Things You'll Need
PVC or steel pipe
90-degree angle fittings and T's
Welder (if using steel pipe)
Harness rings (if using steel pipe)
Bicycle or baby carriage wheels
Dowels or bolts
When their best furry friends can no longer walk because of an accident or old age, dog owners can suffer as much as their canine companions. Purchasing a wheelchair for your dog can cost $300 to $1,000. Fortunately, you can make one that's both easy on his body and your wallet.
Prepare to Build
Measure the length of your dog's back, the height from the ground to the top of his shoulder, his chest girth, the distance from his chest to the floor and the distance from his groin to the floor, according to the article "Measuring Tips, Tricks, and Info," on the K-9 Cart Company website.
Cut six pieces of pipe according to your dog's measurements: two side rails, two shorter pieces that will attach to the back of the side rails vertically and two rails that will connect the side pieces in the back. Use 1/2" PVC pipe for small dogs, according to the "New Cart" video on the Home Healthcare: How to Make a Dog Wheelchair website. Use 5/8" steel pipe for large dogs, as shown in the article entitled, "Kid John's Large Dog Cart" on the Handicapped Pets website.
Get two appropriate-sized wheels for your dog's chair, one for each side. (Wheels range from 8 to 24 inches.) Add a third wheel between the two rear wheels for additional support.
Use a small canvas strap for a front harness and another around the girth for your small dog, as shown on the Home Healthcare video, or purchase a harness from a pet shop. Use multiple harnesses to give enough support to a large dog.
Build the Wheelchair
Connect the side rails to the back vertical pieces using the 90-degree angles. Attach the back horizontal rails to the vertical rails using the T's, as shown on the Home Healthcare video. Drill a hole the bottom corners of the frame and attach one wheel on each side using 3/8" dowels, or larger bolts for a big-dog chair. Glue it together once you're sure your dog is comfortable. Add additional frames for dogs that require extra support.
Wrap the back rails in water pipe insulation, and cover them with a cloth bandage for comfort.
Wrap the harness over the PVC and attach with adhesive, snaps or safety pins, for small dogs. Weld metal harness rings to the bottom of the side railings and wrap the harness straps around them, for large dogs. Put your dog in the wheelchair and watch him go!
Overlap two different sizes of pipe so that the smaller pipe slides back and forth inside the larger pipe for easy adjusting.
Experiment with wheel placement relative to the dog's hind legs for the best support possible.
Never try to support a dog's weight on a single chest harness.
dog image by Michal Tudek from Fotolia.com
Donna Ferrier has been a writer and editor since 1990. She has written articles for "Training and Development Journal," "Officer Review" magazine and "Signature Service and Business Printing Technologies Report." Ferrier has written website copy, press releases, resumes, flyers and fund-raising letters. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Longwood College in Farmville, Virginia.