Help for Mobility-Disabled Dogs

by DFS-Pet-Blog on June 10, 2011

 A dog with Degenerative Myelopathy gets along very well with the aid of his cart.

A dog with Degenerative Myelopathy gets along very well with the aid of his cart.

**Guest post from Ellen B.**

There are many stories of dogs who cope amazingly well with a physical disability. A recent post by Janet described a “specially-abled” dog and cat whose personalities outshine any physical deficit.

Amber, one of our blog visitors (who I thank for inspiring this post), left a comment about how the Quado bone is a great chew toy for her mobility-impaired dog. I began to think about other supplies that are accommodating for dogs that have a mobility disability such as arthritis, partial paralysis or an amputated leg. What could help a disabled dog participate in normal activities? Here’s what I found:

Pet Supplies to Aid Mobility-Disabled Dogs


  • Quado Dog Bone
    As Amber explained, Quado Bones “are especially good for mobility-impaired dogs who have a hard time holding onto regular bones to chew them. They provide a much needed enrichment activity to our geriatric dog with advanced arthritis. She’s always loved chewing but just can’t hold onto regular bones. A bone that stands on its own? Brilliant!” (Thank you to Amber and her 16-year-old dog, Pepper, for their much-appreciated info!)

dog stairsdog ramp

  • Ramps & Stairs
    Dog stairs and pet ramps are helpful aids for older pets or dogs with arthritis or hip problems. They’re very useful to help dogs get in and out of vehicles, for using stairs such as on a deck, and even for getting on and off sofas. Ramps and stairs ease life for you AND your pet!
  • Drs. Foster & Smith Product ComfortLift Carrier
    Linda M., a Drs. Foster & Smith customer, shared this story of her experience with this product:ComfortLift for dogs

    “Our 11 year old Mastiff, Kody, has had a minor stroke and now has difficulty getting up from a sitting or laying position. When he slips and his legs go out from under him, it’s impossible for him to get up on his own. The Comfort Lift Carrier has made Kody’s life so much better and has been a life saver on our backs. Because of the Comfort Lift Carrier, he is less stressed and is much happier. We highly recommend this product for any older dog with this type of problem or one that has had surgery.”

  • Elevated Food & Water Bowls
    Elevated food and water bowls help ease back, neck, and other arthritic issues for dogs. Elevated bowls also don’t slide or tip over as easily as other bowls. To give you personal experience, I’m going to quote Daphne, a Drs. Foster & Smith customer who wrote the following product review about the Bridgeport Stoneware Feeders:Elevated Feeder

    “I bought this as a Christmas gift for my 13 year old collie and I’m so glad that I did! I noticed that for the longest time her legs would be shaking every time she had water and food so I bought the double in medium. Now she seems to eat just fine! I’m beyond satisfied with this purchase and I’m sure she is too since she no longer has to strain herself to eat. I would recommend this product to anyone, especially owners of older dogs.”

Bike TrailerPet Stroller

This MUST-SEE VIDEO illustrates how much compassion a pet owner can have on their challenged pet and their willingness to help that animal achieve the best quality of life under the circumstance.

Do you have a “specially-abled” dog? Please leave a comment with any tips you have to help accommodate your dog.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosemary June 10, 2011 at 8:37 am

Although I no longer have Gin (she went to Doggie Heaven over eight years ago) I do have a tip. As she got older and developed arthritis, she had trouble walking and getting up off of our hardwood floors. The solution was a network of rugs (with non-slip backing) throughout the house, giving her traction. The rugs ran from the back door to the living room and our bedroom, which was where she mainly stayed. I also had a rug for her to stand on as she ate. The only downside was that I had to vaccum them, and I hate vaccuming, which is why we have wood floors in the first place.

Sherri O. June 10, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Almost two years ago, I adopted a then 9-month old yellow lab, who was a recent rear leg amputee due, as I was told, to a car accident. He adapted very well, but they key, I knew was keeping his stregth up in his remaining rear leg. About a year ago I started taking him swimming regularly at a facility that specializes in canine hydrotherapy. It has been great for him – low impact and strength building at the same time. They see a lot of dogs there with mobility issues, and the swimming has truly helped so many of these dogs. I wholeheartedly recommend swimming for any dog with mobility issues.

Victor Dailan June 12, 2011 at 11:13 pm

These are some great tips for disabled dogs. Thanks for breaking it down into bullet points that I can understand. I have a little hurt doggy that can’t jump onto our couch and using a dog stairs helps her get back on the couch. Thanks for the great tips!

Ellen B. June 13, 2011 at 8:24 am

Rosemary, Sherri and Victor – thank you all so much for sharing your tips. I sure hope people who are faced with caring for a disabled dog find this page, as your tips from experience are priceless. I also want to say kudos to you for all for finding ways to help your dog adapt – you all inspire me.


Charlie September 1, 2011 at 11:33 am

Hi there, i was wondering if you are able to give me a few websites, of tips for a dog who has just collapsed and what we are able to do. His name is Biscuit (8 years old) and we dont have a clue what to do weather to go to the vets and see what they say or if we could do anything at home to help at all. So if anyone has got any good advise that they would like to share, please say something. Thank You very much. 🙂

Holly R. Nash, DVM. MS September 1, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Charlie: If your dog just collapsed, I would get him in to your veterinarian right away. Some of the diseases that can cause collapse are very time-dependent, meaning treatment needs to be started right away to be successful. If it is a disc problem, for example, a few hours can make a big difference on whether the dog recovers or not.Good luck.

Nayla's mommy February 5, 2012 at 3:37 pm

i Just got a Wonderful dog names Nayla 🙂 for my 3 yr old son, she protects him like he was her pup, and has taken up with me great, follows me everywhere. her owners were military and are getting stationed in Italy. So I just fell in Love with her as well as my son and rest of the family.
Well, Nayla was norn with a birth defect her right front leg curls up wo her chest, she can not walk on it. she walks on 3 legs. Her left leg is huge muscle huge from all the front pressure on it over the last year (she is one) we have alot of concerns about maybe a doggy wheelchair and her life span we are worried she wont live long. when born her vet only gave her a week to live. well shes a year now! she gets around fine, hops alot..anything we can do. we are on a fixed income, any advise would be great 🙂 thanks.

Holly Nash, DVM February 6, 2012 at 10:02 am

Congratulations on your new dog. Sounds like Nayla has a very loving family. There are several things you can do to help Nayla. First, make sure she is a normal weight, or even a little on the thin side. If she becomes overweight, it will make it so much harder to get around on three legs. To help determine if she is a normal weight, go to, which discusses body condition scoring. She should probably be kept at a “4”. Second, make sure she always has good footing. Ice outside or slippery floors would be especially dangerous for her. Use non-slip rugs in the house to help her get around. Third, keep her nails well trimmed – we wouldn’t want them to catch on anything. Remember short walks are going to be easier for Nayla than longer ones. Allow her to go at her own pace. Some dogs like Nayla find a faster pace is easier than a slow one. Make sure she has a comfortable bed that provides lots of support, and that is not difficult for her to get onto or off of. Finally, and it sound like you’re doing this already, give her lots of love! Good luck.

Naylas mommy February 8, 2012 at 1:47 pm

so there is no need for a doggy wheel chair since she gets along just fine on 3 legs, i just thought i may help takes some pressure off of her other leg

Holly Nash, DVM February 8, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Without seeing Nayla and observing how she gets around, it would not be possible for me to make a recommendation on whether she should have a dog cart or not. So much depends on her weight, the health of the other joints, how much exercise she gets, etc. I would recommend consulting with your own veterinarian on a regular basis regarding this. He or she is best able to make that determination. Even if Nayla does not need one now does not mean she wouldn’t need one at a later date, so regular assessments are necessary. I’ve seen dogs with three legs get around fine for years, and others need assistance early on (especially larger breeds). Best wishes!

Cindy Warlick March 3, 2012 at 9:48 am

Am looking for a front harness/stroller for my arthritic sheltie whose front legs are becoming so stiff. Anyone see anything like this? Would deeply appreciate your direction.

Ellen B. March 14, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Cindy, I’m not sure if they have exactly what you are looking for, but you could take a look at

Johnna Lombardo March 16, 2012 at 9:33 pm

I am looking for a set of backwheels for my 8 year old Shepard Collie mix. He’s 90 pounds might have the dog version of Lou Gehrigs disease. I’m still waiting on test results but that seems to be his problem. Any place that you know of where I might be able to purchase a cart for him? Thanks.

Emily Yaffe October 3, 2012 at 8:59 pm

I have a 16 yr old yorkie, blind and nearly deaf… she sleeps more in the day than the night and she keeps me up whining and barking… My vet has recommended Zanex &/or valium. they do not let her sleep…. I really need to get some sleep…. after a year!!
I cannot be with her all the day to try and keep her more awake… Suggestions please!!
She is pretty demanding for me.. Emily

Violet February 19, 2013 at 10:13 am

Has anyone dealt with degenerative myolapathy?? My seven year old boxer apparently has this and it is breaking my heart. Any suggestions on treatments?

robert burden March 11, 2013 at 7:56 pm

we have 6 addorable minature dobermans that range from lrg. to tiny.but we have a wonderful min.doberman that was born with 2 good back legs but one right leg that is deformed and a nub for the left paw.he walks upright on his back legs but also walks on all three legs,but can see that he is in pain.his name is nubbers and we love him so much.the problem is my spouse and i are both disabled and only recieve $1115.a mo and we are barely making it with mortgage and my dr.visits and meds as i have no ins. we were wanting to know where to help this little guy.we cannot think of getting rid of him but we don’t want him in pain and to get out with the others.i reckon the older he gets by the weight is the problem.does anyone know of where i can get help.i really appreciate any advice

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