2001-Tue Jan 17 10:22:14 MST 2017
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Impaired mobility is a common condition in
dogs. Sometimes it is due to an illness or injury, such as a slipped disc or healing fracture. Other times your veterinarian puts the kibosh on exercise following surgery or to improve the chances of a successful outcome, as in the case of
heartworm disease treatment. But hanging out in a crate for six weeks is not any dog’s idea of a good time.
For dogs with impaired mobility, finding the right set of wheels for getting around town — for fun
if the doctor allows it or to necessary veterinary appointments — can require some creativity and persistence. One common solution comes from our childhood.
The wagons our mothers used to take us to the post office or playground — or that we now use to pull our kids or grandkids around — can be repurposed for your mobility-impaired dog. If you have a traditional low-sided wagon, you may need an assistant for your wagon trips to ensure your dog does not jump or fall out. Some of the newer models have taller, removable sides that can help to keep your
dog in the wagon. One version of the
little red wagon is outfitted with a canopy that is perfect if you live somewhere sunny or if you have a dog who is susceptible to overheating. There are even all-terrain wagons with heavy-duty wheels that can smoothly navigate various ground surfaces.
Wagons are no longer necessarily little or red, and many offer features that make them useful for transporting a mobility-impaired dog. When hunting for a wagon, it goes without saying that you need one designed to carry the weight of your dog and also accommodate the length of your dog’s body. Since you are getting a wagon for a mobility-impaired dog, a flip-down tailgate for easy loading would be very practical. Ditto for an easily cleanable, removable floor. Because your dog is closer to the hot pavement than you are, keep in mind the ventilation of the wagon. Be sure it is adequate to help prevent overheating during the summer months. I would choose a wagon with inflatable, bicycle-style-tire wheels for a smooth ride if you intend to
travel on rough terrain. If storage space is limited, consider a
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