How Long Does it Take for a Dog to Adapt to a Dog Wheelchair?

It can take anywhere from two minutes to two weeks for a dog to adapt to a dog wheelchair. We personally have found that older dogs take to a wheelchair a little quicker than a younger dog. Perhaps, their intelligence and instinct allows them to accept that this might be the only choice they have for mobility.

I like to give tips to owners to help their dog adapt to his or her dog wheelchair. Here are a few:

  • Treats help of course, but keep it to a minimum if it takes longer than a few days to get your dog moving. Little dogs like Dachshunds and Corgies can gain weight quickly, which can lead to more injury.
  • Take your dog to his or her favorite dog park or favorite play area. Other dogs and toys can be a great distraction from this weird object that is now part of their body!
  • Keep trying! One of our clients, although a young dog, took almost two months to adapt to his wheelchair. He is now happy and confident and uses his dog wheelchair on a daily basis. Read Bean’s story here.


In addition, if your dog has been inactive for a long period of time (longer than a couple of weeks) you will want to introduce a dog wheelchair to him or her slowly. An older dog aims to please, and can become overstrained easily. Start with ten minutes at a time, a few times a day, and work up from there.