As Lula aged, her hip dysplacia and ruptured ACLs became more of a problem for her and her ability to get around. Here are a few of the necessities I discovered:
- Baby crib mattress – Lula was huge and she was not only too big for regular dog beds, they were too soft and did not provide enough support for her hip issues. In addition it was difficult for her to get up from that low level. I was able to find a used crib mattress and Lula slept comfortably on that for years. It height and additional support allowed her to get up and down more easily.
Full body harness – I had used a harness on Marley as she aged but it was only a front harness. Lula did NOT like anyone to touch her hind legs or hips because of the pain she had so helping her up was a problem. Front harnesses did her no good. A fellow Chessie lover and Facebook friend works for Orvis and they had a full body harness from Help Em Up. Jamie sent us that harness in 2010 and Lula used it until the day she died. Anyone could grab Lula’s “butt handle” and assist her and she didn’t care. She loved her harness. For the last year of her life, she wore that harness 24 hours a day. That harness alone gave her many additional months of a quality of life she would not have had without it. The Help Em Up harness is a must for any dog with hind legs issues or just aging dogs. Visit their website at www.helpemup.com. Help’EmUp is a trademark of Blue Dog Designs. The Hip Lift design is patented.
Wheels – Lula’s hind leg muscles were never very defined or strong in her life with me. She could not go on long walks as she would tire and lie down where ever she wanted and rest. This was often in the middle of the street and she was too big and too ornery to move so I would wait. Lula LOVED to walk around the neighborhood and greet everyone but her condition limited that. The Chessie Rescue was at an expo in Milwaukee when we discovered Walkin Wheels. We ordered a wheelchair for Lula and she immediately was a new dog with a new lease on life. Her wheels and new found mobility did wonders for her spirit. On any given day if Lula was down, I would get her wheels out and take her for a walk and she would be smiling and animated again. They were her fountain of youth. Her wheels are Walkin Wheels available from www.handicappedpets.com. Walkin’ Wheels is a trademark of Handicapped Pets, Inc. All trademarks and patents are held by Handicapped Pets, Inc.
Video of Lula’s first days in her wheels.
Ramps – I have an SUV and there was no way I could lift Lula into my car due to her size and her attitude. She was actually too wide for one ramp so I used two side-by-side telescoping ramps to get her in and out of my truck. Even when Lula could no longer support her weight with her back legs, she was able to use the ramps with some assistance. I have two of the Top Paw™ Deluxe Telescoping Pet Ramp available from PetSmart.