How to Build a Wheelchair for a Dog
Dogs can become handicapped for a variety of reasons; they may suffer an injury to their legs, hips or back, develop a tumor that presses against a nerve or contract an illness. In most cases, you can help Fido regain his mobility by building him a wheelchair. By creating a wheelchair with both front and rear wheels, the design will work for dogs with front or rear leg problems.
Measure the length of your dog. Have your dog stand while doing so if he can; if not, have a helper support him in a standing position. Measure the distance from his chest to the back of his rear legs and the distance from the ground to the underside of his belly. Additionally, measure the distance from your dog's left flank to his right flank. Write down all of these measurements.
Measure and mark four lengths of PVC that are equal to the length of your dog -- these will form the side supports. Measure and mark four lengths of PVC that are about 4 1/2 inches shorter than the distance from your dog's underbelly to the ground, which will allow enough clearance to include the wheels and couplers. These will form the vertical supports. Measure and mark two lengths of pipe that are equal to the distance from your dog's left flank to his right flank to serve as the front and back supports. Cut out all 10 lengths of pipe using the hacksaw. Using the tape measure, locate the middle of each of the four vertical supports. Cut each of these pipes in half using the hacksaw.
Use the tape measure to locate the middle of each of the four vertical supports. Cut each of these pipes in half using the hacksaw. Connect the two pieces back together, using a three-way coupler in the middle.
Place a 90-degree elbow coupler at the top of each vertical support. Connect the left front vertical support to the left rear vertical support by inserting two horizontal supports between them -- the top horizontal support should be inserted into each 90-degree elbow, while the bottom horizontal support should attach to the front and back three-way couplers. Repeat the process on the right side as well.
Place a three-way elbow coupler on the bottom of each vertical support. Insert a caster fitting in the bottom of each coupler, and rotate the coupler so that the open side points toward the inside of the wheelchair. Insert a caster in each of the four vertical legs. Attach the front and back supports to the legs by inserting each end in one of the open slots of the three-way couplers.
Measure and cut two pieces of nylon webbing -- each of which should be about 7 inches longer than the distance between the two side supports. Lay two pieces of webbing across the side supports. One piece should sit right behind your dog's front legs, while the other should sit right in front of your dog's rear legs. You may need to insert your dog into the structure to visualize the proper location of the straps. Wrap each end of the webbing all the way around the PVC pipe, and sew them into place, using the needle and thread. Because the webbing segments are longer than the distance between the pipes, they will sag slightly, providing more comfort for your dog.
Lift your dog gently and place him on the wheelchair. You may need to adjust the height of the legs or the distance between the support straps to ensure his comfort. His paws must be able to reach the ground, but he should be high enough that he must extend his legs to touch the ground.