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Feb 13

Walking Dogs With Mobility Scooters

I wrote this article for elderly dog owners who’d love to take their best friend for long walks but lack the strength to keep up with their lively pets.

Research shows that pet owners are healthier, have less stress and lower blood pressure in high stress situations. Pets (especially dogs) have been reported to give direct health benefits to seniors.

As a veterinarian and a dog owner I do know how much dogs love getting out of the house. I’m sure you love your dog as well and you want the best for your dog. So how do you give your dog the stroll that they deserve when you yourself can barely get up and walk?

You’ve certainly noticed that some seniors use power scooters as an aid to get out of the house and do some grocery shopping. The great thing about theseĀ scooters is just how much independence they provide. If walking is painful, with a mobility scooter (usually electric powered) you can get out and explore again in comfort.

But did you know that you can use that same scooter to walk your dog?

Most dogs usually adapt quickly to going on walks with a mobility scooter. There are a few things to consider though, before taking your dogs out for a walk.

You may want to check out the route yourself before going out with your dog

Make sure the sidewalks are wide enough to comfortably fit both you and your dog. In a mobility scooter your dog will likely need to walk next to you, rather than before or behind you. Most mobility scooters are not great at going over grass so make sure you know the capabilities of your scooter. If you’re looking to buy a mobility scooter then you might want to check this article that compares and reviews different models. To be on the safe side pick routes where you can keep your scooter on solid ground and let your pooch walk off into the grass. A retractable leash may be a good idea. You can keep the leash short when walking but lengthen it when you park and let your dog go off a ways into the grass.

Some dogs get a little nervous around scooters or don’t pay attention to the wheels

If you mobility scooter is new take some time to introduce your dog to it before going on a walk. Let your dog come and sniff the scooter while it is parked. Dogs that are scared can be encouraged with small treats. You should also make certain you are comfortable steering the scooter before going on a walk with your dog. Not only will you have a dog to manage but also the steering of the scooter! You don’t want to risk the safety of you or your dog.

If you have a small dog, be cautious about placing them in the basket of your scooter

Even the calmest of dogs can be distracted by a squirrel and take a flying leap out of the basket. For a small dog a fall from that height can break bones. Some people may use a short leash to clip dogs onto the wire of the basket but this can damage the basket and pose a serious risk to your dog if you were to get into an accident. The safest place for your dog is walking along side your scooter. Remember, depending on the mobility scooter you may end up going too fast for your dog. Always keep an eye on them and make sure they aren’t struggling to keep up, especially on hot days.

A folding cane can be a good accessory to take with you when walking your dog with a mobility scooter

If you want to get out of your scooter to take your dog off the path or need to clean up after them it is always good to have that extra stability.

Hope this little write-up gave you some ideas and courage to get back out there and also give your dog a little more freedom.