Your disabled dog is no less the pet you had before the disability, and a disabled dog from the start is just as capable of loyalty and affection as a healthy dog. The difference is in the attitude of the owner. It is important for the owner to accept that dogs do not react to disability the same way as humans. In most cases, pity is wasted on them, and just makes it harder for the human owner to adjust to the situation. If you want to keep your disabled dog healthy and mobile, you need to accept the following facts:
- Dogs do not indulge in self-pity – humans do, they don’t
- Disabled is not something they can smell or see – dogs have no concept of disability. They accept the fact that they can’t move so well and work around it
- Humans can make it harder for disabled dogs – Dogs can sense human emotions, and respond encouragingly. If you have a negative attitude towards the dog’s disability, they will likely pick up on it and react accordingly
- Pride is not a factor – Disabled humans usually eschew the help of others because of pride. Dogs are not handicapped in that way. Don’t assume that they are
- Dogs are resilient – It takes a lot to break a dog’s spirit. Given a little practical help and a lot of love, they can bounce back from the most horrific injuries with little emotional or psychological damage
You still need to provide quite a bit of care for your dog, and it will not be easy. However, if you have the right attitude and a bit of help, you should be able to provide your dog with a home that caters to its special needs. Here are a few tips to get you going.
Have a regular routine
Routines are soothing to pets as well as children. It makes them feel secure and confident. Your disabled dog will benefit from a predictable schedule that takes into account any special needs that need addressing, such as medication, cleaning, feeding, and putting on the harness or wheelchair. If you have healthy dogs in the house, it would help to get them out of the way so you can focus on getting your disabled dog ready for the day.
Have the supplies you need on hand
Many disabled dogs have a hard time doing their business, so you have to take measures to ensure that keeping them clean is as hassle-free as possible. You should have:
· baby wipes
· bandages or pads to prevent bed sores
· dry shampoo for spot cleaning fur
· an orthopedic bed you can machine wash
· mild shampoo
· underpads for sleeping
· vet-recommended moisturizing rinse for dry skin
Have the skills to prevent and identify bladder infection
Bladder infections are a common problem with disabled dogs, especially those with spinal problems. The bladder has to be voided completely or it can lead to a potentially life-threatening infection. If you think that your dog has a bladder infection because of the smell or appearance of the pee, then you should bring your dog immediately to the vet. In most cases, an antibiotic is all that is needed.
To prevent it from happening, you may need to give your dog some assistance. The bladder can be expressed by squeezing the right area. Ask your vet to teach you how. Regularly checking the urine can also stave off an incipient infection.
Have the correct mobility aids
Dogs with certain conditions can retain near-total mobility with the right wheelchair. You just have to take the trouble to make sure that the product you get is adjustable so that you achieve the right height and support for your dog. Ask your vet to teach you what to look for. An incorrectly adjusted wheelchair can make your dog’s condition worse, and you dog may even refuse to use it.
A harness is another must-have, especially if you have large dogs. It makes it easier for your to assist your dog to get up and to move from one place to another. Just make sure you place and use it properly to avoid injury to your dog and yourself.
Dogs do get depressed if they do not achieve some type of mobility, so it is important that you provide them with the proper mobility gear once the vet considers them well enough to use them.