Dog owners go to great lengths to ensure the happiness, health and comfort of their pets. When a dog is disabled it can make it difficult for a pet parent to care for their furry friend, but in this case it is even more crucial that the canine receive the best care possible. Now, one designer is making it easier than ever for parents of disabled dogs to get their companion a custom made canine wheelchair.
FiGo is one of the neatest wheelchairs for dogs, but it isn’t a retail product that you can find on store shelves or through online retailers. FiGo actually comes as a set of 3D printing building instructions that pet parents are now able to download and use free of charge.
A Canadian digital media artist by the name for Rickee conceived the design for the canine wheelchair. The first FiGo chair was constructed for a French bulldog named Anne Murray. You can see Anne in the picture at the top of this article. She is seven-years-old. Anne’s owner, Martha J, wanted her pooch to have a chair that reflected her unique personality, so she turned to Rickee for the design.
The artist used 3D printing and easy-to-find, traditional materials to fulfill the pet owners’ request. Rickee believed the best way to express the pup’s personality was with a chair that consisted of bright purple connectors and a frame made of acrylic tubes that are filled with glitter. It was important to the artist that the chair be made with materials that any dog owner would be able to purchase easily at their local hardware or sporting goods store.
The traditional materials also allow for the FiGo dog wheelchair to be an affordable option for dog owners on a budget. The customizable chair uses five pairs of 3D-printable pieces, a pair of skate bearings, a set of roller blade wheels, straps to hold the frame to the dog, acrylic tubes for the frame, and a few screws to attach the wheels.
Although the original design was for a small breed, Rickee provides pet parents with calculations to adapt the wheelchair to fit any dog. These calculations are available on a Google Docs spreadsheet. The FiGo chair has been so well received that Rickee is currently working on a second prototype of the device that features 3D-printed connectors that have a more geometric shape and are easier to print.
Dog wheelchairs make life much more enjoyable for pets that can’t walk, tire easily or have weak hind legs. These issues may be congenital, caused by an injury, or due to old age. Whatever the case may be, caring for a disabled dog can be a struggle, especially one that doesn’t have full use of his legs. Equipping him with a canine wheelchair will greatly improve his quality of life, and will make things much easier on the owner as well.
Sometimes dogs recovering from surgery could benefit from the help of a wheelchair, but pet parents cannot afford to purchase one just to be used during their pet’s short recovery phase. This option allows all pet parents the ability to create a canine wheelchair without breaking the bank.
And don’t think you can’t make a FiGo chair just because you don’t have a 3D printer. There are businesses that offer 3D printing for a small fee.
Between the price for the material and the fee to use a 3D printer, you’d still be saving money. A cheap dog wheelchair can run as much as $150-$200, but you’ll get what you pay for. For a durable, high-quality wheelchair for your dog you would spend upwards of $500! The FiGo chair offers a much more realistic option for the majority of pet owners.