When you have a dog who has a handicap, you need a quality wheelchair that will give them the mobility and freedom to move around and exercise. Dogs thrive when they can get outdoors and exercise, no matter the form.
Dog wheelchairs have been around since 1961 and were invented by Dr. Lincoln Parkes, who was an orthopedic veterinary surgeon. He also founded K9 Carts, which was the first business to manufacture dog wheelchairs in the United States.
This article showcases the 10 best dog wheelchairs and provides descriptive information about each one, as well as its pros and cons. The buyer’s guide has additional factors you should consider before investing in a dog wheelchair, so you can find the one that best accommodates your dog’s needs.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Best Friend Mobility||
|Premium Choice||Walkin' Wheels||
The 9 Best Dog Wheelchairs – Reviews 2020
1. Best Friend Mobility Dog Wheelchair – Best Overall
The Best Friend Mobility wheelchair frame is made from a lightweight aluminum alloy that resists rust. It has 14-inch, all-terrain pneumatic wheels with waterproof Swiss bearings that make it easier for your dog to navigate stairs and rough terrain. The neoprene harness is comfortable with its padded shoulder support and customizable with the triple-thronged adjustments.
The seat is fixed and padded for extra comfort. Whether your dog is male or female, this chair allows them to relieve themselves with ease. We like that this wheelchair was designed and tested by a K9 orthopedic surgeon, so you know that it meets doctors’ specifications. Setup isn’t complex if using the provided hex wrench to adjust height, length, and width, but it does require extra time because the instructions aren’t user friendly.
The maximum weight for this chair is 119 pounds, and if you follow the measurement guide, you will discover that it is true to size. Your dog also has to have mobility and strength in the front limbs to use this chair effectively. Therefore, this cart is useful for dogs with hip dysplasia, rear limb amputation or deformity, thoracic or lumbar injury, or any condition that results in rear leg pain or weakness.
2. HiHydro Cart Pet Wheelchair – Best Value
The best dog wheelchair for the money is the HiHydro because it offers many features at an affordable price. At first glance, this wheelchair appears complex, but once you become familiar with how it functions, it is easy to use. We like that setup is simple, with clear instructions.
The cart has many points of adjustment: the length rod, width, and height. This allows you to get a customizable fit for your dog. The frame is aluminum, so it is lightweight yet strong and durable. The strap is made of a soft mesh material that is breathable, and the hind leg protector/suspension is padded for added comfort.
The wheels are small but acceptable for a small dog. Once you size your dog to the chair, it is easy to make minor modifications as desired. This chair is created for dogs who have use of their front legs and not their hind legs. The drawback is that the HiHydro Wheelchair isn’t as durable as the Best Friend Mobility Wheelchair, which is why it doesn’t reach the number-one spot on our list.
The Walkin’ Wheels Wheelchair has many quality features that make it a great option for your dog. The frame is made from aluminum, which makes it easy for your dog to maneuver. The wheels are a dense foam with rubber treads that are puncture-proof, allowing your dog to explore many types of terrain.
We like that the wheelchair will fold flat, making it easy to transport and store. Adjusting the chair to your dog’s size is simple, and you can get a perfect fit because the height, length, and width are adjustable. Walkin’ Wheels is suitable for dogs who still have mobility in their front legs.
We discovered that the setup is simple and that you choose the size of the chair based on your dog’s height. Many veterinarians and rehabilitation centers recommend this wheelchair. It is easy to clean because the harness and other parts are washable. Though it is a durable and high-quality chair, it is pricey, which is why it doesn’t reach the first two spots on our reviews list.
4. Newlife Mobility Adjustable Dog Wheelchair
The Newlife is an adjustable wheelchair for dogs who have no mobility in their hind legs but have walking strength in their front legs. It is an affordable option available in many sizes. Measure your dog’s hip height and width to identify the correct size to purchase. The XXS wheelchair will support a dog from 2.2 to 11 pounds.
The frame is lightweight, and it comes with a belly band that you use if your dog has spondylitis. The harness is soft and comfortable, and there are padded hind leg supports too. We like the push button that adjusts the height, width, and length of the chair, making it a breeze to get a customized fit for your dog.
On the downside, the Newlife is challenging to assemble and has poor instructions. But for the price, it is an affordable option that will allow your dog greater mobility.
5. K9 Carts Dog Wheelchair
Designed, built, and tested by veterinarians within an orthopedic hospital, the K9 Cart is constructed with care in the U.S.A. and offers a functional option for your pet. This company is the original dog wheelchair manufacturer. The cart is surprisingly lightweight and durable because it is made from aircraft-grade aluminum.
Your dog must have adequate foreleg strength to use this wheelchair because it only supports the hind legs. It can be utilized as a walking cane or as a suspension, with the rear legs held off the ground by a sling. Each sling is padded with foam and contoured to offer pelvic support. The wheels are manufactured from hard rubber and roll smoothly on a variety of terrains.
Setup is fast and modifying it to your dog is simple because the front harness merely uses a shoulder and a rib strap. This cart is durable and made with high-quality materials, but it is pricey. The company offers a one-year warranty and a guaranteed fit for your dog.
6. Homend Adjustable Dog Wheelchair
The Homend is optimal for small dogs and sized by measuring your dog’s height and hip width. It is ideal for dogs weighing 4 to 10 pounds. The frame is made from aluminum to keep it lightweight and easy for your little dog to maneuver. The harness is comfortable and easy to adjust to your dog’s body.
There is a push-button that allows for quick adjustment of the height, length, and width of your dog. A specially designed belly band offers extra protection for the spine. Assembly is straightforward, and once you fit your dog to it, the car is easy to put it on and remove. When inside, your dog can still use the bathroom without you having to make modifications.
One drawback is that the wheels are small and don’t provide much traction, which makes it difficult to use on a variety of terrains. It’s an affordable chair and has many features that provide independence for your dog. The Homend is not to be used with dogs who don’t have adequate front leg strength, however. This wheelchair also comes with a detachable leash that is useful for walks.
7. Huggiecart Dog Wheelchair
This wheelchair is great for small breed dogs with longer bodies. It has a lightweight aluminum frame that is easy for your dog to operate. The Huggiecart has an adjustable neoprene chest harness and rear leg stirrups that are comfortable but also allow your dog to relieve itself.
The height, length, and width are adjustable to allow you to customize the fit to your dog. The tires are small (ideal for a smaller dog), they will never go flat, and they have the bearings to allow for smooth travel over a variety of terrain.
To purchase the correct size of wheelchair for your dog, measure from the belly to the ground. The company states that the weight is only a reference. On the downside, the instructions aren’t easy to follow, making it difficult to assemble. If your dog doesn’t have enough front leg strength, this wheelchair will not be suitable to use.
8. SURPCOS PAWSOMECHEW1 Dog Wheelchair
The four-wheel construction is designed to provide more support for dogs who don’t have much front leg strength. The height, width, and length of the wheelchair are adjustable so you can custom-fit it to your dog. The lightweight frame is made from aluminum alloy, and the straps are soft to the touch and adjustable.
The wheels are puncture-proof, as they’re made from urethane, and the bearings allow for a smoother pull that makes it easier for your dog to maneuver. The SURPCOS wheelchair is easy to assemble with the provided hexagonal wrenches. We did find that assembly can be confusing to some individuals because there are many parts and pieces involved, making it feel overwhelming.
Once the wheelchair is set up, it can be a chore to get your dog in the correct position on the wheelchair, especially the first time. Once you learn how the parts work, it is easier to use. On the upside, it is more affordable than other wheelchairs on the market and provides extra support.
9. ExGizmo Adjustable Dog Wheelchair
Last on our list is the ExGizmo, which is a two-wheel model for dogs who need hind leg support. In order to use this wheelchair, your dog has to have the strength to support their front legs. The frame is made from aluminum, and the adjustable harnesses are padded for extra comfort and support. We found that the frame isn’t as sturdy as some of the others on this list, and this wheelchair isn’t as easy to assemble.
You can adjust the height, length, and width of this cart, and it is made for small dogs or puppies less than 11 pounds. The wheels are made of foam and are not durable enough to tolerate rough terrain, nor do they offer traction for slick surfaces, so it is difficult for the dog to maneuver and explore. On the upside, the wheels are puncture-proof.
When you shop for the ideal wheelchair for your dog, there are many things to consider. A wheelchair provides support to either your dog’s rear limbs or forelimbs or has full-body support. It can be used temporarily for rehab or for long-term issues. This buyer’s guide can help make your search a little less overwhelming so you can find the best dog wheelchair for your dog.
Features to Consider
A lighter wheelchair will make it easier for your dog to maneuver and won’t steal too much energy from them, so your walks remain enjoyable. Aluminum is a good choice because it is lightweight, durable, and rust-proof. There are different types of aluminum, however, and some may be lighter than others.
Each breed of dog has a different body type and shape. You’ll want a wheelchair that is adjustable so you can get a custom fit for optimal comfort. It should also be easy to adjust, as no one wants to spend extra time adjusting and re-adjusting while your dog becomes impatient.
These can include the frame materials that we mentioned earlier, e.g., aluminum keeping the wheelchair light. Any material that comes in contact with your dog should be soft and comfortable. If there is an area that applies painful pressure on your dog, they won’t want to use the wheelchair in the future. Also, any pressure points can cause wounds or soreness.
If your dog will be walking off the pavement frequently, you may want a cart with wheels that can navigate over rough terrain. Even if your dog uses the wheelchair inside, the wheels need to have a small amount of traction when on slick surfaces. The wheels should rotate easily so your dog doesn’t have to exert too much energy to pull the chair.
Type of Wheelchair
If your dog doesn’t have hind leg mobility, they will require a different wheelchair compared to one who has no front limb mobility. Rear wheelchairs require that your dog have adequate strength to support themselves at the front end. You can perform the towel/sling test to see how much strength your dog has: Create a sling from a towel and lift the hind end off the ground. Have your dog walk while you hold the sling to evaluate their strength. Also, speak with your veterinarian before purchasing a wheelchair to make sure it is appropriate.
Ease of Use
Once assembled, it should be easy for you to adjust the height, length, and width to get a custom fit. It also shouldn’t be a chore to get your dog into and out of the wheelchair when you are ready to use it. Simplicity is always a positive factor, as long as the wheelchair meets the needs of your dog.
Keep in mind that dog wheelchairs aren’t meant to be left on for long periods of time. They are designed to help with mobility and allow your dog to exercise. Your dog can sit when using one, but usually, they can’t lie down as comfortably as they normally would. It’s also always good to make sure your dog can do its business when hooked up to the wheelchair.
Dog wheelchairs are not cheap, and the higher the quality, the more expensive they will be. You have to stay within a budget, but don’t choose one just because it is the least expensive. Choose one that has all the features that your dog needs, one that fits your dog’s body type and size and is comfortable and safe to use.
If you are considering purchasing an expensive wheelchair, see if you can test it out first through a rehab center or veterinary hospital. If that isn’t an option, make sure you know what the return policy is so there are no surprises if you need to send the wheelchair back.
Pay attention to how you are supposed to measure your dog for the wheelchair, since every model is different. Typically, you will measure the height and length of your dog. Some companies even offer calculators to get a custom fit. Be sure to know the weight limit for the wheelchair and what size breed it is recommended for.
Tips to introduce your dog to a wheelchair:
- Take it slow. Some dogs are more laidback than others, but you still want to introduce your dog to the cart over a period of time so the wheelchair is not associated with fear and anxiety.
- Once your dog is used to seeing the wheelchair and has had time to look it over, put the harness on and give your dog time to get used to it. Readjust if needed, to make it a comfortable fit.
- Add more wheelchair parts, while remaining alert to your dog’s comfort level, until they are completely hooked up to the cart.
- Give treats as a reward and for extra encouragement.
- Stay positive and upbeat; your dog will feed off of your energy. If you are excited about the wheelchair, your dog will sense those vibes.
- If you still have difficulty getting your dog to like the wheelchair, speak with your veterinarian or an animal rehab clinic for assistance.
A dog can still enjoy life to the fullest even with a handicap, and a dog wheelchair helps make that possible.
Our top choice is the Best Friend Mobility Dog Wheelchair, made with quality and durable materials that will last for many years while providing enjoyment for your canine friend. The best value is the HiHydro because it is an affordable price and has many features that will benefit your dog. For a little more money, the Walkin’ Wheels Dog Wheelchair provides a comfortable and durable solution to getting your dog mobile.
You have enough to worry about while providing your dog with the love and attention that they deserve. We hope that our reviews list has helped ease some of the frustration of buying a dog wheelchair.
Featured Image Credit: wheelie_chiweenie, Instagram
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 9 Best Dog Wheelchairs – Reviews 2020
- 1. Best Friend Mobility Dog Wheelchair – Best Overall
- 2. HiHydro Cart Pet Wheelchair – Best Value
- 3. Walkin’ Wheels Dog Wheelchair – Premium Choice
- 4. Newlife Mobility Adjustable Dog Wheelchair
- 5. K9 Carts Dog Wheelchair
- 6. Homend Adjustable Dog Wheelchair
- 7. Huggiecart Dog Wheelchair
- 8. SURPCOS PAWSOMECHEW1 Dog Wheelchair
- 9. ExGizmo Adjustable Dog Wheelchair
- Buyer’s Guide
- Features to Consider
- Other Considerations
- Tips to introduce your dog to a wheelchair: