dog in a doggy wheelchair

The Best Dog Wheelchair Australia - The Ultimate Mobility Wheels

Our #1 Pick

The Best Value for Money

HiHydro Dog Wheelchair

  • Good price point
  • Wide range of sizes
  • Both full support and rear support wheelchairs available
  • Easy assembly

If you’re reading this, we completely understand how difficult a time this is. When searching for a dog wheelchair, the worst has probably happened. Perhaps your dog has had an accident and needs rehabilitation. Maybe they are slowing down in their old age and need help getting around.

Your lovely dog is in the next phase of life now where they need walking support to improve their quality of life.

Whatever the reasons for opting to buy a dog wheelchair, we want to give the very best information and recommendations we can. Finding a dog wheelchair in Australia can be difficult, so we have rounded up a handy list that will suit your needs whatever you need the wheelchair for.

Beyond that, we’ll also discuss how to use dog wheelchairs properly as we’re sure it’s not something you have ever wanted to think about. Consider this your ultimate guide to finding the best walking aid for your dog.

dog in a wheelchair

Types Of Walking Aids For Dogs

Wheelchairs for dogs are not the only possible mobility aid you can find on the market. There are plenty of options depending on your dog’s injury or disability.

Dog wheelchairs for back legs

Most wheelchairs focus on the hind legs as the most common causes for dogs needing a wheelchair are:

  • Leg injury
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Arthritis
  • Surgical recovery
  • Imbalances or instability
  • Muscular dystrophy

And while all of these can affect the front legs too, the back legs are the most commonly affected. Muscular dystrophy, for example, is often first spotted by your dog not fully using their hind legs. 

“The first signs of muscular dystrophy are a stiff gait or a dog that “bunny hops” awkwardly with his back legs. These dogs also have decreased agility and exercise tolerance, compared to normal dogs.” - Catherine Barnette, DVM, from VCA Animal Hospitals

Wheelchairs also rely on your dog’s ability to pull themselves forward with their front legs in any case.

So you’ll find that hind support, sometimes referred to as rear support wheelchairs, are most widely available.

The typical rear support wheelchair for dogs has a back apparatus with the wheels and a harness that supports the body. Your dog’s legs go through the leg holes at the back which are side by side with the wheels. 

Full support wheelchairs for dogs

These models do as they say on the tin. They fully support your dog’s front and hind legs for less pressure all round.

As mentioned before, your dog still has to have some degree of strength in their upper body to be able to pull themselves forward in motion. The apparatus will relieve some of the pressure and fortitude to be able to move around more freely, but if your dog is completely weak in both front and hind legs, it may be a struggle.

Full support wheelchairs are often fantastic rehabilitation tools post-surgery. They are like the ultimate walking frames.

This a mobility cart style, so it has leg holes both front and back. Your dog’s body is supported with a strap or harness around their belly. The front wheels tend to be smaller than the rear wheels to balance them.

Manual lifting/walking aids

You may find that your dog doesn’t need a full wheelchair. They are just a little weaker in their back legs than they used to be.

One of my dogs is very old and struggles to maintain her balance during long walks. For regular walking around the house and garden, she is completely fine!

So instead of a full metal apparatus, we have a hind leg supporter that we use when out walking.

This kind of works like a harness for the back legs. The model fits around their back legs and should your dog struggle to keep walking or find it tough to climb some stairs, you lift the handle to help them support their rear. It’s a very handy tool that is less cumbersome than a full wheelchair.

Of course, this depends on your dog’s situation. If your dog is in the early stages of hip dysplasia, this could be a huge help to them. (2) But as their condition progresses, you may find one is better than the other.


How To Use A Wheelchair For Dogs

Fitting your dog for a wheelchair

Measuring your dog for a wheelchair depends on the type of wheelchair you choose and the manufacturer’s guidelines.

In all cases, you need to take the following measurements:

  • Their weight
  • Your dog’s front legs from the top of the back (at the shoulder blades)
  • Your dog’s back legs from the top of the back (at the hip bones)
  • The width of your dog at their widest point (at the hips)

You will likely need an extra pair of human hands to support your dog as they need to be in a simulated standing position when you measure them. If your dog’s front and/or hind legs are too weak to stand long enough for you to measure, ask someone to help you support them.

Adjusting to dog wheels

You may be wondering how your dog can best adapt to life on wheels. After all, wheelchair life is quite a departure to their life before and we can’t be sure that your dog can fully conceptualise what has happened and how life has changed for them.

I, Olivia, your friendly writer for today, once fostered a three-legged dog in university. If you have ever seen a three-legged dog in real life, you’ll probably see the sheer tenacity and spirit that I did.

They don’t let injuries stop them so wheelchair support is actually quite easy to adjust to. It feels strange for them at first but their overall thought is “yay - this helps me move!”.

“The transition into a wheelchair is an easy one for most pets. Dogs want to be moving and they learn quickly that their wheelchair is going to help them. Even dogs who haven’t run in months are so happy to be back on their feet...The transformation is incredible. You can see the joy in their face as they run for the first time in months.” - The team at Walkin’ Pets Blog

If your dog isn’t feeling too confident within a few hours or half a day of using their wheelchair, you may find that something isn’t quite fitting correctly. It may take some tweaking and refinement to find the most comfortable positions for your dog. You’ll know when you hit the sweet spot as they will be up and away in no time at all!


Best Dog Wheelchairs 2021 Reviewed

Shopping for a dog wheelchair in Australia can feel quite complex since the market is small and the contraptions themselves look confusing. What goes where? What size do you need? What is the best one for your dog specifically?

Here is a collection of our recommendations that are easy to obtain and at all different price points. Before we dive in, please note that all manufacturers have their own sizing guidelines. Weight is very important when it comes to wheelchair purchase too. Follow each individual manufacturer’s guidelines when assessing each product. They may be similar but don’t assume that they all fit the same way.

#1: Best Overall: HiHydro Dog Wheelchair

What sets this product apart from the rest?

  • Good price point
  • Wide range of sizes
  • Both full support and rear support wheelchairs available
  • Easy assembly

The HiHydro range is incredibly comprehensive with all dogs in mind, which is why we chose it as our top choice.

From wheels for dogs with weakened rear ends to full support dog carts, Australia, this is the one you need!

We are also impressed by the fantastic range of sizes on offer. Now, this product is designed for both dogs and cats so the smallest sizes will likely not be suitable for your pup. From XXS all the way up to XL, the sizing is incredibly inclusive. We love an inclusive brand!

The wheelchair is lightweight, allowing your pup to walk around with ease. The frame is fully adjustable to your dog’s height and width (within the given size ranges). You can ensure the comfort of your dog when you can adapt the product so easily to your dog’s body.

The colourful designs are also more fun and good-looking than some of the all-metal wheelchairs out there. Your dog can still have flair as they try on their new wheels.

Durable, adaptable and inclusive, the HiHydro range has something for every dog in need.

Verified Review - 12/04/2021
See Review!
"If your dog has a slipped disc and still feel some sensation. Do not use it. If your dog is out of pain, and isn’t completely healed, do not use it. On the happy notes, works amazing, a little weird to understand how to put on your dog but it gets easier. It’s Adjustable in length and height. It looks cool on your pup. Most people think it’s super adorable. Most of all, your dog will be happy to be mobile again. I would totally recommend this!"

Pros

Cons

  • Good price point
  • May take some creative adjusting for dogs with different sized legs
  • Wide range of sizes
Cell
  • Both full support and rear support wheelchairs available
Cell
  • Easy assembly
Cell

  • Cool design
  • Extra padding around pressure points
  • Lightweight aluminium alloy frame
  • Complete rear support


LOVEPET make some great dog products and this rear-support wheelchair is no different!

We love the bright red trims and extra cushioning around the shoulders, chest and belly. It may seem like a small detail but these padded areas make it far more comfortable for your dog to wear on long walks. It also reduces the chances of small nylon straps chafing. The wider pads disperse the pressure evenly across your dog’s chest for more ease as they pull themselves forward with their front legs.

This is a hind leg support scooter so your dog will need strength in their front legs to move freely.

The frame is made of a lightweight but super durable aluminum alloy. It is fully adjustable for your dog’s needs too.

The design and functionality make this product an absolute winner but we do have one gripe; the sizing. There is a great selection of options for small to medium dogs. The smallest size is suitable for pups up to 3kg which is tiny.

Unfortunately, larger pups are not so lucky. The largest size only suits dogs up to 45cm in height and 20kg in weight. That isn’t uncommon in the wheelchair world (and dog world in general) but we’re sad large and extra-large dogs weren’t included since this is such a good-looking and highly functional product.

If the size is right for your loveable canine, they will surely enjoy this mobility cart.

Pros

Cons

  • Cool design
  • No suitable sizes for large or extra-large dogs
  • Extra padding around pressure points
Cell
  • Lightweight aluminium alloy frame
Cell
  • Complete rear support
Cell

#3: Best Full Support Dog Wheelchair: JXJ 4 Wheels Dog Cart Front and Hind Legs Rehabilitation

  • 4-wheel support frame
  • Easy to assemble
  • Durable foam wheels
  • Good sizing for small and medium dogs

The JXJ dog cart is a great option for canines who need that extra support from all four corners. Built with rehabilitation in mind, this wheelchair will relieve the pressure on your dog’s limbs as they move around with this sturdy but lightweight support frame.

It has foam wheels that are dense but not heavy. This is ideal for traversing any terrain you may come across in your travels.

This product is easy to assemble and easy to clean too with a simple wipe down surface.

The size range is a little limiting, only going from XXS to Medium. The medium size fits dogs up to 45cm in height and 20kg in weight.

Another con could be the design. We find the design to be a bit lackluster when compared to the more colourful additions on this list. That is a minute detail in the grand scheme of things though.

If you are in the market for a full support wheelchair for your dog, this is a great product to try!

Pros

Cons

  • 4-wheel support frame
  • No options for large or extra-large dogs
  • Easy to assemble
  • Boring design
  • Durable foam wheels
Cell
  • Good sizing for small and medium dogs
Cell

#4: Best For Large & XL Dogs: LOVEPET Large Dog Wheelchair

  • Excellent sizes for large and extra-large dogs
  • Durable foam wheels
  • Spongey reflective padding
  • Lightweight, durable metal frame

After slamming them for not providing a decent size range with the red design, LOVEPET redeems themselves with this large dog wheelchair that is perfect for the larger canines in your life who need support.

And yes, we whinge about sizing a lot, but the fact is, larger breeds are far more prone to hip dysplasia and arthritic joints than smaller dogs are anyway! (4) So big dogs should be thought of first when it comes to walking aids and mobility carts… anyway… rant over…

This model has an extra-large size that accommodates dogs of up to 68cm in height and 60kg in weight. Now that’s more like it!

The frame is aluminum alloy again that is durable and easy to carry. The “leggings” that hold your dog’s back legs are made of a soft, spongy material, that is environmentally friendly and kind to the skin. No chafing or itching.

Though the padding around the chest isn’t as wide as our runner-up choice, these are reflective lime green. That is a fabulous feature that enables this wheelchair to be used from dawn till dusk.

The wheels are made of a dense foam that is puncture-proof in most terrains.

As for pricing, the largest sizes are very reasonable given that they are so large. After all, supersizing the product normally means supersizing the price.

Pros

Cons

  • Excellent sizes for large and extra-large dogs
  • No reviews
  • Durable foam wheels
Cell
  • Spongey reflective padding
Cell
  • Lightweight, durable metal frame
Cell

#5: Best Walking Aid For Dogs: PetSafe Solvit Pet Lifting Aid

  • Good reviews
  • Decent size range
  • Comfortable mesh lining
  • Durable

This is somewhat of an honorary mention. Remember I mentioned my old dog who needs support but not full-time support, a lifting aid is perfect in that situation.

So, consider this our recommendation for the stage in between wheelchair use. Maybe your dog is elderly, like mine, and needs a little helping hand during walks. Or perhaps your dog has been using a wheelchair for a while for surgery rehabilitation and is ready to move away from daily wheelchair use to regain their strength. A lighting aid is the ideal in-between walking aid.

In this category, we recommend the PetSafe Solvit Pet Lifting Aid.

We like that there are two kinds of manual lifting aids here, just like wheelchairs - full support and rear support. They strap on like harnesses but with a huge handle or strap that can help you relieve pressure off of your dog’s legs whenever you need to.

The straps support the hips and waist for an all-encompassing support system.

The mesh lining is breathable and gentle on the skin. No sweating or chafing or itching here!

If you opt for the rear support design, there is a handle and a “lifting leash”. The lifting leash is an attachment that can clip onto any leash using a strong D-ring clip.

If you opt for the full support design, the shoulder strap handle is very long, as if you could lift your dog like a handbag. There are also the smaller, handheld handles on both the front end and rear end of your dog’s back so you can adapt to your dog’s needs in the moment.

The sizing is not too bad with three options available - small, medium and large. The smallest size suits dogs with 30-60cm waists and weighing up to 15kg. The medium size will suit a dog with a 48-78cm waist and a weight of up to 30kg. The largest size will suit a dog with a 68-97cm waist and weight of up to 60kg. Not a bad size range at all.

Overall, as far as walking aids go, this one is durable, multifunctional and all-round pretty fabulous!

Verified Review - 18/03/2021
Well Made Versatile Product
"Good product overall !! Although it would be nice if the straps for connecting front to back harness would be able to go shorter/or tighten together more for dogs with shorter torsos. Would still recommend to everyone as it is a well made sturdy product."

Pros

Cons

  • Good reviews
  • Little bit expensive
  • Decent size range
Cell
  • Comfortable mesh lining
Cell
  • Durable
Cell

The Final Verdict: The Best Dog Wheels

As you can see, not all dog wheelchairs were created equal but they are very similar. We are confident that your pup will get on with any of these options depending on their specific injuries and recovery path. That said, the HiHydro is the best all-rounder range in the bunch.

 They have rear-support wheelchairs and full support wheelchairs. Extra-extra small models and decently large options. They are colourful, lightweight and well-reviewed. If you find the right size for your pooch, these mobility carts won’t steer your dog wrong! (I apologise to no one for that joke)

If you’re not sure you need a full wheelchair and/or you would like to fully prepare for your pup for their recovery journey, a lifting aid is worth purchasing. The PetSafe is great in that case. Cover all your bases with a lifting aid and wheelchair to have every step of your pup’s recovery covered (that’s a lot of “covering”).

FAQ

Are dog wheelchairs cruel?

Generally, no, dog wheelchairs are not cruel. They give your dog a new lease on life by giving them the freedom to move freely when that ability has been robbed from them by illness or old age.

Limb and spinal injuries are some of the most common injuries your dog will face in their lifetime. (5) Often these injuries are not debilitating enough to justify putting them down. Conversely, what seems crueler is to leave them in one spot with no walking aids at all. That effectively takes away their independence and can severely affect their mental health.

If your dog is in extreme pain and your veterinarian advises the kinder thing to do may be to euthanise, you can make that decision together. But if your dog has a chance at a better quality of life with a wheelchair, we think it’s worth giving a go. We don’t advocate for putting a healthy dog down.

Do dog wheelchairs really work?

Dog wheelchairs are very effective tools as both walking aids and rehabilitation support if used correctly and fitted properly. You can consult your professional veterinarian for their expert advice if you have doubt about your dog’s suitability for a wheelchair or if you’ll get the intended outcomes.

In the case of rehabilitation, wheelchair use is best paired with a course of exercises - either at home or with a professional - to regain strength in the affected limb. Recovery is entirely possible but it takes a fully comprehensive approach. (6)

Can dogs go to the bathroom in a wheelchair?

Yes, they can! Dog’s pee and poop in wheelchairs but they must stay standing. They can’t squat like they once used to. It takes some getting used to but doggie wheelchairs are designed to be used all the time if needed, including potty times.

References
  1. Barnette, C. “Muscular Dystrophy”. VCA Animal Hospitals. Retrieved January 18, 2021. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/muscular-dystrophy
  2. “Hip dysplasia in dogs” AKC Staff. Retrieved January 18, 2021. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/hip-dysplasia-in-dogs/ 
  3. “5 Things You Must Know Before Buying a Dog Wheelchair”. November 25, 2019. Handicapped Pets. Retrieved January 18, 2021.
    https://www.handicappedpets.com/blog/5-need-to-know-dog-wheelchair-tips/#:~:text=Many%20dogs%20use%20the%20wheelchair,to%20your%20dog's%20rehabilitation%20program!
  4. Racine, E. July 22, 2019. “Osteoarthritis in Dogs — Signs and Treatment”. American Kennel Club. Retrieved January 18, 2021. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/osteoarthritis-signs-treatment/
  5. Stregowski, J. January 7, 2020. “Common Injuries in Dogs and How to Treat Them”. The Spruce Pets. Retrieved January 18, 2021. https://www.thesprucepets.com/common-injuries-in-dogs-4142261
  6. Monk, M. “Will my dog’s muscles return to normal by themselves after canine injury or surgery?”. Dogs in Motion. Retrieved January 18, 2021. https://www.dogsinmotion.com.au/will-my-dogs-muscles-go-back-to-normal-by-themselves-after-injury-or-surgery/
Olivia De Santos

Olivia is a professional writer and animal lover. She loves spending time with her Podengo and Flat Coated Retriever, and writing pieces to help people to be better dog owners

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