 2.2-35.3 pounds.
$$$ — Best Friend Mobility Wheelchair ~ 13.69 pounds - Well-made mid-range sturdy dog wheelchair, available in different sizes. Fully adjustable and designed to fit almost every breed. Hard to adjust. Suitable for: dogs up to 119 pounds.
$$$ — Dachshund Wheelchair ~ 7 pounds - Another lightweight dog wheelchair by Walkin Wheels, specifically made for dachshunds. Compact and easy to assemble. Heavier than expected. Suitable for: dogs between 11 and 17 pounds.
$$ — SYLPHID Adjustable Dog Wheelchair ~ 3.57 pounds - A well designed inexpensive dog wheelchair for smaller breeds. It features a heavy-duty frame and metal hardware with a comfortable harness design. Not very durable. Suitable for: dogs between 9 and 22 pounds.
$ — HiHydro 6 Types Cart ~ 2.45 pounds - Another inexpensive small pet wheelchair that's available in many different sizes. It's easy to install and adjust. Flimsy. Suitable for: No weight recommendations.
$$ — HeoBam Dog Wheelchair ~ 2.44 pounds - The best wheelchair for the budget, available in all sizes, adjustable, and easy to install. Suitable for: Doesn't fit smaller dogs quite well.
Best Dog Wheelchairs for Larger Dog Breeds
If you're going for quality, durability, and reliability, this is the product for you. With more than 50 years on the market, this pet wheelchair by K9 Carts is everything your four-legged friend needs.
The first thing I'd like to point out is that this wheelchair was designed, made, and tested in the USA by Veterinary Orthopedic Surgeons.
It features an aircraft-grade aluminum frame for maximum rigidity and years of carefree use. And the wheels are either 8 inches or 10 inches wide, and they feature solid rubber, so they are genuinely superior to plastic or foam-filled ones.
On Amazon, you can find four sizes, from small to medium. However, on their original website, K9 Carts are actually offering way more choice.
They even have the option for you to enter your dog's size following their measuring guide and get the perfect combination of frame and wheels.
The wheelchair is fully adjustable, and it features a high-quality harness and hind legs support. But, one unique feature of this model is that you can order front wheels additionally and provide full support to your dog.
While looking for negative comments, I honestly couldn't find a single issue that appears multiple times. In fact, only one dog owner complained about the wheelchair being too big for their pet.
So, all in all, this is the best wheelchair you can get.
Here we have another veterinarian-approved model from Walkin Wheels, but this one is for large dogs up to 180 pounds.
The wheelchair has an aluminum frame and large foam-filled tires with rubber treads. So, it's made for all terrains, enabling your dog to explore the surroundings despite its disability.
I like that the adjustable aluminum frame is foldable, so it doesn't take up too much space in your trunk, and you can easily find space for storing when not in use.
And, like with the lightweight model from Walkin Wheels, your dog can go to the bathroom with the wheelchair on. And all the parts are washable, including the wheels, so you can keep it sanitary.
From the information I could find, this wheelchair works well for large dogs in recovery, with strong front legs or some level of mobility in the back legs.
However, there is one big issue with this model. It has some plastic parts that are poor in quality, and therefore, honestly, heavy dogs with no mobility in back legs just can't use it properly.
Many customers complained about the plastic parts snapping and the weight limit being way under 180 pounds.
On top of everything, customer service is terrible, so I wouldn't recommend buying this for large breeds, as it may not fit, but for medium dogs at best.
Here we have one mid-range pet wheelchair that's built to fit almost every breed of dog. The sizes range between 2XS to XL, and you can adjust the height and length with a hex wrench. But the width is not adjustable.
Now, the wheelchair features a rust-resistant, lightweight aluminum frame and rust-resistant galvanized hardware.
When compared to the Walking Wheels model that had plastic joints and hardware, this one is more durable and seems more promising.
There are two harnesses, a triple-thronged adjustable harness for the shoulders and a double rear leg EVO harness, both made of neoprene.
And the wheels are actually all-terrain air-filled tires, measuring 14 inches in diameter. This is the feature I like the most because air-filled tires are excellent for absorbing pressure and providing a smooth ride that's comfortable for your dog.
An important detail is that this wheelchair was designed and tested by a K9 orthopedic surgeon.
And it's suitable for dogs with Hip Dysplasia, Arthritis, Fractured spine, Neurological problems, Intervertebral Disc Disease, etc.
But, although customers testify the quality is genuinely satisfactory, it's really hard to adjust the wheelchair. The provided instruction does not give enough information on how to adjust the height, so a lot of customers struggle with this.
The Best Wheelchairs for Small Dogs
Walkin Wheels is a brand pet owners trust the most when it comes to dog wheelchairs.
They have different sizes and models, specifically built for different breeds, so no dog is excluded. For this reason, Walking Wheels has excellent ratings on Amazon, of which more than 60% are 5 stars.
What made me trust this brand is primarily the fact that these wheelchairs are recommended by veterinarians.
As they say, the patented adjustable design of the wheelchair helps to create a perfect fit for every dog, adapting to their size.
Another important segment is the fact that your dog can "use the bathroom" with the wheelchair on.
From the experiences I found, dogs get accustomed to it quickly. After only a couple of tries, they realize they can do it while in the wheelchair, so they simply release.
This specific model is suitable for smaller breeds such as Poodle, Pekingese, Pug, Maltese, Bichon Frise, Jack Russell Terrier, Wire Fox Terrier, Dachshund, Miniature Schnauzer, Spaniel, Chihuahua, and more.
But to be sure, follow the weight recommendations and measurements displayed on Amazon.
Since this is a smaller model, it's easy to fit into your trunk and just as easy to clean. All parts, including the foam wheels, are washable.
The only critique that customers have is that the wheelchair is too heavy for dogs that have a problem with front legs too. The company refuses to give a refund.
Here is another veterinarian-approved Walking Wheels wheelchair for small dogs. This seems to be made for Dachshund specifically, but it is suitable for other breeds as well.
The wheelchair features a standard Walking Wheels design: two small foam-filled wheels, a sturdy but lightweight aluminum frame, and a harness.
Like the other models from Walking Wheels, this one too is adjustable in height, length, and width, so it helps you find the perfect fit for your four-legged friends, whatever their size is.
Now, since I have already reviewed some models from this brand, I won't repeat myself about the basic features because they have the same design.
I'd like to focus on customer reviews, and the actual experience pet owners had with this wheelchair.
Like with other models, customers are generally satisfied with the quality per price ratio, but given that this model was built for small dogs, they find it too heavy.
It's not light enough for a really small disabled dog, and one customer even commented that the frame doesn't seem to be made of aluminum but some heavier material.
This can be a problem because this brand is not known for good customer service. So, it's recommended to double-check whether your dog is really in the category for this specific model or it needs another size.
On the other hand, the wheelchair is very easy to assemble, and it doesn't take up too much space in the trunk, so it's good on the go.
All in all, I can say this is not an extra-small dog wheelchair, so an injured dog that cannot withstand a bit heavier wheelchair doesn't fall in the category for this wheelchair.
This is a more affordable model for small pets like cats and smaller breeds of dogs. It's adjustable and, judging by the customer reviews, well-made but not veterinarian-approved.
So, while it can be suitable for dogs that need mobility assistance, I wouldn't use it for some serious issues.
So, the wheelchair is available in sizes from XXXS to S. It comes with two harnesses for front and back legs, and you can find the detailed size guide for the harness diameter on Amazon.
Although it looks a bit cheap, it actually includes an aluminum frame arc-shaped for a more ergonomic feel, perforated abdominal band, and protective covers. There is a buckle you can attach to a tow rope and additionally assist your furry friend.
The entire wheelchair needs installation, but it is not too complicated, and most people have done it without any issues.
Now, the wheels are plastic and very small, so I don't think they are suitable for all terrains.
A couple of customers commented they scratch instantly, and some of them testified they fell off. So I'd say this is the biggest downside of this model.
I like that the wheelchair is foldable, so it's easy to transport.
But overall, the mechanics need to be improved. Screws fall off, and the wheels are just not good enough, so I wouldn't recommend it for severely disabled dogs.
This is one model of the wheelchair I really like for its design. It's a budget-friendly model made for smaller breeds of dogs.
The wheelchair has a lightweight frame made of aluminum, metal hardware, and soft 3D harnesses.
The adjustable harnesses are complemented by a perforated soft belly band that protects the spine and provides more comfort to your dog.
Although it accommodated dogs from 9-22 pounds, this is not a good wheelchair for dogs under 10 pounds. Many pet owners commented the wheelchair is too bulky and heavy for such small dogs, causing them even more distress instead of helping them.
It is not too complicated to assemble and adjust; the manufacturer even provided a detailed video guide you can find here.
On the other hand, customers are complaining about not being able to put their dogs into the harness and the wheelchair, so it wouldn't be bad for this brand to provide a guide on that too.
Given that this is a product from the budget side of the market, the overall quality is not an issue for most customers.
There are some comments about the harness tearing after only a month of use, though. So it's not really the most durable solution.
The wheels are very small; they look plastic but are, in fact, made of solid rubber. So, they absorb pressure well, but I wouldn't say they're made for all terrains.
The Best Inexpensive Dog Wheelchairs
If you're looking for an affordable wheelchair, this is probably the cheapest adjustable dog wheelchair you can find.
It comes in sizes from extra small to extra large and features an adjustable design, so you can customize it for different breeds.
From the beginning, I'd like to point out one annoying detail about this offer, and that's the fact that the manufacturer doesn't specify the weight limitations. So you need to follow the size chart only, which is not precise enough, to my mind.
The wheelchair has a stainless steel frame, a soft harness on the front, and two foam, hind leg protectors, with hind limb suspensions for the back leg support. The harness is made of mesh, and the strap is adjustable.
The wheels are plastic and fairly small, to be honest. So I'd say this is not the wheelchair you can use on different terrains.
I like that the height bar has a ruler engraved, so you can adjust the height more precisely, and the entire installation is pretty simple. Check out this detailed video one customer made here.
However, overall, this is not a high-quality wheelchair.
It's not sturdy enough, doesn't include a rear harness like most dog wheelchairs, and it seems to me that the back limbs stand in a really awkward position.
Judging by the customer reviews, you can make it work for a small dog like a chihuahua that spends most of the time in the apartment, but this is really not a durable solution.
What we have here is a wheelchair for your dog, almost identical to the HiHidro model. The most significant difference is that this model features an aluminum frame, while the HiHidro model incorporates a stainless steel construction.
When it comes to the general design, it has two small wheels, a front harness, and hind leg support, as I mentioned, pretty similar to the previous model.
But, in addition to all this, HeoBam has a D hook for the lash, so you can walk your dog with the wheelchair on.
The frame is supposedly rust-resistant, durable, and lightweight. It's adjustable in height and length and available in seven different sizes from XXS to XL.
From what I could see in the comment section, the pet owners who are satisfied with this product are mostly owners of larger dogs.
For some reason, smaller dogs are harder to fit into this wheelchair. Apparently, the size recommendations are not very reliable, so the wheelchair doesn't accommodate dogs properly.
Important information is that this wheelchair is not veterinarian-approved, so it might work for hind legs rehabilitation, but for some serious issues, you should seek advice from your veterinarian.
Dogs can only urinate in a standing position with this wheelchair on, which might be a problem for dogs with severe mobility issues.
The Buyer's Guide
Dog wheelchairs can be used for a variety of issues, from dogs with balance issues to dogs that lost their limbs or have severe paralysis.
The most common conditions dog wheelchairs are used for are:
There are two basic types of dog wheelchairs.
But, how can you be sure your dog is a candidate for this device?
The first thing you can do is a simple towel test that will indicate your dog's mobility level.
It shows whether your dog can rely on front legs, indicating the need for rear support or not, showing that you need to buy an all-support wheelchair.
Here is a video that demonstrates how to do a towel test correctly.
Once you decide which dog wheelchairs work for your dog, you need to measure the dog's weight and size to be able to choose the right model.
To do so, you should measure the height, length, and width as shown in the drawing below.
If you have a really small dog, always go for the lightest wheelchair because although the size of a slightly heavier model might fit them, it could still be too heavy.
To make sure your dog will genuinely feel comfortable in the device, choose an adjustable dog wheelchair with a fully adjustable harness.
Most people forget to check if the harness is adjustable, and this can be a huge problem because the harness might create pressure sores if it's too tight or made of cheap materials. To prevent this, also make sure the harness is padded and perforated.
Another important feature that makes a good dog wheelchair is wheel design.
The size of wheels is usually adapted to the dog's height. However, the material is what makes the biggest difference. Cheap plastic wheels are simply not good enough for outdoor activities.
Air-filled tires, solid rubber tires, and foam-filled tires are better for all-terrain use, and the order in which I listed them is not accidental. Compare the two models below:
Finally, the most important segment in the process of choosing pet wheelchairs is the advice of veterinary medicine. Always make sure the device is veterinarian approved and consult your veterinarian for additional support.
Here is a great video on how to put your dog in a wheelchair, made by a veterinarian.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are dog wheelchairs cruel?
No. Dog wheelchairs are assistive devices designed and constructed by veterinary surgeons mainly to remove the pressure from your dog's rear legs and help them move freely despite the condition they have.
If anything, these devices were made with the noble cause of helping pets overcome mobility issues and live actively.
Can a dog poop in a wheelchair?
It depends on the wheelchair design.
Most wheelchairs allow dogs to release normally, but some dogs have issues with it due to anxiety or discomfort, while other dogs do it naturally.
K9 Carts wheelchairs for dogs allow normal release as well as Walkin Wheels.
I saw some pet owners who put diapers on their dogs when they are in the wheelchair. You could do it, but make sure you change it regularly to prevent sores.
Do vets recommend dog wheelchairs?
Absolutely. Dog wheelchairs were designed by veterinarians in the first place.
However, not every model of a dog wheelchair is recommended by veterinarians.
Can I make a dog wheelchair at home?
While this is doable, it's really not recommendable.
Dog wheelchairs should fit your dog perfectly to ensure they actually assist their mobility, not worsen it.
Here are some demonstrations you can watch to get ideas on how to make an improvised dog wheelchair but make sure to measure everything and check if your dog is actually comfortable in it.
Do dog wheelchairs work with hip dysplasia?
Yes. Most wheelchairs are actually built for dogs with hip dysplasia, but you should definitely consult your veterinarian before you decide to use any dog's wheelchair for dogs with serious conditions.
Best dog wheelchairs, veterinarian-approved, are suitable for multiple conditions, including hip dysplasia, arthritis, and paralysis.
What is the Very Best Dog Wheelchair in 2021?
K9 Carts is most definitely the best large dog wheelchair and best wheelchair for small dogs too.
It's the original dog wheelchair first designed more than 50 years ago. It's made by the veterinary surgeon, with the highest-quality materials that last.
There are models that support only rear legs and models for full support, and each model is fully adjustable.
- VETERINARIAN DESIGNED, built, and tested for over 53 years in our Orthopedic Veterinary Hospital.
- MADE IN THE USA just for you pet. Handmade with care. Normally ships same day.
- LIGHTEST WHEELCHAIR on the market!. Built from aircraft grade aluminum for years of rugged use.
- BACKED BY PROS! Every purchase is backed by our experienced medical staff to ensure the best customer service.
- IMPORTANT: Please review the measuring diagram to the left to ensure this cart will fit your pet.
If your dog is suffering from mobility dysfunctions, has rear leg paralysis, or simply needs assistance, don't hesitate to get a wheelchair.
Even if your dog lost a limb due to a car accident or some medical procedure, it could still continue its life normally, but it needs your help.
Contact your veterinarian and check our list for some credible recommendations, and make that important decision for your dog today.