As much as we love our pets, sometimes it turns out that they become disabled. For whatever reason, whether a degenerative genetic disease or a near-fatal accident, you may need to care for a dog with a disability. Whether you are aware of your dog's condition before taking her into your home, or if it is something that happens after, there are many things you can do to give them a normal and comfortable life.
Signs of Disablitiy
Remember that dogs can't tell us exactly what is wrong with them if they hurt. It is your responsibility as a dog owner to recognize the warning signs in case something does happen. If they are unable to stand, walk, go up or down stairs, or if they urinate uncontrollably, or are uncomfortable around slippery surfaces such as tile or wood, or if there are changes in their sleeping habits, diet, or anything else out of the ordinary, you should take them to the vet as soon as possible. If they've been in an accident, be careful about moving her, if at all, since spinal injury can be exacerbated by this movement. If possible, follow the directions of emergency personnel before doing anything. Also be aware that some accidents are not obvious, and if your dog slips or trips over something, gets a paw caught in a fence, or has suffered a snake or spider bite, these things might go unnoticed.
Important Considerations when Your Dog is Disabled
When you are aware that your dog is disabled, the first thing to consider is whether or not you have the financial means to care for a special needs pet. As the saying goes, "discretion is the better part of valor." This is just as relevant here as anything else. If you find yourself in the unfortunate position where you must decide between your family and your best friend, be sure you can your her a good home.
Assuming you are financially stable, keep in mind a few things about your dog that you might not have considered. For one thing, she probably does not see her disability like a human does. While humans tend to see anything abnormal as a fault, dogs will remain as happy and healthy as they ever could be. Their only concern might be their role in the pack. Since most dogs see themselves as the lower ranking "omegas" in your family, there might not be much of a change. Even so, be aware of signs of depression, such as not eating, excessive laziness, or a tail that does not wag.
Depending on the nature of the disability, regular visits to the vet may be necessary, so be sure to work that into your schedule. Make sure that you keep track of any special medicines or dietary needs your dog has. Also ensure proper grooming of any areas affected by disease, so that it does not spread to other parts of her body, other dogs, or you or your family. These habits will not only help ensure the health of your dog, but will also serve to bring you closer together as you spend more time with her.
Moving forward from Disability
In the case of disabled hind legs, you can actually find places that sell canine wheelchairs! These devices allow your dog to continue her playful runs around the yard, keeping her health and her spirits up. Exercise is, after all, very important for the immune system, which may even help fight against whatever ailment your dog has.
Don't treat your dog any differently than you would a perfectly healthy one. If you have other pets, they will notice the difference. In this case, your might take advantage of the situation and misbehave, or expect special treatment from other members of your family. You should make sure to continue to discipline your dog just as you would any other. Teach them to sit, shake, and other tricks. Take them for walks, if possible, and make sure she is housebroken.
Always remember that you are the ultimate provider for your dog. Sometimes bad things happen, and we must learn to cope with the consequences. The same is true for our beloved animal companions, but there are ways we can ensure that they live a happy and healthy life. Keep your own spirits up, and your dog will too!