Detachable "Training Wheels" Makes Dog Wheelchairs an Instant 4 Wheel Cart


We were delighted to see how the addition of detachable front “training wheels” is helping Journey to continue to take long walks in her cart.  Journey has hip dysplasia and disc disease.  She’s had a counterbalanced cart for over a year – this cart completely supports her rear and takes about 35% of her own body weight off her front legs.  Even so, lately Journey developed a limp in her front legs and so her owner decided to try the addition of front wheels to see if that helped.

We don’t usually think of these wheels as being for dirt roads and woods, but Journey shows it can be done.  We call them “training wheels” because they attach to the cart and don’t have to be used all the time.   Training wheels can be added to any cart. They prevent dogs who are weak in the front legs from falling down.  They can be used to stand dogs up to eat from an elevated food dish, so that they don’t have to work hard when they’re eating.    Dogs with balance problems, such as cerebellar hypoplasia, can walk  in carts with training wheels.  Dogs in the last stages of degenerative myelopathy will have a few more months of mobility in their carts with the addition of training wheels.  We’ve used training wheels to help rehabilitate animals who’ve had catastrophic injuries from which they will heal, but need additional support until their front legs regain strength, such as Vee, the goat.(see featured pets).

Training wheels are an inexpensive alternative to a full quad cart.  They are not designed to fully support the whole weight of a dog’s body, as our full quad carts do.  But they have an important place in providing dogs with front leg deficits the means to maintain a good quality of life.


2 Responses to Detachable "Training Wheels" Makes Dog Wheelchairs an Instant 4 Wheel Cart

  1. MaryBeth Teicholz February 23, 2011 at 10:01 pm #

    Hi Leslie, thanks for the article. Sometimes I think I may just be imagining it, but Clancy maaaayyy be starting to have the slightest difficulties with his front legs. I like to keep one step ahead of the DM and was glad to see this video/article about the training wheels. I have two questions about them. First, can they be cut down separate for each side so that the frame doesn’t have to be so bulky above the yoke? Also, Sarah (of Journey and Sarah) mentioned that she wished the training wheels would swivel for easier maneuverability. Any chance you can make the training wheels with castor-type wheels?

    Thanks as always!
    MaryBeth and Clancy

  2. leslie February 24, 2011 at 6:12 pm #

    HI Marybeth,
    The reason for the U shape is to provide structural stability – it’s a basic law of phsyics that you need 3 points of contact to have a stable structure. Without the overhead U, the struts would splay out (like Walkinwheels do) with the weight of the dog pushing down. An advantage to the overhead U is that you can easily assist very weak dogs. The reason we don’t use castors is that castors are very heavy, and as you can see, Journey has no problem steering and getting where she wants to do. The training wheels are so light that the dog just lifts them and pivots to where he wants to go.

Leave a Reply

Current month ye@r day *