Eddie Grinnell, the founder and designer of Eddie’s Wheels carts, is mechanical engineer by trade, so when he was faced with the prospect of designing a wheelchair for his own paralyzed Doberman, he looked at the skeleton of a dog to create a cart that would support the dog on its bones.
Our vets had warned us that the most challenging part of caring for a paralyzed dog in a wheelchair was that most dogs developed pressure sores and decubital ulcers from the carts that were available 21 years ago from the K9 Cart Company. Their design then, as now, consisted of leg loops that suspended the dog by the soft tissues of the groin. This is a design that has been copied by most dog wheelchair manufacturers as it is relatively easy to do without having to have sophisticated manufacturing process, and can be done using parts available through hardware stores and supply houses.
Eddie had a machine shop at his disposal and was a skilled welder as well. He looked at a canine skeleton and decided that the only way to eliminate the risk of pressure sores and chafing was to create a welded, padded saddle that would support the dog between the legs on its pelvic floor. The saddle feels like bicycle seat to the dog, and the shape of the saddle mirrors the size and shape of the dog’s legs and pelvis. After 16 years in business, Eddie has designed over 1900 different saddles based on the dimensions of individual dogs. Each one is handmade – solid aluminum rod (in 4 diameters based on the size of your dog) is shaped to your pet’s width and leg dimensions, and welded to the frame of the cart. Closed cell foam padding is glued to saddle so that it does not roll and move with your pet’s leg movements, providing a cushy support under your dog’s pelvic bones . The foam padding is sanitary and the saddle is designed so that no urine or waste lands on the saddle area.
Having personally lived with three disabled dogs over the past 20 years who varied in size from 80 lbs to 12 lbs, and all of whom were smooth-coated dogs with virtually no hair in the groin area, we can personally attest to the fact that we’ve had no skin issues, and chafing despite all the dogs having been female and incontinent. In fact, the only time we hear of skin issues with our clients is when dogs post in the saddle, flexing their legs against stirrups as they walk – and in these cases, we recommend that owners allow dogs to use the cart as walkers and wearing booties if necessary.