7 Products to Help Senior or Disabled Dogs Get Back on Their Paws

4. Beds. Everyone needs a comfortable bed but dogs with mobility issues need them even more than others do. A firm, low-profile orthopedically supportive sponge of a mattress is what’s typically best. Alternatively, cot styles will work (these elevated beds are best for those who either like to sit atop high things or chew everything else), as will many of the high-tech thermoregulating kinds.

5. Weight management tools. Excess poundage impedes mobility for obvious reasons. Moreover, it’s painfully disabling! So painful, in fact, that one study found that weight loss alone could significantly relieve the signs of lameness in dogs with hip osteoarthritis. And when you consider that over 50% of dogs and cats in the U.S. are overweight or obese, any tool that helps your dog lean down is a welcome thing when it comes to improving her function.

  • Life vests like RuffWear’s K-9 Float Coat will help him get the best kind of exercise there is for a dog with diminished limb function — swimming! — and stay cool, to boot!
  • Walking still works wonders. So why not try a treadmill? I’ve not yet tried them all out, so I’m far from recommending any one brand, but the DogTread’s version demonstrates the kind of functionality that’s out there.
  • Still need help getting the weight down? You can always try The Fat Dog Diet, the iPhone app I developed for this purpose.

6. Dog strollers. Disabled dogs need to get out too. Without some social interaction and healthy environmental stimulation, plenty of dogs will continue their decline. So while it may sound silly, getting your dog (even a big one!) into a stroller built just for him… really isn’t. Here are a couple of examples:

7. Canine carts (aka “doggy wheelchairs”). When your dog’s decline has reached the point where her hind limb function is insufficient to allow her to walk at all, it might be time to consider these devices:

  • The K9 Cart is the original “doggie wheelchair,” and it’s the one Vincent uses when we go on longer strolls. (I don’t bring it out often since I don’t want him to rely on it for regular use.)
  • K-9 Cart East offers different styles.
  • Walkin’ Wheels: Another brand I may try someday.

So whether your dog suffers from something mild-ish and temporary or progressive and permanent, consider these above approaches. But, as always, ask your veterinarian for her opinion too!

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