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.