Friday, April 23, 2010

Walkin' Wheels™ vs. Eddie's Wheels™ Dog Wheelchair Comparison and Review

Comparing Eddie’s Wheels Custom Mobility Cart to Walkin’ Wheels™

 This comparison is being made by Ed Grinnell, founder of Eddie’s Wheels™, and is based on his lifetime of experience in mechanical engineering.  Eddie’s Wheels carts have earned the praise of mechanical engineers and the respect of physical therapists and vets who understand the bio-mechanics of canine anatomy. 

Ed Grinnell built his first dog wheelchair for his own dog, Buddha, in 1989.  He spent the next 10 years developing his dogcart design, in collaboration with his veterinarian, with the aim of addressing the most common problems associated with dog wheelchairs – how to support a paralyzed dog in a cart without causing wounds and decubital ulcers in a cart that was strong and stable enough to allow a dog to walk in the woods, wade in a stream and run after a ball. Since it's inception in 1999, Eddie's Wheels has a set a new standard for mobility aids for animals, high quality engineering, durability and a lifetime of your animal warranty. Ed Grinnell and his wife live with four disabled dogs, two in rear wheel carts and two in front wheel carts. All Eddie's Wheels carts are built from scratch in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts by hand.  We employ 16 Americans and actually export our American made products all over the world.


This is a response to the wheelchair reviews made by Mark Robinson, founder of HandicappedPets.com and owner of Walkin’ Wheels™.  Mr. Robinson purports to have solved all the problems associated with canine wheelchairs, when in fact, the only problems solved are the ones he encountered in marketing custombuilt carts.  No need to measure or worry about fit - the cart is kit and the customer gets to build it.  All this for the convenience of shipping it out in the same box it came in - from China!



Support system:

WALKIN’ WHEELS™: Consists of strapping covered in closed cell foam that slips and sags under your dog’s weight.  It is joined in the middle by a neoprene and Velcro band.  In female dogs, the neoprene can trap urine and cause urine scald.  The soft 2-loop design, joined in the middle, supports by pulling up on the groin on either side of the pelvic floor and can cause the legs to chafe from the friction of the legs against the foam. The dog is suspended instead of being supported on a consistent surface.  The heavier the dog, the more likely that chafing and decubital ulcers will occur.  This is similar to walking in a climbing harness - how far would you walk with two straps tight against your thighs?

 
EDDIE’S WHEELS™:   The welded, padded saddle built to your dog’s dimensions is ergonomically shaped to support the dog  under its pelvic floor, on the still point between the legs, and allows full range of motion;  it feels like a bicycle seat and will not cause chafing or decubital ulcers because the saddle does not move with the dog’s movements.  Once the dog’s legs are placed in the saddle, the cart is holding the dog up in a standing position.  The actual contact point, in the center of the saddle, has a removable, washable denim cover.

Front of cart:

WALKIN’ WHEELS™:   The front harness, in combination with the dog’s body, attaches to the sides of the Walkin’ Wheel™ with sheet metal clips.  These can bend and break, causing the cart to collapse under the dog. The red strap is tight in the armpit and could easily cause chafing there. In the event of a tip-over or entrapment, the dog cannot free itself from the cart without breaking the clips that hold the cart to the dog.
EDDIE’S WHEELS™:    The opening yoke, secured with 2 pull pins, adds structural stability to the front of the cart, keeps the side rails parallel, and is part of the unique balancing system offered only by Eddie’s Wheels.  A simple chest strap keeps the dog from walking out of the cart.
In the event of a tip-over or entrapment, the dog can wiggle itself out of this cart easily.

Wheel Alignment:

WALKIN’ WHEELS™:   Wheels are mounted on a galvanized bolt, which runs through holes in hollow tubing, with a nut to tighten. Because of this questionable practice, you are required to over tighten the axle bolt to minimize wheel wobble.  This causes side-loading of the bearings and with minimal use, the hollow tube will start to collapse, loosening the wheel, causing you to over tighten the bolt again.  That’s why you can buy new struts!  The 7 ¾” gray centered wheels used on lighter dogs has a 7 mm hole with a  ¼” galvanized bolt for an axle, giving an immediate .020 inches of play and misalignment before there is any wear.  The poly-centered wheel will very quickly wear against the galvanized bolt causing excessive play and requiring replacement. 
·    Eddie's Wheels carts use the same gray-centered wheels but only on dogs under 30 lbs., and even then we re-machine the wheel, and press in permanently lubricated bushings to prevent such wear problems. Eddie's Wheels guarantees the wheels for the life of the dog.
·    Walkin’ Wheels™ sells spare parts and wheels. 

The lack of 3 point stability, due to the absence of axles and a rear crossbar, and the excessive play between the inner and outer sleeves of the struts causes considerable misalignment of the wheels no matter what position the struts are mounted.



EDDIE’S WHEELS™:   All wheels have bushings or bearings that prevent wheel wobble and unnecessary wear.  Our wheels run on stainless steel axles threaded into machined axle blocks and are locked in place with padded set screws. This minimizes side-loading and excessive wear on the wheel bearings.  This keeps our wheels perfectly aligned, preventing skipping, wobbling, and uneven wear on the bearings and tires.  This combined with the 3 point stability design of the frame (yoke, welded saddle, rear crossbar) make the cart an extremely stable structure. 
 
House friendliness:

WALKIN’ WHEELS™:   The width of the cart at the wheel base is approximately 20% wider than any Eddie’s Wheels, of comparable size, due to the extreme angle of the struts. A 9” wide cart, 13 inches from pelvic floor is 28” wide at the wheelbase.   The nuts on the end of the axle bolt on all carts with 12” or larger wheels have been found to cause damage.


EDDIE’S WHEELS™:   All our carts, no matter how large the dog, will fit through standard 28 ½” doorways.  The width of the cart is a function of the width of the dog.  For instance, the wheelbase on a cart 9” wide and 13” from pelvic floor to ground is 20”. 
We also trim the heads of the axles so that they do not stick out far enough to damage your walls, doorways and furniture.

Adjustability:

WALKIN’ WHEELS™:   Minimum width is 8” wide and the frame is always rectangular, as wide at the rear as the widest dimension of your dog.  (Most dogs taper to the rear, and most Eddie’s Wheels™ carts taper accordingly)  Adjustment for height and width are set in one inch increments at pre-set holes.  Fine tuning for height would presumably be done at the saddle, however, the saddle webbing slips through the buckles under the dog’s weight and movement, making adjustments a constant practice.


EDDIE’S WHEELS™:   Width and saddle dimensions are not adjustable and are based on your dog’s measurements.  However, a perfectly fitted cart does allow for some weight gain or loss, as dogs always tend to center themselves in this solid frame structure.  Since the frame is custom built, the shape of the frame will mirror the shape of your dog for a perfect fit, e.g. tapering to the rear for a bulldog, or wider at the rear for a greyhound.
The height and length are adjustable approximately 30% higher or longer.  For instance, if you measured your dog’s floor to groin measurement at 14” and it actually is 16 ½”, you can raise the cart whatever increment necessary to put your dog in a healthy normal weight bearing stance.  The position of the yoke is adjustable by several inches as well, by simply loosening set screws and sliding the frame through the blocks to the perfect position.
Multiple dogs?  Frame extensions are available.


Weight of cart:

WALKIN’ WHEELS™:   Top heavy frame always pitches forward and back on top of the dog. Actual weight of equivalent cart for 40 lb. pit bull – 13.6 lbs.

EDDIE’S WHEELS™:   We always build the lightest cart we can without compromising strength and durability.  The weight of the cart is determined by the dog’s size and weight.  The weight can range from 1 ½” lbs to around 18 lbs for an extra large heavy duty cart.
The distribution of the cart’s weight is evenly balanced between the top and the axles, so that it actually feels lighter to the dog.  Sample:  cart for 40 pit bull weighs 11 lbs.


Measurements needed to order:

WALKIN’ WHEELS™:   One measurement, the most difficult to accurately measure – the height to the pelvic floor.

EDDIE’S WHEELS™:   8 standard, straight line measurements. Width and size of leg hole are not adjustable.  After 10 years and literally thousands of carts, we will help you take measurements that reflect the standard proportions for most dogs.  Our customer service team is always available by phone 8-5PM daily.


Measurements needed to put your dog in the cart the first time:

WALKIN’ WHEELS™:   You build the cart on your dog once the kit arrives, at which point you measure your dog’s height and length and adjust the harness to fit your dog.  It takes at least an hour to assemble, adjust and fit the dog in the cart the first time

EDDIE’S WHEELS™:   None – cart arrives fully assembled.  Once the wheels are bolted on, all you need to do is put your dog in the cart in cart.  If fine-tuning adjustments need to be made, instructions and tools come with the cart. 
.

Time to receive cart:

WALKIN’ WHEELS™:    Ships next day after order.   Pre-fabricated, "off the shelf" item. 

EDDIE’S WHEELS™:   2 weeks to custom build, 3-5 days for shipping depending on distance.  We have used carts in stock and if we have one to fit your dog, we will be happy to sell you a used cart at a reduced price with faster delivery. 


Stirrups:

WALKIN’ WHEELS™:   A bungee cord with closed cell foam with a tie down for dogs who resist having their feet taken off the ground.  This can cause a callus or abrasion.  The position of the stirrups – 5 inches from the back of leg loops, holds the legs in a hyper-extension.



EDDIE’S WHEELS™:   Optional – consist of mounting hardware, straps and cloth covered pads for larger dogs.  For smaller dogs, rolling stirrups provide a gliding surface for short legged breeds that still have movement and reflex but no proprioception (awareness of the position of one’s body).  Position of the stirrup allows for a relaxed normal stance, slightly bent at the hock, to prevent feet from dragging.



Upgrades and Custom-balancing:

WALKIN’ WHEELS™:   Changing the wheel position on this cart never removes weight on the forelimbs.  The rear position puts more weight on the front legs, and the neutral (straight up and down) position accentuates wheel wobble and misalignment.  There is no provision for upgrades to 4 wheel cart.  There are no carts for dogs with front leg disabilities.

An Eddie's Wheels counterbalanced cart with detachable training wheels.


EDDIE’S WHEELS™:  We will balance the cart, based on your dog’s abilities and disabilities, to add or remove weight carried on the forelimbs.  A standard cart adds 3%-5% to the load on the forelimbs (desirable for young, active dogs for whom cart stability is of highest priority), neutral balance, and counterbalance  for pets with weak forelimbs. (A counterbalanced cart can remove up to 40% of the dogs own body weight from the front legs.) All Eddie’s Wheels™ standard carts can be counterbalanced to match degenerative conditions, such advanced DM.  Detachable front wheels can be added to all carts.  Full quad carts, with tow handles and headrests, for quadriplegic dogs.  We also have the only fully engineered two–wheel cart for front leg disabilities that allows dogs to sniff, sit and run.  Because our carts are custom-built, we are able to design carts to accommodate scoliosis, fatty lumps, tumors and other abnormalities. 


Refunds:

WALKIN’ WHEELS™:   At best, 80% refund within 14 days of delivery, excluding the value of the harnesses – which comes out, by our calculation to be around 64%

EDDIE’S WHEELS™:   No refunds as all carts are custom.  If order is canceled before cart is shipped, only a 30% deposit is charged. However, we will work with you to make the cart work for you and your dog.  We have an unparalleled acceptance rate by animals because we are committed to building the cart that matches your pet’s abilities and disabilities. If your dog absolutely refuses to use the cart and we cannot get it to work, we will list and aid your in re-selling your cart.  Our carts hold their value and some have in use by multiple dogs for many years. 


Customer Service: 

WALKIN’ WHEELS™:   Phone operators, emails, and the Handicapped Pets forum answer your questions. 

The Eddie's Wheels cart showroom


EDDIE’S WHEELS™:   Our phones are answered 8-5 Monday through Friday and Saturday mornings 9-12. Your questions will be answered by knowledgeable people, including an animal massage therapist, who have hands-on experience in caring for dogs in wheelchairs, since Eddie’s Wheels has 4 resident disabled dogs – Sweet Pea, Daisy, Willa and Webster – who come to work every day in the office, and are cared for by the service team.  The customer service team personally meets, measures and fits dozens of dogs in person every month.  We also offer a completely free measuring, evaluation and fitting service at our location.
Email, accompanied by photos and/or video allow us to diagnose problems and provide solutions.

Warranty:

WALKIN’ WHEELS™: It is our intention that every Walkin’ Wheels user be happy with their wheelchair. If you experience problems, please call us. Often we can help with a simple adjustment. If you feel the cart is not for you, please see your reseller.
Note that once used the rear harness cannot be returned for reasons or hygiene. This rear harness is useful without the cart, as a lifting harness to help your dog walk. Our optional handles are useful for this.

EDDIE’S WHEELS™: We warranty our carts against any manufacturing defects and breakage that could not occur due to normal wear and tear by the pet, for the life of the pet. We do not warranty damage due to disregard of manufacturer's instructions, damage due to salt water, and exposure to the elements when the pet is not using the cart. 




7 comments:

  1. Frankie (the Walk 'N Roll Dog) has had her Eddie's Wheels cart for almost 4-years now. It is so well built and I believe because of how it is built (as a rehab cart) it has kept her muscle tone strong. She is now able to spinal walk often without her cart. I also like how the cart correctly supports Frankie spine keeping it aligned and healthy thus less risk of re-injury.
    Frankie's belly or butt has never had any chafing from the cart and it has really held up nice over the 4-years. Eddie's wheels is my first suggestion to anyone who contacts me.
    I admire all your company stands for and all the animals you have helped.
    Thank you for all you do!

    Barbara Techel
    Author of Frankie, the Walk ‘N Roll Dog Book Series
    A collection of true, inspirational stories dedicated to bringing positive awareness to disabilities, facing our challenges with dignity and grace, and giving back in our own, unique way
    Frankie on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/walknrolldog
    Joyful Paws on Twitter: http://www.joyfulpaws.com/joyfulpaws

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi, I have a small French Poodle who´s having serious trouble walking. The problem seems to be only in the back legs. I live in Costa Rica Central America. What will I need to tell you to get a male Eddie´s chair for my "Bono". My e-mail :lcoreamuno@yahoo.com
    Thank you, I need one....

    ReplyDelete
  3. Vist our website, www.eddieswheels.com to order a cart - we ship our products all over the world.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Eddie's Wheels carts are the only carts that I recommend for my patients, the only one that I recommends to vets / surgeons and the only ones that I use with my own dogs. I have been an avid supporter for over 5 years. Prior to my first experience with Eddie's Wheels carts, I had the opportunity to work with other brand name carts as well as some homemade carts. In the last year, I've also had the opportunity to work with 2 brand name adjustable axis carts and was not satisfied with either. By far, there is no comparison between other carts and Eddie's Wheels in terms of quality, durability, and proper support of the dog. Specifically, no other cart provides the spinal positioning and support that I look for with dogs with disk disease and other neurological conditions affecting the spine.

    To date, I've used Eddie's Wheels hind end carts, neutral balanced carts, counterbalanced carts, ones with training wheels, quad carts and front end carts. I've had patients that have refused to walk in other brand carts or that weren't getting the right support with other carts switch over to an Eddie's Wheels cart with immediate positive results.

    I am completely satisfied with the entire process with Eddie's Wheels carts from measuring a dog to the final fitting. Any questions or concerns with a particular dog are immediately answered by the Eddie's Wheels staff.

    Patti Triola, PT, CCRT
    Dogs In Motion, In Home Canine Rehabilitation
    www.dogsinmotion.net

    ReplyDelete
  5. It was a awe-inspiring post and it has a significant meaning and thanks for sharing the

    information.Would love to read your next post too......
    Thanks
    Regards
    wheelchairs

    ReplyDelete
  6. We've been getting calls from WalkinWheels owners wondering if we can provide them with counterbalance upgrades and front training wheels for their dogs with advanced degenerative myelopathy. Of course, we cannot - as our fixtures only work on our custom carts. This is a serious failing of a ready-made WalkinWheels - it's only going to work on a dog with a strong front end.

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  7. how does your QUAD CARTS compare to RUFF ROLLIN' version? I need a QUAD CART for my miniature Poodle.
    How much would a Quad CART cost for a 20 pound mini-Poodle who stands 16.5" at shoulders and hip?

    ReplyDelete