A Guide to Dog Orthopedic Aids

Dog orthopedic aids can provide several benefits to canines that are healthy and those that lack mobility. The proper aids can help make a dog's quality of life better.

Dog Beds

Top quality mattresses are not just available to pet owners for a great night of sleep. Orthopedic dog beds are sold on the market that have special supports and insulation that help dogs get up and in or out of bed. These beds have foam that resembles an egg carton, which helps distributes a dog's weight evenly, which in turn can take pressure off the joints.

Feeders and Water Bowls

Elevated feeders and water bowls can help a dog maintain good posture, or help one that has arthritis to access his food and water easier. Experts suggest placing several elevated water bowls around the home, so a dog with mobility issues can remain hydrated.

Lifts and Harnesses

Canine lifts are like handles dog owners can use to gently help a dog stand up, go up steps or walk. Lifts, or lift-carriers, come in models that can be placed around a dog's waist or hind end.

Experts recommend the use of a harness on a dog instead of a collar that's worn around the neck, especially on dogs that have arthritis or injuries in the back or neck. Harnesses place less pressure on these areas of the canine body, as it wraps around the chest, front legs and top of the shoulders.

Ramps and Steps

As seen in airplane sky-order magazines and other catalogs, ramps and steps can help a dog with mobility problems get in and out of a car, go up stairs and perform other tasks that would have required him to jump or take bigger steps. Ramps and steps are particularly helpful for dogs that have a limited range of motion.

Wheelchairs and Carts

Dogs that only have partial use of their limbs or are amputees can benefit greatly from the use of a wheelchair or cart. Dog wheelchairs typically come with just two wheels, and carts have four. The wheels on these mobility devices are able to go over many different types of terrain. Wheelchairs and carts come in a range of sizes for dogs, from extra small to extra large.

Dogs that are good candidates for a wheelchair are amputees, those with hip dysplasia or other joint problems, or those who have one set of limbs stronger that are than the other.

Dogs that would use a cart are those that have limited use of all four limbs. Dogs that can't bear weight on their legs, but still need to be mobile, are also good candidates. Many carts come with lifts to help a pet owner help get their dog in and out of it.

Several dog orthopedic aids are available to canines with mobility difficulties and disabilities. The use of these aids can help improve the quality of a dog’s life and allow him the freedoms he once had. Consult a veterinarian or canine physical therapist to see which orthopedic aid is most appropriate for your dog's needs.