Many people think that a dog in a stroller is a step too far. But if you have a dog with mobility issues, including old age, they can work wonders for your dog’s mental health and save you a lot of stress and strain.
Imagine not being able to walk a few blocks to the local park… Driving is one way, but then you don’t get as much exercise and your dog enjoys less time in the outdoors.
This is where a stroller can come in. You can still enjoy a walk and your dog gets out without having to rev up the car. In addition, you will probably find that a dog in a stroller is an attention-getter – so be prepared for people to interact with you and your dog on a regular basis.
The Happy Trails Pet Stroller
The Dutch Dog Designs DoggyRide stroller
There are many stroller designs to choose from and most can easily be ordered online for convenience.
When should you consider adding a stroller to your dog’s regime?
- Does your dog pull up lame after only a few short blocks on a regular basis?
- Is the condition chronic – such as arthritis – meaning it isn’t curable?
- Are you managing an older injury, such as a cruciate repair or strain and surgery is not an option?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, a stroller should be considered.
Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand
The knee joint can be vulnerable to injury in dogs just as it is in people because the bones are attached through soft tissues known as ligaments. I received a call a couple of weeks ago from a friend saying, “Kathleen, I was at the dog park with Lea and she cried out and pulled up lame. She won’t bear weight on it. What do you think is wrong?”
Since I’m not a vet, I’m not qualified to diagnose injuries but this particular one sounded to me like a ‘classic’ cruciate ligament tear or rupture. My friend didn’t want to pay after-hours vet prices on the weekend if he didn’t have to but equally didn’t want to wait to see a vet if her condition was serious or life-threatening.
I suggested that he rest Lea, keep her warm, dry and comfortable and go to the vet if there was an immediate change in her condition. Otherwise, if she still wasn’t weight-bearing on Monday, then a visit to their regular vet was warranted.
As it turned out, Lea’s condition didn’t change over the weekend and a visit to the vet confirmed a cruciate ligament tear. She’s now resting in the hope that the tear will heal itself.
In many cases, cruciate ligament injuries are partial tears and surgery isn’t required. In others, full rupture of the ligament may mean that surgical repair is required. Some dogs still need ongoing support for their legs regardless of whether the ligament was repaired surgically or not. Leg braces that are made from a cast of the dog’s leg work well in many cases.
I work on dogs with these injuries in my canine massage practice. Laser therapy helps to relieve the pain of the injury and support healing. Passive range of motion exercises assist in keeping the leg joints mobile, but without pressure on the knee joint. And hydrotherapy works wonders when the dog is ready for this type of more strenuous (but non-weight bearing) exercise!
Here’s a great video, courtesy of the folks at Vetstoria and YouTube about the symptoms and diagnosis of cruciate ligament ruptures.