Recently members of the Dog Wheelchair LIFE Group on Facebook were asked this question, “What products make a disabled dog’s life better?”
They shared a long list of items they use every day to keep their pet safe and healthy and to simplify life.
Most pet owners understand the role a big-ticket item, like a dog wheelchair, plays in their animal’s life, but there are dozens of other products that are important too. These are the items pet parents said they couldn’t live without.
If you’re just starting your journey with a paraplegic pup, I think you’ll find this list indispensable.
You can read it over or click on the link below to download a PDF version.
Note: Some of the links below are affiliate links. That means that I may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase.
Products that make a disabled dog’s life better
Answered by real-life pet parents of paralyzed dogs
Click on any highlighted item to see more details.
Steps – Dogs with spine problems should never jump on or off high places, like furniture or beds. Portable dog steps can stop this. Pet mom Linda recommends steps made from high density foam for Logan, her Papillon. Steps come in lots of sizes and materials.
Ramps– Like steps, dog ramps prevent animals with limited mobility from jumping. Dog ramps are available for indoor use and assisting dogs in and out of vehicles. Add traction strips to keep dogs from slipping.
Carpet Tiles and Yoga Mats – Slipping on slick surfaces is a big problem, but members of our group found an easy and inexpensive solution with carpet tiles and yoga mats. Both give extra traction for dogs with hind end weakness.
Pack ‘N Play – These soft sided play pens for human babies are wildly popular for paralyzed dogs. Pet owners use them to protect a dog while they’re on crate rest and to keep dogs safe while they sleep or while you’re away. One pet parent keeps a Pack ‘N Play by her bed so her dog can sleep close, without injuring himself. Pack ‘N Plays are easy to clean and easy to move around.
Waterproof Blankets – Beautiful plush throws and blankets recently hit the market and pet parents love them. They’re pretty enough to drape over any piece of furniture. Dogs enjoy cuddling in them and they blankets are completely washable if your pet leaks urine or has an accident.
Beds – Orthopedic dog beds from Orvis rank high on the list of products that make life better along with another type of bed called, elevated cots. Two pet moms from our group, Heather and Debra, both use these cots because they’re easy for dogs with mobility problems to get in and out. The raised cots are also made of mesh, so urine can pass through them. Add a pee pad underneath for easy clean up. Pet mom Debra places her dog’s cart inside a dog crate so her pup can’t fall off.
Waterproof Beds – Most dog bed manufacturers now offer waterproof covers and liners for incontinent pets. Just remove the cover or interior liner and toss it into the wash so it stays clean and fresh.
Support Harness – Many of our members highly recommend adding a support harness to daily life. These are great aids to assist large dogs move around and helpful for owners who can’t bend down to pick up a small dog. The 3 favorite brands are: Help ‘Em Up, Walkabout Harnesses and Gingerlead.
More products pet owners can’t live without
Raised Food and Water Bowls – Whether your dog is in a wheelchair or scoots on the floor, bending down to eat or drink from a standard bowl is hard when you’re disabled. Plus, many forms of paralysis stem from a dog’s neck so putting pressure on the area while they eat is an absolute NO. Raised bowls fix all of that. They sit on a stand or pedestal so dogs can eat from an upright position. A new product called Fluff Trough allows a dog to pull their cart right into the eating area.
Pee Pads, Diapers, Male Belly Bands and Baby Wipes –These are products every pet parent should have in the house and in the car. Pee pads can provide protection, everywhere your dog likes to lie down. Unscented baby wipes make for easy clean ups for your home and to wipe down your dog. Dog diapers and belly bands are essential for accidents and leakage. One pet owner shared her unique use for a diaper. She uses it to cover her dog’s hind end when he scoots on the floor. No more rug burns for that pup.
Drag bags – Another way people keep their dogs dry and their skin protected is with a drag bag. Dogs slip inside and can happily scoot all over without injuring themselves. A clever waterproof drag bag from Wonky Wear separates the bottom of the bag into legs to protect your dog’s hind limbs.
Strollers – Some dogs don’t like a wheelchair or their health doesn’t allow them to be in one. When that happens, a dog stroller or trailer can be a lifesaver.
Back Brace – One of our group members said Lil Back Bracer is her favorite product. It gives stability to the spine of a wobbly walker. (Talk with your vet before using a brace on your dog.)
Duct tape (Duck tape) – You’d be surprised about all the uses for this product. Duct tape can keep diapers in place, wrap over gauze to protect a dog’s limbs or used to protect delicate paws from being dragged over uneven surfaces. It’s a product to always have on hand.
Bath Supplies – Pet mom Amy knows having a paraplegic dog means there will be lots of baths. Dogs get dirty running in their wheels, scooting on the floor and from potty accidents. Pet Potion products are her favorites for quick clean ups.
Enrichment Toys – Keeping your pup engaged in normal dog activities is important. Enrichment toys like dog treat puzzles or snuffle mats allow a dog to play even when they can’t run around.
Ice cubes – Pet mom Michelle says her favorite product is an ice cube. She uses it to stimulate her dog, Phil, when he has to poop. Read more here before using this: Techniques to Manage Bowel Incontinence.
Yep yoga mats work well on my little guys stumps when he’s not in the chair. Thinking of getting rubber flooring as sick of ugly mats everywhere but it still seems a bit rough..
I Used pool noodles to make ramps.
Kristy, You’re a clever pet mom! It’s amazing how well the yoga mats work. I’m not sure about the rubber flooring although I know pet owners who use the connecting block form of rubber mats to make a floor for their dog. I’d love to see a photo of your pool noodle ramp! -Sharon