Caring for a disabled dog is a huge responsibility and requires commitment and compassion. From practicing patience to investing in practical tools that mitigate your dog’s pain and facilitate easy movement, there are numerous ways to prepare yourself to look after a disabled dog. Keep reading to learn more about caring for a disabled dog.
There are numerous reasons that may cause health issues and disabilities in your dog. It could be an accident, a genetic disability, age-related health concerns, or developing spinal cord issues like degenerative myelopathy that can compromise your dog’s mobility.
As a pet parent to a disabled dog, it is inevitable to think about how can I help my disabled dog and provide them with the most appropriate care.
This comprehensive guide offers some of the best tips on how you can help your dog live a good quality of life as happily and comfortably as any other able-bodied pet.
Whether you have an aging dog who is facing mobility issues or an injured pet who needs looking after, as a responsible parent, there is one question on your mind — How can I help my disabled dog?
Based on the cause and severity of the disability, every dog will require a different level of care.
However, there are a few tips that can be universally applied to every handicapped dog or disabled pet and make your caregiving journey easy, too.
Establish a Routine
Prepare a timetable and stick to it; it will help make taking care of your dog and yourself more manageable. For example, get up at a scheduled time to check on your pet and to see if they require any assistance, have an established time for meals, be regular with the necessary medications and exercises, etc. Be consistent with the routine so that your pet gets used to it. An established routine will also relieve some stress that comes with aiding your dog to express themselves after every few hours.
Join a Support Group or a Discussion Forum
While taking care of your dog, don’t ignore your own health. Providing long-term support and assistance to your dog can take quite a toll on your physical and mental wellbeing. You may also have to compromise on your social life. So, joining support groups and discussing problems with fellow pet parents can give you some much-needed recourse. Other members can also give you tips on taking care of your pet and lend an ear whenever you need a pick-me-up.
Invest In Good Mobility Tools
Dog harnesses and wheelchairs are imperative purchases to help your dog get back on his feet and resume mobility. An inactive dog can develop various other issues related to the digestive system, nervous system, and cardiovascular system, too. Mobility tools will help them get the required amount of physical movement on a daily basis.
Hygiene and Nutrition
Hygiene and a good diet are important when you have a dog, and they become all the more crucial with a disabled dog. Make sure to remain up to date on your dog’s vaccinations, regular grooming, brushing teeth, clipping nails, etc. Your dog’s nutritional and diet requirements may also change because of the illnesses, so make sure you keep an eye on any new food sensitivities.
You should also be more careful about what your dog consumes, such as keeping him away from toxic substances like grapes and chocolate. Make sure to prepare yourself beforehand on how to induce vomiting in a dog.
Motivate your Dog to Exercise
With most disabled dogs, resorting to indoor exercises to remain healthy and active becomes inevitable so that their incapacity does not affect their quality of life. Different exercises that you can practice with your dog include indoor ball games, massaging their core muscles, a casual game of hide and seek or fetch, or taking them for a session of hydrotherapy.
However, while regular exercising is necessary, make sure you don’t overexert your dog as that can be detrimental to his progress. Make sure to also schedule regular appointments with the vet in order to consult and keep track of your dog’s overall health and progress.
Living With a Handicapped Dog: What You Should Know
Disabled and handicapped dogs are rarely adopted as pets because bringing them up requires a higher level of commitment, energy, money, and patience.
So, if you are thinking of adopting a disabled pet, make sure you have the right tools and resources and are willing to provide quality care to your dog. You need to have the will to bring him up in a warm, affectionate environment where your dog will be looked after with respect and love.
Looking after a disabled dog creates a strong bond between you and the dog. Your dog will be reliant on you for the simplest of things, be it feeding, helping him urinate, or motivating him to exercise.
But, you must also be prepared to meet the ever-changing requirements of your dogs. From making your house more dog-friendly to being prepared for heavy medical bills, living with a handicapped dog has its fair share of ups and downs.
How Long Do Handicapped Dogs Live?
Dogs that are handicapped as a result of degenerative myelopathy can live anywhere from six months to three years. This depends entirely on your dog’s lifestyle. If your dog lives a healthy and active lifestyle, engaging in plenty of exercises, and having all his needs met, it can add years to your dog’s lifespan.
On the other hand, an old dog with an inactive lifestyle, an irregular routine, and exacerbated health complications may have a shorter lifespan.
Degenerative myelopathy results from a gene mutation that causes dogs to lose their ability to move or have control and coordination over their limbs. Because there are no cures available for this illness yet, it can severely hamper a handicapped dog’s lifespan.
Dogs that are paralyzed or handicapped due to a traumatic accident, old age, or because of any hereditary conditions do not have their lifespan affected by their inability to move. They can live long, happy years with consistent treatments, care, and support.
ALSO READ: 9 Tips for Choosing a Trustworthy Vet
How To Help a Paralyzed Dog Pee?
One of the most common difficulties that come with caring for a paralyzed dog is his inability to urinate independently.
If your dog has undergone a spinal injury or trauma, chances are his urinary bladder will have trouble expressing or emptying itself. Your dog would thus require manual assistance in peeing.
Helping your dog pee requires serious commitment from your end, as any shortcomings in doing so may lead to severe consequences. Although it may look like a daunting task, aiding your dog to pee involves just a few simple steps that can help you take care of your pet with ease.
Here is how you can help a paralyzed dog pee easily:
- Consult a vet before you attempt this yourself as you will need to learn the ideal amount of pressure that you should apply to your dog’s bladder to help him relieve himself.
- Make sure to express your dog at least after every 5-6 hours throughout the day.
- Find a position that is comfortable for both you and the pet when you are expressing them. Your fingers should be able to employ the required strength without causing too much discomfort to your dog.
- Your dog should be placed in a position where his spine is horizontally aligned.
- You can help your dog lie down on the toilet seat and allow him to slightly lean on your thigh to attain a desirable position.
- To identify the dog’s bladder, make sure their tummy region is completely relaxed. The dog’s bladder is present behind the rib cage and in front of the hind legs.
- When you find the bladder, apply an adequate amount of pressure to help your dog express himself.
- If your dog is not able to pee, apply pressure on his bladder. But, make sure to give a 15 seconds interval between each pressure application.
- Once the bladder is completely empty, you will feel it flat while applying any more pressure.
- If your dog whines or shows signs of discomfort, stop the process and seek medical help immediately.
You should also consider getting a wheelchair or an express station as these tools can help make the process much easier on both you and your dog.
However challenging it may be to care for a disabled dog, the outcome is worth every effort. Some disabled dogs require more attention and love compared to others, so you need to take into consideration your dog’s specific needs and requirements before drawing up a care plan.
Make sure to schedule frequent trips to your dog’s vet to determine the best care that you can extend to your dog. Follow the recommended course of action and you will be able to look after your disabled dog efficiently and with love and care.