Custom- built vs Mass- Produced Dog Wheelchairs, WalkinWheels, Best Friends Mobility

Eddie’s Wheels are shipped to you fully assembled.

Walkin Wheels comes in a small box for you to assemble, using their 21 page booklet.

 

As caregivers for disabled dogs ourselves, we know how our customers  feel when faced with a dog that suddenly can no longer walk on its own.   We understand the emotional stress of watching your pet drag itself across the floor.  We know how difficult it is to carry the back end of a large dog who still wants some independence  and privacy around toileting issues.  We’ve been there and have been doing this – taking care of disabled dogs – for over 20 years.

We were not surprised to see the appearance of WalkinWheels on the marketplace. Handicapped Pets  had been selling custom carts by other manufacturers for years.   A careful reading of their evaluation of the problems inherent in dog wheelchairs shows that the problems they’ve solved are the ones involved in marketing dog wheelchairs.  Yes, you can get it fast, and you don’t need to measure your dog.  And the refund policy takes some of the risk out of ordering a cart.   But how does the cart itself measure up to our custom-built products?  Here’s a short video to give you a sense of the “feel” of each cart.

  • Walkin Wheels are 20%  heavier  and wider at the wheelbase than our carts.  The weight of the cart  is above of the dog, whereas the weight of our carts is borne on the wheels.  We use four different diameters of aluminum (from 1/4″ , 5/16″, 3/8″ and 1/2″)  and build each cart with the lightest possible size rod with consideration for the weight and physical limitations  of the dog,  in order to keep the cart light and nimble.
  • Ease of use: Walkin Wheels requires you to first put the front harness on the dog, and then lift the dog into the cart and clip the siderails to the front harness.  Eddie’s Wheels are all-in-one : open the cart, lift the dog into the saddle, close and pin the yoke closed and buckle the chest strap.
  • Their saddle consists of  webbing bound in closed cell foam, joined in the middle by a neoprene pad.  The saddle moves with the dog’s motions,  which can cause decubital ulcers.  The neoprene pad can absorb urine and cause urine scald on your pet’s delicate groin tissues.  Our welded, padded, custom-built to your dog’s measurements saddle cannot be duplicated -  and it’s this feature that separates us from all over canine carts.  This saddle was specifically developed to solve the inherent problems of suspending dogs on the soft tissue of the groin by  supporting them properly on their pelvic floor.   Our saddle is sanitary and stable, and feels like a bicycle seat for the dog.  Soft supple saddles feel like a climbing harness, not something you want to take for a long walk – if your pet able to use its legs at all, it will chafe and rub.
  • Fast, no measuring – but when the cart arrives in a box (from China) – who gets to put it together?  You do!  There’s a 20 page instructional booklet that comes with kit.  Need help  – watch the video! Eddie’s Wheels are shipped fully assembled to your pet’s measurements.  Simple fine-tuning adjustments are easily accomplished with an allen wrench, which we provide.
  • Upgrades – dog with degenerative myelopathy can be expected to get weaker as the disease progresses into the core muscles and forelimbs.  There is NO provision for this in the WalkinWheel design – however, all Eddie’s Wheels carts can be upgraded, counterbalanced and fitted with detachable front wheels as dog’s strength levels change.  We even make a variable axle so that you can change the balance of the cart yourself without having to come back to us for upgrades.
  • Customer Service: Eddie’s Wheels owns 3 disabled dogs who live on the premises who use our carts, and on a given week we see at least half a dozen clients for measurements and fittings.  Our crew knows how to use carts as well as how to build and sell them.  We’ve found that there is usually a simple reason why a dog would refuse to budge in a cart – and we’ll problem solve with our clients to ensure success.  No ONE at Handicapped Pets lives with a disabled animal full-time or takes care of a disabled pet in the course of their work day.  Furthermore, they are not in the business of providing personal consultations and do not encourage customers to visit their offices in New Hampshire .
  • Veterinarian Approved: WalkinWheels offer an economic incentive to vets by allowing them to buy them wholesale and make a large profit on each sale.  Even so, Eddie’s Wheels is the acknowledged by the leading canine rehab veterinarians, and veterinary schools  as the best product on the market.
  • Recyclability: Want to recycle your cart after your pet passes on?  We’ll pay for return shipping to us and use the sales of recycled carts to provide canine wheelchairs to those with limited means or animals living in shelters and rescues.  We routinely refit used carts for other dogs of similar size and breed, as evidenced by the videos of try-ons  at our facilities in Shelburne Falls.
  • Value for your money: WalkinWheels are available at wholesale prices to re-sellers.    They also offer kickbacks to veterinarians who send their clients to them.  Eddie’s Wheels carts are sold directly to the end user – that means that our prices are not marked up for middlemen to make a profit.  WalkinWheels carts are not much less expensive than Eddie’s Wheels -  which means that you’re paying for marketing, advertising and promotion – not quality.
  • Made in China or made in America - we’re proud of the fact that we manufacture every cart on the premises here in Massachusetts.  We pay our employees a living wage with benefits – and yes, it means that we’re not getting rich building dog wheelchairs.
  • Dog Wheelchairs Center (AKA Best Friends Mobility) is also selling a cut-rate massproduced dog wheelchair that is manufactured in China. Call their customer service number and ask questions – the person who answers the phone for “Sylvan Enterprises”, a e-bay marketing company that also sells body armor and dermabrasion kits,  will forward your questions to someone who may or may not call you back.  No one at this company has ever lived with or cared for a dog in a wheelchair.  This company was using photos of dogs in Eddie’s Wheels carts on their masthead until I informed that legal action would be taken against them for copyright infringement.
  • Dog  Approved! We hear from folks every day who have tried WalkinWheels and Best Friends Mobility and found that their dogs don’t like them.  Here’s review we received over a year ago from someone who was given a WalkinWheel cart – part of their marketing campaign consisted of donating wheelchairs to vet schools.http://eddieswhe

    Barney loves everything about his Eddie’s Wheels -ease of use, comfort, lightness, and compactness to his body.

    els.com/testimonials/shelby/

Barney’s chest harness slipped down, making the cart unlevel. The struts extend 6 inches over his head, making it impossible for him to roll under the coffee table in the WalkinWheels.

13 Responses to Custom- built vs Mass- Produced Dog Wheelchairs, WalkinWheels, Best Friends Mobility

  1. Kim March 6, 2011 at 1:00 am #

    We visited Leslie at Eddie’s Wheels this morning (3/5) with our 5 year old Bailey who has IVDD and paralyzed in the back. After measurements and a quick demo set up from a donated kart that was close to Bailey’s measurements – right after being fastened in and note this kart was not his exact measurements, Bailey took right off walking again. Bailey was once Bailey again.. Happy as can be.. After trying a WalkinWheel kart it was good to see him back on his feet again walking around and it was worth the two hour drive there and back. The WalkinWheel cart we felt it was not as sturdy as Eddie’s wheels. Eddie’s Cart it is much easier to put Bailey into. I didn’t have to struggle to put the harness clips on the sides..Eddies’ Cart was less wobbly and more lightweight and Bailey I am sure felt more confident in Eddie’s cart as it made no noise and there was not harness and nothing around his neck or constricting his front legs. I tell you, my husband and I thought it was a total eye opener going to Eddie’s, we really didn’t think he would ‘take’ to these carts as he didn’t with the competitors..But as soon as Leslie put him in, he walked right to us!! What a feeling for him and us! Thank you so much Eddies Cart for taking the time for everyone’s precious babies. I’m counting the days for Bailey’s cart.

    • Elise and Magic Penhalagan June 12, 2012 at 6:26 am #

      I have to hang my head in humiliation and admit to having purchased a Best friends Mobility chair for my dog, Magic. I am not impressed with the customer service, twice I’ve had to contact the company and twice I’ve been passed on to a very nice man in China who, although I’m sure is trying his very best, is failing to grasp the questions I’m putting to him.
      (Interestingly the seller in the UK that I purchased the chair from and BFM in the US ,both forwarded my queries to Mr Yu in China..)

      The harness is OK but will not fit my dog properly him being on the lower scale of the Medium fits 40lbs to 60lbs, he’s 43lbs but a Lab/Greyhound cross we think. The attachment to the cart is very fiddly comprising of the sort of clasp you get on a rucksack strap.

      I had great difficulty tightening the wheel struts with the “thumb screw” I just couldn’t get it tight enough, I ended up using a pair of pliers with a piece of neoprene to protect the screw.

      The manual’s cover shows a dog with the leg straps underneath the cart, the instructions inside show it on top. There is a space to record the measurements of your dog but no instructions as to how to apply them to fitting the cart.

      The “instructional video on youtube ” link I was sent actually just shows a small dog going for it’s first walk in a chair. Nothing helpful!

      So I am ready to send this back :(

      • leslie June 20, 2012 at 10:05 am #

        Thanks for writing this useful bit of information. I’ve often wondered what level of customer service Best Friends offered, since when you call it’s always a Newby Enterprises that answers the phone and no one there seems to know anything. Now he’s marketing heavily to vets and the holistic vet community……

  2. Kim March 6, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

    We visited Leslie on sat March 5th for a fitting for our Bailey, a 5 yo cocker spaniel with IVDD. We have previously used the Walk N Wheels with no success. It was very cumbersome for Bailey around the chest and front leg area that made him feel constricted to walk, and it made alot of noise which distracted him from trying to walk. He didn’t even walk in the local competitors chair. We finally tried Eddie’s Wheel and went in thinking this is not going to work from our previous experience. Well, totally opposite, we tried on a cart that would be close to Bailey’s specs , leslie closed the yoke on Bailey and he was walking.. My husband and I were in AWE.. Bailey looked so free and happy! No treats were needed to entice him to walk..He didn’t walk backwards..he walked foward and it was great! Eddie’s wheels carts are lightweight and solid built with no noise to distract bailey. Needless to say, we ordered him his cart and can’t wait for it to be built for him. It was well worth the two hour drive there and the two hour drive home. Thank you Eddies Wheels for taking care of our baby to give his indepence back. Truly a winner there!!!

  3. Barbara Techel March 8, 2011 at 9:18 pm #

    Thank you for the wonderful article on comparison- I think Eddie’s Wheels carts are the best. When dealing with a spinal issue you want to ensure the best possible care for your pets back, and Eddie’s Wheels does just that… not only that, Eddie’s Wheels is a very compassionate company who I believe truly cares about the welfare of animals.
    When I had to make the tough decision of putting my Frankie in a wheelchair, Eddie’s Wheels was so helpful and understanding. I’m so grateful to all of you and for my cart for my Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Dog.
    We will continue to spread the word about your good work… and say a huge thank you once again for all you do!!

    Your friends,
    Barbara & Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Dog

  4. Laurie Wood April 21, 2011 at 2:43 am #

    How do I go about ordering one of these for my small breed dog? Can I send you the measurements and have it shipped, and if so, what price am I looking at? Thanks

  5. leslie April 27, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

    Just click on “order a cart” at the top of this page and follow the directions about taking measurements. You’re looking at a price between $300 and $400 depending on your dog’s size and weight.

  6. Leslie Grinnell May 16, 2011 at 8:19 pm #

    We just received a donation of a WalkinWheels purchased in November 2009, never used, as the dog was unable to carry the weight of the cart on its front legs. There is nothing in this cart’s design to compensate for weakness in the forelimbs. It’s unfortunate that the owners did not “do their homework” and find us before the dog was euthanized.

  7. Rich Bergins August 5, 2011 at 10:41 pm #

    Excellent comparison article, and great explanation of how Eddie’s Wheels’ saddles fit and work so well.

    Most importantly, I support Eddie’s Wheels being designed and built in the USA.

    Keep up the good work!

  8. Cheryl Turner August 17, 2011 at 7:04 pm #

    I am a medical professional. I am the proud mom to an 11 yo dachshund who has had spinal surgery. I am also the wife of a rehab professional that builds custom chairs for humans. There is an unbelievable difference between ‘custom’ and mass produced. For example…the custom chair Christopher Reeves used versus the ‘HoverRound’ chairs you see the elderly population in. How they fit, how they are manufacured, how they are serviced, how they are assembled and the quality. And most importantly if you get the correct equipment at all ! I wouldnt get a mass produced chair for my family member and my dachshund is my family!

  9. Chris January 1, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

    Walkin Wheels is just another product that HandicappedPets.com copied and claim it as their own. They have been copying other companies products for years. I would not buy anything from them.

  10. leslie January 6, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

    We tried another place looking for help for our newly paralyzed Bernese Mt dog. He needed a quad-cart. The place in NH sold us a cart with 2 wheels, they insisted we not bring our dog and that it would fit him. We also needed help to measure him, they’d “do not do that either”. We were told in fact, “We don’t deal in dogs just carts.” Geeze that should have tipped us off but we were desperate and new at this. We took the cart home for 2 hours like they said t do to “try” it on him.. 15 minutes later we knew it wouldn’t work and we brought it right back. They told us when we arrived that they “consider it USED because it left our building.” HUH?? (we did what they told us to do). They had even insisted we leave our dog home . They did take the cart back but they also kept over 100.00. Beware of that place in NH. We were so very lucky to find Eddies!! After being burned from the previous place we were afraid to try again but we found EDDIES!! Everyone is wonderful, they had us bring Louie measured him, fitted him to a cart and in 2 weeks we went back and Louie had a fitting. All adjustments were made while we waited. In fact the cart met his needs. They care about your dog and his needs!! Even though Louie died from cancer months later he had been comfortable and happy in his quad-cart that fit him like a glove!. Thanks a million times over Eddies!!!!!! It was our lucky day when we found you. We will never forget you!
    Celeste (posted on our Facebook page)

  11. Dennis November 12, 2012 at 9:55 am #

    Laurie and I took a trip out there on Saturday with Max. I told Laurie to give a call Saturday morning to see if Max could get fitted, because we felt alittle more comfortable having the professional do it. They squeezed us in, and I have to say it was a great experiance all around. They were very helpfull, and gave us alot of information. But the best part was when we put max in a sample cart and as soon as he was hooked in, he looked at us and started walking again. It was amazing to see the look on his face when he realized things would be better again for him. He walked ALL over the place, and he wasnt depressed anymore. It really put me and Laurie as ease, realizing that it is money well spent, and max someday will be out and about again.

    Thank you very much

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