A Normal Life for Dogs with Disabilities How You and Your Dog Can Move On with a Full Life

BY | August 01 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
A Normal Life for Dogs with Disabilities
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Dogs with disabilities can have a normal and healthy life with proper care. Find out what to consider, and what to expect.

As much as we love our pets, seeing dogs with disabilities can be difficult. Caring for them, of course, is a bigger challenge. But it can also provide the greatest rewards.

For whatever reason, whether a degenerative genetic disease or an injury from an accident, your dog may have a disability. Whether or not you were aware of your dog's condition before taking them into your home, there are many steps you can take to give them a normal and comfortable life.

Signs of Disability

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 your dog is unable to stand, walk, go up or down stairs, if they urinate uncontrollably, or are uncomfortable around slippery surfaces such as tile or wood, you should take your dog to the vet. In addition, changes in their sleeping habits, eating habits, or behavior can mean a trip to the vet is in order.

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 find your pet a good home.

Assuming you are financially able to give your dog specialized care, here a few things about your dog that you might not have considered. For one, they probably do not see their disability like a human might. While humans tend to see anything abnormal as a fault, dogs will remain as happy and continue to approach every day as before. 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 or excessive laziness.

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. 

Moving forward from Disability

In the case of disabled hind legs, you can find help for your dog in canine wheelchairs. These devices allow your dog to continue playful runs around the yard, keeping their health and spirits up. Exercise is, after all, very important for a well-adjusted dog.

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 dog 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 obey other commands.

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!

Turbo The Chihuahua Shows That Dog Disabilities Mean Nothing To Pets

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Turbo the Chihuahua has been the subject of many inspiring news stories these past few weeks. The Today Show reported the tiny canine was born with a genetic defect that left him unable to walk on his own. However, with the help of some ingenuity from an Indianapolis veterinarian, Turbo is back in action.Amy Birk, practice manager at The Downtown Veterinarian, was preparing to leave for the day when a towel-wrapped dog was brought into the facility by a couple. After being told by multiple clinics that nothing could be done for Turbo, they were at the end of their rope about what to do. Their own Chihuahua had given birth to a litter of puppies that included a runt born with front legs that were undeveloped.

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At 4 weeks old, Turbo only weighed 10 ounces. His siblings were keeping him from getting food, and his physical impairment wasn't doing him any favors. Refusing to give up on the pup, Birk agreed to give Turbo the help he needed. Upon further examination, the veterinarian determined that the Chihuahua was in excellent health despite his disability.Most physically disabled canines are placed in carts to become mobile, but they have to be at least 6 months old to fit. The clinic got creative with Turbo by building a makeshift cart out of a ferret harness, pipes from a faux welding kit and wheels from a toy helicopter. With his newfound mobility, Turbo is full of spunk and has even gained enough weight to be a healthy 1 pound.There will always be animals in need of adoption, but it's important that people understand disabled pets aren't much worse off than healthy ones. Each requires the same love and care to thrive in any environment, and the right household can really turn their lives around.

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Holding no prejudice

The Humane America Animal Foundation explained that disabled pets can be just as amazing as healthy ones, and accomplish feats like catching dog frisbees  in mid-air. These dogs and cats are able to live happy lives, as their disabilities do little to detract from the ability to love. Many can be born with complications or develop them early on, but over time they can easily adapt.Animals are just as resilient as humans when it comes to dealing with disabilities. As Turbo's triumphant story shows, you can never count them out of the running simply because they're different.According to the HAAF, some of the most common pet disabilities are blindness, deafness or loss of one limb. But their afflictions do little to dampen their spirits - sightless dogs will still rub their noses on owners as signs of affection and wag their tails with delight then they walk in the door.While most disabled pets don't require special accommodations, some cases might call for harnesses and wheelchairs to give them more mobility. However, missing a limb will cause pets to place more stress on their other leg joints, which might lead to some physical complications down the road like arthritis. Their nails should be kept trimmed to help with their footing on hard, smooth surfaces like wood floors and tiles.Every pet, disabled or not, deserves a good home and loving owners. With a PetPlus.com membership, pet parents have access to countless treatment options to ensure that their dogs are cared for and healthy. The affordable pricing and discounts on veterinarian appointments helps maintain your canine's well-being, leaving plenty of room for play time and long walks through the woods.

SourcesThe Today ShowThe Humane America Animal Foundation

More on Caring for Your Dog

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Benefits for Glucosamine for Dogs and Cats
Arthritis in Dogs and Cats

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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