Boogie Shoes: Walking Aids for Pets with Mobility Challenges

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If you’ve been following me on social media for a while, you know I’m known for my “boogie,” which is caused by a neurological disability called cerebellar hypoplasia. I love to run and play in the grass, and show off my “dancing” skills, but recently I have not been able to move as comfortably as I once did. And to be honest, I don’t enjoy sitting on the sidelines.

My humans began searching for a solution, and we tried a couple of wheelchairs first. But like all pets, my needs are unique. I only weigh 2 pounds, and the wheelchairs we tried were too heavy for my frame. Fortunately, we found Bionic Pets and their partner Dive Design, who use 3D printing technology to make mobility devices for pets.

Thanks to their state-of-the-art process, I was fitted with a custommade, featherweight device that allows me to walk and run and play safely. This investment into my health and well-being has been a game changer, truly allowing me to live my best life as I get older.

While this option worked for me, it might not work for your pet’s specific needs. So I’m sharing here a list of other walking and support aids we found during our research, in the hope that it can help you find the right tool to help your pet gain more independence.

Whether your pet requires a splint or a 3D-printed wheelchair, these products and the companies who build them are all focused on improving your pet’s quality of life. While many of these items do not require a prescription from your veterinarian, it is always a best practice to consult your pet’s doctor before purchasing any mobility aid.

BIONIC PETS uses state of the art 3D printing technology to create mobile devices and prosthetics for animals who are unable to stand or walk. bionicpets.org

CANINE ANGELS INC. created a hock and ankle brace and a wrist brace to support canines with weak or injured legs. The soft braces include a velcro closure for easy fitting. Hock Brace: controls and stabilizes unwanted movement for your dogs ankle. Helps your dog move easier and without pain. Wrist Wrap: stabilizes your dogs forearm and supports the muscles and tendons. canineangelsinc.com

GINGER LEAD is a small, family-owned business proudly manufacturing mobility aids for pets since 2008. Their premium, patented dog slings were created for a Golden Retriever named—you guessed it—Ginger, who was born with hip dysplasia. gingerlead.com

WALKIN’ WHEELS is a proven leader in pet mobility offering wheelchairs and a variety of support tools, including harnesses, lifts, splints, healing and safety aids, and other health accessories. handicappedpets.com

HELP ‘EM UP HARNESS is a unique full-body lifting device that allows owners to help their aging dogs remain active when arthritis, hip dysplasia, muscle loss, or surgical repair impairs mobility and physical strength for everyday functions—from getting up off the floor, up and down the stairs, or in and out of cars. helpemup.com

THERA-PAW invents, designs, develops, manufactures, and distributes splints, braces, soft orthoses, protective garments, mobility aids, and other rehabilitative and assistive products for animals with special needs. They offer a wide variety of supportive and painreducing products and accessories, including therapeutic wraps and boots. therapaw.com

PAWZ waterproof boots not only protect your pups’ paws from extreme heat (think hot pavements), snow, chemicals, and other bacteria, they also help slippery paws get a grip on hardwood and tile floors. pawzdogboots.com

ORTHO DOG adjustable dog leg braces offer stability and support, which helps decrease pain and inflammation when your dog is active. orthodog.com

Mobility aids range in price, manufacturing time, and materials, and some can be prohibitively expensive. There are various non-profit organizations that specifically focus on helping pets in need secure a device. Here are a few:

■ Joeys P.A.W. (Prosthetics and Wheels) joeyspaw.org/

■ Gunnar’s Wheels facebook.com/Gunnars-wheels

■ Hailey’s Wheels For Life haileyswheelsforlife.com/

■ Mango on a Mission mangosfreedomwheels.com/

■ High Rollers Club highrollersclubhrc.com/

Did You Know?

Some common issues that can cause pet immobility include:

■ Elbow or hip dysplasia

■ Intervertebral disk disease (IVDD)

■ Torn ligaments

■ Fractures or breaks

■ Luxating patella

■ Some neurological conditions, such as hydrocephalus or cerebellar hypoplasia

■ Arthritis

■ Surgery

Live help
Alicia Bailey
Alicia Bailey is a writer specializing in animal welfare topics and issues. Prior to writing full time she spent 13+ years working in rescue and animal sheltering, holding leadership roles in both. She has worked with numerous local and national non-profit organizations including Best Friends Animal Society, NKLA, The Palm Springs Animal Shelter, Coachella Valley Animal Campus, and many others. Alicia is mom to 3 uniquely abled dogs, including @LittleBoogieShoes & @Bust.A.Moves.

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