In this post, I would like to talk about dog mobility aids – what they are, how much they have helped us, and what they can do for you.
What are Dog Mobility Aids?
As the name suggests, they are items or products that help your dog get around.
A pet stroller, dog ramp, pet stairs, and slings are just some of what we will discuss in this post.
We’re also going to look at other options that may help, including hydrotherapy, acupuncture, supplements, and medications.
Who Can Mobility Aids Help?
- suffering from arthritis, hip dysplasia or joint pain of any kind
- recovering from surgery or injury and have to take it easy
- finding it harder to climb/jump for any number of reasons
- who are having trouble or are simply unable to lift their dog
- who would like to involve their dogs in more of their family activities
Is Your Dog…
- Staying in his bed longer?
- Having trouble getting out of his bed?
- Lying down really slowly?
- Going for shorter walks, or doesn’t want to walk at all?
- Not as interested in playing?
- Unable to climb or jump onto the couch or bed like he used to
First Things First
Many people assume changes in behavior are a natural part of the aging process and ignore them.
If you have noticed any changes, no matter how slight or subtle they may be, I highly recommend you make an appointment to see your vet as soon as possible.
Catching a condition early increases the chances of a positive outcome.
The Pet Stroller
The pet stroller is the one item that has been the biggest help, in ways almost too numerous to mention.
Let me say that they aren’t only perfect for senior dogs; there are so many situations where a dog stroller will come in handy for dogs of all ages.
The reason I decided to buy a dog stroller is because of a favorite vet.
We moved, and without a car getting to him had become quite an ordeal…or adventure if you want to put a positive spin on it!!
Anyway, my dog weighs about 9 lbs. After 5 minutes of carrying her, she feels more like 50.
She can walk but very slowly and not too far, so I would let her walk when I needed a break.
The worst part was the overpass that took 20 minutes to cross and was too hectic for Red to walk on, and that was the backbreaking part; hence, the stroller!
When I want to join my husband and other dog Jack for a walk to the beach on a beautiful day, I don’t have to leave Red behind. I pop her in the stroller, and off we go.
If it’s hot and Jack has worn himself out running, I put him in there so he can hitch a ride home until he re-charges!
Paws & Pals 4-Wheeler Elite Jogger Pet Stroller
- Dimensions: 14.5 x 18.5 x 39 inches
- Front Zipper Entry
- Front Footboard Step
- Canopy for Shade
- Folds Compactly
- Available in Multiple Colors
Paws & Pals City Walk N Stride Pet Stroller
- Dimensions: 15 x 20 x 40 inches
- Multiple Windows for Breathability
- Storage Compartment for Supplies and Treats
- Convenient Cup Holder for the Pet Owner
- Seat Belts
- Rear Security Brakes
- Simple Fold
- Ventilated Mesh Screen Windows
Read this ⇒ 21 Reasons to Buy a Pet Stroller. There, you will also find more recommendations for the best pet stroller.
Jack Was Paralyzed
One day in August 2016, Jack suddenly lost the use of his back legs.
A very long story short – our dog stroller was a lifesaver when it came to bringing him to and from hospital and vet appointments.
Confined to a cage for weeks with limited time allowed outside, the stroller became invaluable in fighting boredom and depression that was a real concern.
After his 5 minute walk time was up, I would put him in the dog stroller and walk around the neighborhood. This allowed him to see his 2 and 4 legged friends and give him much-needed breaks from the crate.
As he improved and was able to walk with the support of a sling (I will talk about that next), I would bring the stroller with us, and when his allotted walk time was up, back in the stroller, he went.
Whether you have a senior dog who can’t walk as far as he used to, a dog recovering from illness or surgery, or you want to keep your dog safe in crowds; you can’t find anything better than a pet stroller.
Dog Support Sling
The sling is another mobility aid you will find useful if your dog is having trouble walking for whatever reason.
When Jack was recovering from spinal surgery, a sling was essential to help him walk. In the beginning, it was because he was unable to move his back legs, but even as he started to regain movement, he needed the support it provided.
You will see in the video our sling was homemade. Because Jack is a small dog weighing around 9 or 10 lbs, the neurologist didn’t feel we needed to buy a “proper” one. He thought a scarf or something similar would be worth trying, to begin with, so we cut up an old t-shirt and used that.
It worked wonders in our case, but I doubt our improvised version would work in most situations. For bigger dogs, a real sling is recommended.
- Available in Small, Medium, and Large Sizes
- Support Hip Sling and Lifting Harness
- Good for Elderly Dogs, Orthopedic Injuries, Hip Dysplasia, and Arthritic Pain
- Makes Mobility Easier
- Heavy-Duty, Reflective Strap
- Easy to Use and Carry
TOMKAS Dog Sling Carrier for Small Dogs
- Machine Washable and Breathable Fabric
- Reversible and Zip Pocket for Storage
- Convenient and Secure
- Suitable for Smaller Dogs
- Adjustable Shoulder Strap
Sadly, lots of dogs get left back from family car trips because it’s too hard to lift the dog in and out of the car, and he’s unable to walk much once they arrive at their destination.
No worries, that’s why we have dog ramps to help get in and out of cars and boats and even onto the bed or couch.
Styles and sizes galore; some are telescoping, so their reach is far, others fold, some turn into steps, and I’ve even seen one that rolls.
Pay attention to how much traction the ramp you’re considering has; you don’t want your dog slipping if it gets wet.
The steepness of the incline is also key. Too short and too steep, your dog may not be able to use it. A longer, more gradual incline is best.
Doesn’t this sound perfect, teamed up with a pet stroller? They both fold for easy storage in the car; one helps your dog in and out, the other when you arrive.
By the way, some ramps can be used alongside the bed or for joining you on the couch.
If you think of indoor use, be aware of the amount of floor space it will take up and how far out it will reach. You don’t want to create a tripping hazard.
PetSafe Happy Ride Folding Pet Ramp
- Safety Tested and Durable
- Can Hold up to 150 Pounds
- High-Traction Surface
- Simple to Store
- Dimensions: 62 x 16 x 4 inches
Pet Gear Stramp Stair and Ramp Combination
- Super Soft Mat
- Rubber Grips on Bottom
- Easily Snaps Together
- Lightweight and Easy to Move
- Dimensions: 28 x 16 x 16 inches
Pet steps are another great tool to help your dog reach his favorite spot on your bed or couch.
Taking up less floor space than a ramp, they are less of a tripping hazard, and can be easier to move around, especially because some even have a carry handle.
Available in 2, 3 or 4 steps, they come in many different styles, designs and materials.
One added note – jumping can put a lot of pressure on puppy bones, so getting them used to pet steps may prevent joint problems later in life.
PetSafe Cozy Up Folding Pet Steps
- 20-Inch Steps that Support Up to 150 Pounds
- Tested for Durability
- Non-skid Feet
- Fabric Tread Covers
- Two Color Choices
- Choose from Extra Large and Standard Sizes
I would imagine the thought of a dog wheelchair raises a lot of emotions for you.
When my husband and I were meeting with the neurologist to discuss Jack’s paralysis, I brought up the topic of a wheelchair.
Although our amazing doctor Ed was quite confident Jack would regain the use of his legs (of course, it was never a guarantee), I thought it was important to discuss how we felt about it in advance, just in case.
Seeing how resilient Jack has been during his recovery and having a hard time keeping up with him when only his front legs were working, I have no doubt he would have adapted to rolling around and still have a great quality of life.
I’m relieved he didn’t need the wheels but delighted they exist as an option for other dogs who have had a different outcome. It means they can still have fun and happy lives with their families.
Walkin’ Wheels Lightweight Dog Wheelchair
- Ideal for Small Dogs Between 11 and 25 Pounds
- Easy to Store and Transport
- Easy to Clean
- Veterinarian Approved
- Patented Adjustable Design to Provide Your Dog with the Perfect Fit
- Designed and Built by a Veterinarian
- Lightweight and Durable
- Fully Adjustable
- Guaranteed to Fit
Another fantastic, multi-functional product are dog boots.
Hopefully your dog is more agreeable then my little 16 year old Red.
I was in Canada with her one winter – heavy snow, ice and of course lots of salt. Needless to say it was too painful for her to walk, so I bought her booties. I wish I had a video of that experience!!
She weighs 10 lbs, but believe me when she doesn’t want to do something, she has the strength of a dog 10x her size.
Long story short she was agreeable to paw wax so we settled on that.
The boots are a wonderful solution for dogs that drag their feet due to join pain, or are unsteady on certain surfaces.
In our case, they are something Jack would have benefited from, especially if his recovery had taken longer. Even though we used a sling, his back legs would occasionally drag causing sores on the tops of his paws if on small stones or pavement.
I wrapped his paws in gauze when we were out, then once we were home he would entertain himself by pulling it off.
Boots would have been ideal, I wish I had thought of it from the beginning, although something tells me he would not have worn them. That’s just the way he is!!
Having had no experience with a paralyzed dog, and being from Canada where you think the only use for booties is protection from the salt… This was one of those “live and learn” situations.
- Comes in Various Sizes
- Secure and Adjustable
- Anti-Slip Soles
- Made from High-Quality Fabric
- Reflective Strips for Safety
Splints and Leg Supports
Designed to support front or back legs, these splints and leg supports are a tremendous help for dogs dealing with conditions such as osteoarthritis, degenerative joint disease, and soft tissue injuries, to name just a few.
Padded Velcro straps are used to adjust, the padding on the inside ensures your dog is comfortable, and non-slip pads on the bottom keep him stable and sure-footed.
- Provides Dog with Comfort and Support
- Easy and Cost-Effective Way to Treat Injuries
- Protects Broken Bones and Weak Limbs
- Durable and Lightweight
- Helps Heal Due to Injury or Surgery
- Provides Support and Stabilization
- Easy to Wear, Smooth Mesh Sheet
- Robust and Flexible Material
Joint supplements can also be used as dog mobility aids. Many vets and dog owners have reported an improvement in how their pet functions after starting certain supplements. They are said to be safe and effective.
However, you still want to discuss joint supplements as dog mobility aids with your veterinarian before starting your pup on any new regimen.
You may be familiar with glucosamine/chondroitin as a supplement for humans with joint issues and have heard a lot of positive feedback.
It is also used for dogs, and while it is not guaranteed to help in every case, there are so many success stories, it is worth looking into.
So, what is it?
The body synthesizes most of its own glucosamine to form, repair, and keep existing cartilage healthy. Production slows as dogs get older, which affects the body’s natural ability to repair itself.
When you combine wear and tear on the joints (something that happens naturally as our dogs walk, jump and play), you start to see the development of arthritis with the body’s slower repair time.
Chondroitin is another substance naturally found in cartilage, and when combined with glucosamine, is an even more beneficial joint supplement.
Read This ⇔ “Glucosamine and Chondroitin For Dogs.”
Vet Classics GCM Plus Hip & Joint Support for Dogs
- Supports and Helps Maintain Hip and Joint Health
- Recommended for Dogs Over the Age of Two
- Glucosamine, MSM, and Chondroitin
- 120 Chewable Tablets
Nutramax Laboratories Cosequin with MSM Chewable Tablets
- #1 Veterinarian Recommended Joint Health Supplement Brand
- Chicken-Flavored Tablets
- Supports Healthy Joints
- Supports Joint Mobility
- Comes in 60, 132, and 250 Count Bottles
New Zealand Green Lipped Mussels
Found only in New Zealand waters, this is one of the largest in the mussel family and is rich in omega fatty acids and minerals. They are known as “green-lipped” because of the green tinge along the edge.
A natural anti-inflammatory because they are an excellent source of glucosamine and chondroitin, they are not only helpful for pets already suffering the effects of arthritis. Still, they can be used as a preventative as well.
They are considered to be particularly effective when combined with fish oil, glucosamine, and chondroitin.
Important! Before you give your dog any supplements, I recommend you speak with your vet. If you’re interested in exploring natural pain relief, speak to your vet or a holistic vet.
K9 Natural Freeze-Dried Dog Treats- New Zealand Green Mussel Bites
- Ideal Size for Training and Rewards
- Limited Ingredients: No Grains or Gluten
- Grass-Fed, Free-Range Meats
- Packed with Protein
- Low in Carbohydrates
There is an unlimited number of success stories told by people whose dogs have benefited greatly from acupuncture. While it is not guaranteed to help every pet, it is at least worth considering.
It can be used in combination with other therapies and treats various conditions, including arthritis.
If your veterinary practice does not offer it, find a holistic vet and make an appointment to learn more.
We recently returned from a four-month stay in Spain, and I took Red to a holistic vet there. I had long been curious about how alternative treatments could benefit her.
In addition to a home-cooked whole food diet and supplements to replace 3 of her medications, he recommended acupuncture.
Although Red does not suffer from joint pain, it was part of my vet’s overall wellness plan for her. She had twice-weekly treatments for three months.
I found it difficult to know whether it was making a difference because it wasn’t helping a “visible” issue.
We’ve been back five weeks, and now I see acupuncture helped with her immunity and, yes, overall wellbeing.
Read This ⇒ “Acupuncture For Senior Dogs: Is There a Point?”
Mobility Aids for Dogs – Conclusion
I hope you find this information as positive and encouraging as I do.
I have personally used (I should say my dogs) almost every item on this list, and the benefits cannot be overstated. It has made life so much easier and more comfortable for all of us.
Please don’t let your dog feel pain or spend the rest of his life in bed, now that you are aware of all the amazing mobility aids for dogs.
Have you used any of these products? How much of a difference have they made in the life of your do? Sharing helps others so please leave your comments in the section below, or on my Facebook page.
Dog Mobility Aids FAQ
Still have questions on the dog mobility aids we have discussed above? Or maybe you just want to learn more so you can find the best way to help your pet. Read on for more information.
What type of mobility issues are aided by dog carts?
The right dog cart can help with a number of conditions, including hip dysplasia, paralysis, arthritis, soreness and pain, neurological issues, recovery following surgery, spinal problems, amputations, and when there is general pain or weakness in the dog’s limbs and joints.
How beneficial is exercise for a disabled dog?
Gentle exercises can be beneficial for a disabled dog to help improve their mobility. A dog wheelchair, for example, is a good solution when you want your dog to continue to live an active and healthy lifestyle. Moderate exercise helps keep their bones and joints strong and also helps with weight management. Swimming is a good low-impact exercise because it is very low weight-bearing.
How do you measure a dog for a wheelchair?
If your dog can stand on its own, then you can use a retractable tape measure to measure them from the bottom edge of the fold of their flank to the front of its rear foot and toes. Never stretch the dog’s leg out when you measure because this will add several inches to the overall measurements and not be accurate.
What are the signs of a dog’s back end going?
Some signs that your dog’s back end may be going out include swaying in the hind legs while standing, they fall over easily when pushed, they wobble, feet scrape on the ground as they walk, they have difficulty walking, and it is hard for them to get up from a sitting or lying position. All of these are signs of degenerative myelopathy in dogs.
Can a dog in a cart play with other dogs and family pets?
Many pets aren’t used to the sight of another dog in a cart, so it may scare them at first. Once the other dogs and family pets get used to seeing the dog in the cart, however, they can then begin to enjoy supervised interactions.
How long will it take for your dog to be accustomed to the cart?
It typically takes about three weeks for a dog to become accustomed to a dog cart. However, this can also depend on the dog’s personality. If it takes your dog longer, don’t worry. You just need to learn how to foster a healthy and balanced relationship between the dog and the cart.
Does the splint have any tread or soling on the bottom so the dog will not slip?
Yes, most splints you purchase for your dog to help with mobility issues will have a non-skid soling surface on the bottom. Your dog may need to wear a splint for up to six weeks, depending on the injury. More serious injuries like broken bones and fractures can take longer to heal, and the splint will help with your dog’s recovery.
Should you walk a dog with degenerative myelopathy?
Exercise is important for your dog and can be good therapy for a dog with degenerative myelopathy.
This is a very comprehensive list, thank you! We’ve had to use the sling before when our dog was recovering from surgery.
My pleasure Rachel. It’s amazing how helpful a sling is, Jack couldn’t have recovered from spinal surgery without one.
Thank you so much for such a comprehensive review of products. Special needs pets are my heart and this is a terrific reference. I love that you will be running a Retirement Home for Animals.
Thanks so much Denise, always happy to hear from someone who loves special needs pets as much as I do.
I keep pet steps handy for Layla as they are the only thing that fits in my place
They don’t take up a lot of space, which is one of the things I like about them. I also find they’re easier for some dogs to navigate than a ramp.
This is a thorough list of mobility aids. I got stairs for our previous cat when she got older and couldn’t jump onto the bed any more.
We’re so fortunate these amazing products exist to help our animals.
Great list! I have both the portable ramp and steps here for my now aging Huskies. My husband also built a ramp off our deck after one of our Huskies had bilateral imbrication surgeries (at the same time) for two blown CCLs and meniscuses after she went to jump up on the bed (and she was young at the time). Turns out she had a genetic issue. (She is great now!) Having these tools are so important for aging dogs, and for dogs who are injured or recuperating from surgeries. I also had an epileptic dog, who weighed 98 lbs, and had weak hind issues for years from the medications, and the portable ramp I had to use as a makeshift stretcher should the need arise to transport him. My one boy, who is now almost 9, and had CCL surgeries and tumor removal off a leg, uses the portable steps to get up and down into my bed. These are all great resources. I’m Pinning over on my “Bark About” board!
You’ve certainly had some challenges with your dogs, they’re lucky they have you. I find it comforting knowing how many aids there are available.
The only way to travel! I’m going to buy Reese a stroller and make her a sling. She doesn’t love walks, even though she will happily play fetch 24/7.
Thanks for providing all this detailed information, it’s really helpful! I’m pinning this for both my readers & myself when the time comes. Very important info!
Love & biscuits,
Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them
Thank you, I’m so glad the information is helpful.
Pet teps are a favourite in this hosuehold.
It’s great knowing how much freedom steps give our pets.
Great tools to help aging dogs and dogs with mobility problems. Our Lyla has bad knees, legs, muscles, etc so we will need to be getting some mobility assistance for her as she gets older I am sure.
There really is something for every pet and every need. I’m sure it’s comforting knowing how much choice you’ll have for Lyla.
Golden Daily Scoop
I think it’s so wonderful of the products they have for pets with mobility issues. This is a great group of finds, thanks for sharing!
I couldn’t agree more. Imagine how many pets would be stuck at home, if it weren’t for mobility aids.
Such a great list of aids to help with mobility issues with dogs.
It makes me happy to see so many ways we can improve our pet’s lives as they get older. My dogs are all middle aged so I’ll have to be looking into some of these things before I’m ready.
I agree with you Beth. It’s comforting to know that just because our pets are getting older, there are lots of ways we can help them keep living happy and satisfying lives.
Great post. It’s so important to help our dogs continue to LIVE life, even if their bodies aren’t being cooperative. Great ideas and tips for those dogs.
Thanks Tonya. I agree, mobility aids are a wonderful way to help our dogs stay active and maintain some of their independence.
Tenacious Little Terrier
I tried giving Mr. N some mussels but he just would not eat them. They sat in his crate for days. Going to try Glucosamine next.
You might have better luck sprinkling some of the powder on his food!
I’m so glad to see so many products to help mobility-challenged pets popping up! There are some great options listed here – and reasonably inexpensive too. I think that these will help more pets to get to live longer lives with their families.
Thanks Robin. I love knowing there are so many options, and we’ve used several of them in this house already. I don’t know what I would do without the stroller, or how Jack would have been able to recover from spinal surgery without a sling.
Gracie has dog boots. She does not like walking on certain surfaces so the boots help her!
That’s great, so glad to hear what a difference they’re making for her.
I am definitely going to need to get my pup some boots this year, as she had developed “tender foot” at the ripe age of 8. When she cant keep up on foot, I will invest in a stroller!
Two fantastic products you can’t go wrong with.
This is a great list, and info to go with it!
Thank you Jenna.